It’s always a sleepless night for me, the one before I take someone else’s young people on a trip.
This trip may be for just a weekend of surfing, 10 days in the bush, to hike the Routeburn track in New Zealand or for instance the one I have just begun, to Peru in South America for 2.5 weeks.
The night before I always play over everything in my head. What do I need to do? What if this happens? What if this goes wrong? What if….. what if….. what if……
Despite being the coordinator and running a number of these trips it’s always the way. I think I take after my mother!
One day I would like to be able to shut the door to my house, swing my back pack on my shoulder and thing hey, who cares about the what if’s? I mean what’s the worst that could happen.
Don’t worry all, it wasn’t the case this trip!
I’m lucky enough to have amazing and dedicated parents. Ones who are willing to travel 150km to stay the night, well half a night, to get up at 2:30am to drive me to the airport and then continue home to their house. Oh and I forgot to mention look after my wonderful almost 13 year old while I take other people’s children overseas!
I am truly blessed to not only create these opportunities and experiences for me, but to be able to share them with the young students I have with me!
I should have sensed this trip would be an adventure I was not expecting when my mother wakes at 1:00am and proceeds to walk downstairs, fiddle around only to walk into my room and shine her phone light in my eyes and state; ‘it’s only 1:00am’, I have realised this and wondered what on earth my mother was doing????
We had agreed on 2:30am wake up!
I should have known then what an adventure this would be!
It was not long after my mother giggled herself back to her bed that I realised we had no power. My house had no power! The night before an overseas trip! I mean what else could happen!
So at 1:30am, as I am now wide awake, I chuck on some shorts and go on the hunt for the power box.
It was dark and cold and I can only imagine what the neighbours were thinking if they looked out their windows! There’s this lady who looks like she has risen on the wrong side of the bed! Walking around her own house shining her light at the walls! Oh look they say, she’s now looking at the heater box, the water meter, what is she doing? I mean I even lifted up those weird little water meter lids that are usually hidden under the grass on our front lawns!
Who would have thought that would be the electricity box???
To my astonishment and of course when the light bulb switched on in my head, pardon the pun, I found it on the wall of my garage. I tried all the switches but to no avail!
Giving up as I had a massive day ahead, I crept up to bed thinking, what will I do about the fridge? The freezer food?
What else could happen?
Thankfully and to my rescue came dad, the knight in shining armour who literally fiddled with all the switches and bam on it went.
So again we both trudge upstairs to try and get at least a small wink of sleep in the last half our before our alarms go off!!
What else could happen?
It’s 2:30am and wow I am awake when the phone goes off, we pack the bags, raise the dead, well I mean the 12 year old…. who you gave a wide berth for your own safety while getting ready. Loaded into the car and had a smooth ride to he airport.
All was well, we checked in and as we sit down in the departure lounge 4 of my 8 students whip out their phones and start to text away! To my shock, awe and horror I stand in my place and state ‘what are those?’ You can imagine they roll their eyes and think, Miss, come on their our phones!
Little do they realise the no phone policy on camps, not on overseas trips, let alone one with me!!!! So I scoop them up, ring the parents, go out through departures and hand them back to the parents saying thanks but no thanks! Let your kids be! No news is good news.
Besides we have two teachers phones, a what’s app group, a FB page, a school contact, an office number oh and also a 24/7 hour phone line………
It will be okay!
Did I mention when I went through security again I was selected, yay, you’ve won….. the random drug and explosive swabbing procedure! Joy I say, I cannot imagine what’s changed in the past 1/2 hour as I was just here!
What else could happen?
So anyway we get on our first leg of the looooooonnnngggg trip! Brisbane to Sydney. A quick flight. I find my seat start conversation and even get a chance to open the first page of my Peru journal. A new, crisp book! I love journaling, the kids know me for it, the ones who have been away with me before. So much so they ask, Miss where’s your journal, tell us a riddle, or let’s play that game, all of which are carefully, not always neatly kept in my journal.
It was bliss!
So you say what else could happen?
Well we get to Sydney, disembark and head towards the international transfer. I line up and scan the passport in those new digital gates. I look around to make sure the kids re okay. They are doing fine. I look back at the screen and there is a huge error and a Red Cross on it! My heart stops for a moment and I think; OH NO!! What now!!
Well I check the photo page and think what’s wrong. It took a second before I realised I was trying to scan the old visa to Myanmar that had my picture in it! This is a DUH moment where I imagined seeing Homer Simpson slap his forehead and a missive speech bubble with a DOH came out! So I get to the right page and hey I get through!
In line for the international transfer from terminal 3 to terminal 2 in Sydney. What could happen?
While waiting, over the loud speaker, in an urgent voice they call out one of my Year 10 boys names. We all stop and go what? Is that you? Why? What have you done? Did you leave something? Etc..
So we race off to the desk to find out what it is. The ladies speak urgently and point us to another desk. Let’s just say J and I were very confused. We get to the second desk and a lady holds up a phone and say’s is this yours. Politely, J says no it can’t be, mine was confiscated off me in Brisbane!
I had to laugh.
Phew, another crisis averted. I just wanted to get on the next plane and move on. My heart couldn’t take the constant shots of Adrenalin it was being given!!!
So we get through customs and head off towards our gate. Oh and some food as we were all starving by now! A few minutes, quietly walking past all these shops I would never be able to afford to shop in miss T grabs my arm and says ‘my passport’. Well this was the point I almost threw down the bag I had, the tickets in my hand and said I’m done!!
She had left it in the small plastic tub at security!!!
Racing back, the time passing slowly, like someone’s pressing pause and then the fast forward button only once, it’s so slow…………before luckily enough it was located!
So we again continue to walk towards the gate, the food and hopefully nothing else!
I mean what else could happen?
This is not the case! A little later on while finding a seat for us to group together before we divided for food and cane back together to eat.
A strange lady taps Ms J on her arm and says, ‘you dropped this’. I almost choked on my coffee, number two at that point, this lady handed over her boarding pass. Just something small you know, to lose!!
This is only the start! We hadn’t even left Australia yet! Anyway the plane takes off, I manage to score a back seat all to myself and I lean back to watch a movie. The book club was first off the rank and I was laughing, snickering and giggling to myself in my seat! Thankfully everyone is wearing headphones!
The movie finishes, I have had something to eat and I think I had better update my journal! So much has happened. I get my bag down and rummage through it…..
The journal is not there!
It’s on the first plane in the seat pocket!
I mean what else could happen!