My Next Adventure:
The Die is Cast

It is a strange and exciting phenomenon which occurs about six months before I go overseas again. For months prior, I will talk the talk, but around a half year before the next trip, things change, radically. Several weeks ago, I wrote an essay about feeling like Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon. He uttered, “Alea iacta est.” The die is cast for me. Gone are the days of talking the talk. Now, it is time to walk the walk. That is precisely how I feel.

It is both exhilarating but also a bit overwhelming. In less than four and a half months, I have a ton of work staring me in my face. All of those items need to be addressed before I take my next adventure overseas. I’m still teaching online classes. My grades for my summer classes are due tomorrow. Then I have to set up my fall semester classes and post all the work on my college’s online shell.

I not only need to get ready for teaching next semester, but I have to organize my writing so that I will have essays ready to be posted while I am traveling. By the time that I leave the States, I’ll need all the essays and videos in the hands of Sandy, my web administrator.

I have to get a visa for Pakistan and also Myanmar. I’ll spend some time with Sandy’s family in Lahore and her brother will take me to Khewra Salt Mine. Then on to Yangon, Myanmar. I want to spend some time talking with Tin Tin, the owner of SunBird Tours. Then I want to visit Than Tun Oo, a former tour guide who is a great artist. Then I will be off to Taunggyi to see my family.

My fall classes will begin in several weeks. However, when I post my grades to the registrar on December 10, I will go to O’Hare and fly to Pakistan via Doha, Qatar. Essentially, the time from now until December 10 is packed with a long list of things that I must do.

One critically important detail is to get several shots and medicine. I have an interesting ability to get food poisoning when I am having dinner with friends while traveling. I’m the only one that orders food containing bacteria like Listeria. I spent a month in Indochina and visited three hospitals due to food poisoning. However, I have spent two months in Myanmar without any problem with food poisoning. My track record is excellent in Myanmar but that is why I need the medicine, just in case.

Nonetheless, it will be worth all the pressure here in the States to get organized and get ready to embark on another great adventure. However, the crunch time isn’t just here in Crown Point. Moh Moh wrote a week ago about taking me to Loikaw. On my first trip to Myanmar, she was my guide, and, on my second trip, Ko Ko, her husband, was my guide. They are both great guides. They observe what interests people and modify their itinerary to fit precisely what people enjoy the most.

On my first trip, Moh Moh watched me taking photos of young children. Additionally, she knows that I am also fascinated by places like Loikaw. When she suggested Loikaw as one of our destinations, I jumped at visiting this pagoda in Loikaw. Moh Moh sent several photos of Loikaw.

Taung Kwe Pagoda

When I first looked at the pagoda, it was like a cross between the Golden Rock and Mt. Popa, but Taung Kwe Pagoda is on steroids.

Myanmar is not high on the radar for many American tourists. However, it possesses natural beauty along with interesting places to visit, like Loikaw, Mt. Popa, and Golden Rock. In addition, the people are outgoing and welcome visitors. Of all the places that I have visited in my lifetime, Myanmar captured my interest the most. This will be my third trip to Myanmar in the past six years. I also discovered my family there, which is the greatest benefit of all.

P.S. When Moh Moh isn’t working as a tour guide, she is teaching English as a second language (ESL). I called Moraine Valley Community College where I have taught for fifteen years and talked with Meg Dawczak, who is the manager of ESL department. The next day, I drove to Moraine and picked up all this material that Moraine is donating to Moh Moh’s effort to teach English to high school and college students.

The airlines have a weight limit of 50 pounds on suitcases that are checked in. When I start to pack my suitcase for my next adventure, nearly 25% of the baggage limit will be the ESL material. Since I am traveling to Myanmar during winter break, I’ll ask Meg to come along with me. In that way, I could divide the books and materials between the two of us.

Also, Ginger speaks perfect English. She looked over the gift from Moraine and offered to return with me to help Moh Moh teaching ESL.