The Countdown begins

Celebrating with ice cream sundaes and a beautiful sunset!
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!  We enjoyed a wonderful Sunday together celebrating my wonderful husband Brian.  These are our four children.  From the left are Kevin (15), Megan (12), Molly (10) and Ellie (17).  For me, Father’s Day was especially important because it gave me the opportunity to spend the day cherishing my family.  Leaving them for my trip to Mexico is bit stressful for all of us.  While my Brian and the kids are very self-supporting and responsible, it is still hard for a mom to walk away from her family for almost three weeks!  It actually feels very self-indulgent.  They are being very supportive of my trip and have promised to behave and be helpful while I’m gone.  I am not worried about that. I worry about how much we will miss each other.  I am a little sad about missing a third of their summer.  I’m also sad that they won’t be with me to see and experience everything I’m about to experience. It seems wrong to be doing this alone when the past 18 years of my life have been anything but solitary. Every trip that I have taken since 1997 has involved thinking about someone else’s needs.  Should we go on this excursion or eat at this restaurant? Will they like it if we go here or there? Did I pack the sunscreen, diaper bag and nutritious snacks?  I don’t know if I know how to travel alone.  It has been a really long time since I’ve only had to worry about my wants and needs.  That feels weird and almost wrong. My hope is that the mixed feelings I have about taking this incredible trip will slowly abate once my plane takes off on Saturday.  Which brings me to the title of this post, the “Countdown Begins.” We are now within one week of my departure.  All of the last minute things that I’ve been waiting to do can be done this week.  So here is my official last minute to-do list:
1.  Call my cell phone provider to add the international plan to my account. While I plan to use WIFI whenever it’s available, I do think it makes sense to add a temporary 30 day package to my existing account.  I have looked into purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone while in Mexico, but for the limited time that I will be there, it makes more sense to spend $30 to have 30 days worth of calling and data.  I won’t get a lot of data, but it will be a good thing to have if I can’t find free WIFI. This plan also gives me unlimited texting so I can text my family from Mexico even if I don’t have internet access.  That’s a relief to me.  
2. Call my bank to add a note about my trip so that any transactions in Mexico won’t be viewed as suspicious.  
3. Refill prescriptions. The older I get, the more prescription medications I seem to need.  I will stop at the pharmacy to get refills for all of my medications so that I have what I need for the trip. This also ensures that I will have the packaging and labels that might be helpful if my bags get checked.  I would have to have any questions about my prescriptions during the security or customs process.  I’ve always been told that it is best to carry prescriptions in their original packaging to avoid any issues.  Done.
4.  Get out luggage and decide which suitcases will make the cut.  I plan to check one suitcase and carry on one suitcase.  What I haven’t decided is what my “personal item” will be for the flights.  I want to leave room for purchases that I make while in Mexico so I still have to think about what makes the most sense.  I also know that I will want a backpack while in Mexico for day trips.  I really like having my hands free when traveling and exploring.  I also know that I have three really long days of travel (to Mexico, from Cuernavaca to Mexico City and from Mexico back home).  I will not have a travel companion so it will be up to me to transport all of my luggage myself.  Traveling light is not one of my strengths.  I will read lots of travel tips this week to see what I think will be the best plan for me.
5.  Purchase last minute toiletries and snacks for the trip. I have no idea what the food will be like in my host home.  When I was in Mexico living with a family in 1991, we had wonderful meals.  This time around, I expect it will be similar.  However, I want to prepare for long periods of time without access to snacks or convenience stores.  I am thinking that I should probably pack some non-perishable items such as granola bars, pretzels, dried fruit and nuts just in case I feel my blood sugar is getting low.  Climbing pyramids is hard work and I want to be sure I have the energy to participate fully!
That’s the beginning of my to-do list for these last few preparation days.  I also have a couple of doctor’s appointments and plan to get to the gym or the yoga studio every day for some great workouts.  It’s hard to believe that next week at this time, I will be sitting in class reviewing grammar and vocabulary!  Have a great Monday!

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