Little Girl Feet

The travels have commenced. I’m successfully boarded on Amtrak’s 6:55 a.m. train, the Northeast Regional, my regular hook-up between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

  
My day started early, with a random phone call for the second night in a row from Pakistan. Don’t ask me who it was, I didn’t answer. Normally I don’t take my phone into my bedroom but I thought it easier to use it for an alarm rather than change the real clock. Even though I had the ringer silenced, the vibrating phone woke me at 1 a.m.

And because I am traveling today I had trouble getting back to sleep. Part of it may have been the cats hogging the bed.

At 4:11, I got up. Husband got in the shower. I went down for a glass of juice. I hear movement upstairs and sure enough, my eleven-year-old comes down the stairs.

To tell you the truth, I was happy to see her. I hate the idea of leaving those I love without a final round of hugs and kisses.

We left the house at 4:30 so we could stop at Wawa for coffee. Child was thrilled to get a hot chocolate. I was disappointed they hadn’t started making egg sandwiches yet.

We arrived at Gayle’s house. Gayle drove me to Philly, as I laughed at her stories of errant students and she laughed at my tale of my daughter helping me pack and her reaction to my many styles of underwear.

And now, after 20 minutes at the gate next to the business class dude who couldn’t stop talking for 30 seconds (“My father fought in WWII and was recalled for Korea.” “Did you know Jersey Mikes has hundreds of locations?”), I am on the train with a 20-something girl silently listening to her headphones.

The adventure begins: Russia 2015

  
If you don’t already know, my spring vacation is a jaunt to Paris, Moscow and Novoibirsk in Siberia. It came about, in part, because I follow PizzasInIzza on Instagram. The pizza looked so good I have to try it.

On Tuesday, my traveling companion M ran the website through Google translate so he could pick his pizza. We discovered the pizzeria is delivery only and verified it with some friends who can read Russian.

I contacted the folks at PizzasInIzza (via Instagram) and they apparently speak English (or at least more English than my pitiful Russian). Someone responded to me and invited us to see how they make pizza.

I packed a quick suitcase on Wednesday before my grandfather’s funeral.

I worked Friday and yesterday I had one of those “let’s have a nice family day” days that ends in everyone getting on everyone else’s nerves. Luckily we solved our differences with a hike to a rocky outlook over the Delaware River and soft ice cream.

This morning we headed to the train station and encountered no traffic, no wrong turns, even no issues parking. 

We bought some watermelon for my daughter and the green juice that got left at home… For me. A friend swears by it for his pre-flying ritual.

I write this now from Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train half way between Wilmington DE and Baltimore MD.

Next stop for me: Washington DC

En route: Djibouti prep with paperwork & underwear

The preparations for Djibouti continue. My husband and I use remanufactured ink cartridges in our home printer and we had a small mix-up with our latest order. This meant by the time we received the basic black cartridges we ordered, I spent two hours before work printing and sorting backlogged household paperwork. In addition to my state tax forms (filed federal online), my mother’s various taxes and her roommate’s taxes, I had to print my daughter’s Girl Scout camp paperwork and then my travel related documents.

I finally printed my visa application for the Republic of Djibouti, and using a brand new black pen I bought just for this occasion, I carefully printed my information in the blanks. You see, travel for me requires a hunt for good pens and new journals.

Every time I travel, it usually coincides with a fresh journal. I never really plan it that way, but it works out that the preparation and planning spur my desire to scribble down my mundane life. The journal that perhaps I’ve worked on for several months or even a year suddenly fills up.

I started a new journal a few days before I found out about this trip. Since it was an everyday journal, I used one a friend had given me. It has a nice folded in piece to mark your page, but the outside is an Eiffel Tower. It’s also lined, and I prefer my travel journals to be blank. This allows me the freedom to sketch (although I have no skill) or to use the page in creative ways.

For this trip, I wanted something small, as it the journal will serve only this trip, not my life-at-large when I return home. I found a little blank book with a ribbon and an accordion pocket in the back that measures about 3.5 x 5.5 inches and the layout is horizontal instead of vertical. This has me excited. The pens are PaperMate InkJoy. Ballpoint but with a smoothness, and crisp ink colors.

My printing endeavor included my train tricket. My flight leaves from DC and I live in Pennsylvania. My family will drive me to DC, and then they will have a lovely weekend in the Nation’s Capital before returning home for Easter dinner. My daughter has the key sites listed: the zoo, City Target, the Ethiopian restaurant (which has a certain irony since I will be very close to Ethiopia), and the bakery Paul. On the way home, I plan on hopping the Northeast Regional from Union Station and meeting the family in Philadelphia.

Then, early last week Amtrak announced a sale— $38 for travel between DC and New York City. The tickets had to be booked by March 20, and travel had to occur before May 1. Hooozah! Saved about $15 on my Amtrak ride.

My next priority involves obsessing over my suitcase. I will dedicate a blog entry to my suitcase when I finally embark upon that phase. I’m not bringing many clothes. It’s going to be hot. I’m going to be sweaty.

I bought two camisole/shaper garments to wear instead of my normal bras. They will offer consistent coverage and support without padding or underwire to irritate me. They also increase my modesty as my blouses are so light and flowy that these camisoles act as second shirts.

I decided I’m not bringing home my soiled underpants. I realized in the last few years that most of my underwear is aging, almost ten years old. I usually select my best underwear for traveling but this time I’m taking the ratty stuff and throwing it away when I’m done. Yup. How first world of me.

My girlfriend, who lived in Texas and has survived more than one hot summer, advised wearing shorts under my long skirt to prevent chafing. I hate shorts. Don’t own any. Any I certainly don’t want too many extra clothes under my skirt. But, I do like the concept. So, I checked out the men and boys underwear at Target. I figured I’d be a large or extra large boy, and they had a large selection of dark colored and cartoon figure boxer briefs. They seemed too heavy. I went with the traditional white men’s boxer. My husband and I wear the same size, so I can give them to him when I get home.

Or keep them, and run around the house this summer in my “Djibouti attire” of camisoles and boxers.

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