Sunday, August 26, 2012

less than 2 weeks until departure

So much has been happening in the past few weeks! I have felt a little like the proverbial chicken...

The woman who is renting my house has arrived and appears to be a lovely sort of person! She is a Fulbrighter from South India, who is here in Winston-Salem to conduct research on stem cells that will help her complete her doctoral work. I am enjoying getting to know her and am feeling quite confident about leaving my house and furnishings in capable hands.

I have sold my car and banked the money until my return stateside. I am borrowing my daughter's car, which is also up for sale now. She and I will be relying on public transportation in Bucharest and for our forays around the country and greater Europe.

I have spent wonderfully heart-warming times with many of my friends who are expressing good wishes and a bit of sorrow over my impending departure. It is genuinely humbling to realize what I have meant to people and how much I will be missed! This experience encourages me even more to stay in touch via all the ways at my disposal. It has also been fun to receive small gifts of gadgets that may well be useful for travelling: lightweight bags that fold or stuff into very small volumes; a good quality oven thermometer (see my very first post in this blog!); lightweight fanny pack; headlamp; and others. The good news is that all these gifts are small!

Even my university came through with a gift, of sorts (after all it still belongs to Pfeiffer and I will have to return it at some point) - they have provided me with an IPad. It has been lots of fun getting acquainted with the Apple technology, to which I am a newbie. Amanda has thrilled in teaching me as she knows WAY more than I do about this tool. I have downloaded a few e-books, audiobooks, and podcasts for use during travelling and also as teaching resources. Lots lighter than the actual books themselves!

And that leads me to the topic of packing... For at least a month now I have been setting up piles of things that I definitely want to have and other piles representing the 'nice to have's. This weekend I have been working at getting all of these piles into two suitcases, only to realize that it is NOT going to happen! So I have started jettisoning stuff. At one extreme, I take 4 suitcases and pay big bucks in excess luggage fees (by the way, I did do my research and learned that excess fees by the airline is still the least expensive way of sending anything over there) and tipping porters. At the other extreme, I take only my passport, Ipad, and credit card. I am hoping that without too much stress or angst I can find the happy medium between these extremes. I am still vacillating on which items are those that are most difficult or expensive to supply there in Bucharest. I have read the blogs of a number of Fulbrighters, but did not see in any lists of "wish I had not bothered to bring this" or "I am so glad I thought to bring that" (with the exception, of course, of the oven thermometer!). So I will try my best to remember to write such a post once I get over there and get settled in...

As I post this it is 11 days and 3 hours until departure!!