Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And we're off!

Surprisingly, I am all set and have about an hour and a half before I have to head to the church to meet all the kids and young adults.

I had a leisurely morning thus far of last minute packing (toiletries), Monkey Bread, and hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law.

The bin is al set with final information to pass out - rosaries, bookmarks for trading, and our pilgrim books. We will then check luggage weight. I make sure everyone has their passport and it is not packed in their luggage. We also check for a few other crucial items like the sleeping bags for the vigil, any prescription medications (packed in carry-on, not checked luggage), etc.

Then we sort into carpools so we have as few vehicles as possible heading to the airport.

We're all set! Europe, here we come!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Less than 48 hours

Periodically I get odd looks from my brother. Even more than usual. It is probably due to the strange little "I-can't-believe-we-leave-in-less-than-48-hours" dance I do. If Jello-O could carry electrical current, that's what the dance looks like. Not attractive.

Basically my excitement has hit full force. I pulled out the suitcase (my dog is suitably depressed now). I'm sorting what goes into my suitcase and what goes into my carry-on. My iPod is being set up with new playlists and season 6 part 1 of Doctor Who. My Kindle has plenty of good reads. I've got cards and card versions of Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and of course the perennial favorite of Uno.

A few recommendations for your personal packing for WYD:

  • Pack some clothes in your carry on. Trust me, fresh undergarments and a clean shirt will be your most prized possession if your luggage is lost.
  • Also stick your toothpaste in - your seatmates on connections will appreciate it if you've been running for 24+ hours.
  • Put all your chargers for your electronics in your carry on. If you have cell phones, iPods, laptops, Kindles, whatever - put the chargers in your carry on! My sister-in-law can attest to this should your luggage go astray.
  • I recommend wearing glasses instead of contacts (if this applies). If security changes and your contact cleansing solution is tossed out by security, you'll be quite miserable in the often dry cabin air.
  • Take water and a snack (or two) onto the plane. This way if you're stuck on the runway for a while or if turbulence doesn't allow for your meal to be served for quite a while you won't faint from hunger.
  • Drink water! This helps with jet lag and with the heat we'll be facing, hydrating in advance is key. Take your empty water bottle through security and then fill it at the bubbler as we say back home (drinking fountain for the rest of you).
  • I also keep lotion, hand sanitizer, Vaseline, and lip balm. That cabin is dry!
  • Make sure you've left all that lovely contact info, itinerary, and so forth that you lovingly presented to your pilgrims and their families for your own family!
  • Headphones/earbuds or ear plugs are helpful for those overnight flights.
I'm off to have some of the fantastic homemade salsa my brother is making. Enjoy your final prep. I may not post again until our group is safely in Rome!

Monday, August 1, 2011

And for today

Since there's enough to do, here's rundown of today's WYD highlights:

  • Put copies of passport photo pages into the chaperone packets

  • Put the birth certificates (new requirement from Dept. of State) into my packet

  • Check the information on the phone tree, print, copy and put into chaperone packets

  • Put one phone tree into the folder that will be left for our pastor and at the front desk

  • Put the letter for the Vatican Museum tour into my packet

  • Put the relevant email receipts into my packet that are for the Vatican Museum and Scavi tours

  • Finish two bulletin submissions that I'm waiting on details for

  • Write the newsletter articles

  • Laminate the flag identification cards (actually it is 11x17 page with all the flags and their country)

  • Create the cards that are the interior luggage tag (list our hotels & dates there, the pilgrim's name, and travel agency)

Once I'm done with that it is off to the youth room to tackle the pile of WYD related items:

  • Create bags for each pilgrim with the key chain exchange items, bandannas, fans, etc

  • Sort through the first aid things - most will go home with me so that I can pack it in my luggage and put some in my carry on bag

  • Put name labels on the pilgrim books

  • Put permanent marker in tub for day of departure - useful for labeling identical water bottles, etc.

I'm sure I'll come up with more, but there you go. The basics of my last full day of WYD prep (in the office - I'll be working from home in between hanging out with my brother).