Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Today has been a very full day of work followed by a fuller day of teaching followed by a jam-packed evening of jam-packing as we try to get TeenTuna ready to head off to Germany on Thursday. She's traveling with the High School orchestra which participates in an exchange program with a German High School once every three years. She is beyond excited, and today we were stuffing suitcases and checking things off our list trying to be sure we had enough but not too much (there was some tense high-level negotiations involving shoes), and making sure we didn't forget things like the passport, the violin, the Euros and the most holy and sacred battery-operated iPod charger pack, because, as I was tersely informed by an airline official, there aren't any electrical outlets in Economy class.
We still need to pack the homework. It wasn't as important as the shoes.
It's always an exciting yet royal pain in the butt to prepare for these trips. Because they are school sponsored, I think I have permission-slipped my life away in triplicate. From daily medications (us, thankfully none) to the most mundane bottle of aspirin, there is some form that needs to be signed. Never mind behavior forms, 29 checklists, and the three separate emails I've received about how to properly fill out a luggage tag.
One pleasant surprise has been that the financing on this trip wasn't as painful as other trips she has taken. We weren't required to sell candy bars, pizzas, tubs of cookie dough, mixed nuts, rolls of wrapping paper, candles or coupons. I know some people get downright excited at the thought of canvassing the neighborhood and knocking down doors or politely bombarding their coworkers with their pleas to buy a case of super-sized Kit-Kats. Personally, I'd rather scrub my bathtub. But just think how much luckier kids are today. IN THE OLDEN DAYS (yes, I'm going there) when we had to raise money for a trip (to exotic destinations like Chicago) we did things like paper drives, or tin can collections. Essentially, we financed our educational excursions by becoming garbage collectors. And let me tell you, selling cookie dough is downright glamorous compared to spending an afternoon lugging away tons of old newspapers to be sold for pennies on the dollar.
I'm always pretty generous when people want me to support an endeavor. As long as the attendee (NOT THE PARENT) is able to tell me where they are going and WHY, I do my best to find a little something something to help out. These kind of experiences can be incredibly special for these kids, and it always feels good to be able to help. TeenTuna has been emailing her host family since last summer, and has already gotten to know the girl she is matched with. They'll go to school together, to dance class together, and I think they have several special activities planned. I'm only sorry I'll miss hearing the orchestra perform. But I look forward to the stories and the pictures, and a return visit in the future.