I’ve packed my journal, several COVID tests and a thermometer. Oh, how travel has changed in the past few years.
My puppy is suspicious.
On the “Pre-Arrival Call” zoom meeting today, I met the coordinator for the volunteer organization in Poland that I’m joining for up to six weeks. A woman from Seattle who is also preparing to volunteer asked if there was something past volunteers wish they had brought with them.
What a great question.
We waited while the coordinator leaned her head forward in thought. She told the three of us on the call that she would ask around and get back to us.
She sent us an email twenty minutes later. A sweater. Volunteers wished they brought along a sweater.
I wondered if there was some kind of secret meaning in this; I already packed a sweater and a light jacket. Could there be a certain kind of sweater that I will long for when I’m there? I added one more sweater to my suitcase.
I will be helping Ukrainian refugees with this organization. Perhaps I will distract their children while their parents collect free clothes and household items from the organization’s free store. Maybe I will assist in creating a curriculum for people to assimilate into a different culture. I might work in their warehouse doing warehouse things which hopefully don’t include lifting heavy boxes.
Today I fly.
Last week my friend Veronique visited me from France, and I had great fun showing her around upstate, NY where I live. Unfortunately, her suitcase never arrived, so we spent a portion of her visit finding necessities like clothes and shoes for a fancy wedding she would attend in Massachusetts.
Some of my friends came to dinner to meet Veronique, who wore the same clothes she had been wearing for three days: no smell or dirt was detected on her rank clothing. How can that be? Within minutes of dressing each day, my clothes are smudged with life.
We tried to tell her that attending weddings naked is an American tradition, but she didn’t believe us. The French are doubters—it’s in their nature.
Don’t worry about me. I’m carrying my suitcase on board and have no plans on attending a wedding.
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Best regards, Holly
Holly Winter Huppert hollywinter.com Kington, NY
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