I can't really say, "it feels real now," because it's always felt that way. The impending arrival of our leave date hasn't snuck up on me in any sense.
We had our final team meeting today, and it was very productive. I finally received the packing list. Two things really made me breathe a sigh of relief: 1) air mattresses and 2) kids are not allowed to bring electronics.
We are tent camping in a secured compound just south of the border. Our Jr. High pastor comes across as pretty no frills, so I was presuming we were laying our sleep bags directly on the floor of the tent on the dirt or concrete. I normally have no problem saying I need an air mattress for my back issues and my sleep issues, but I really struggle with being an exception when we're trying to teach the Jr. Highers about servant leadership, especially when they usually can't see an exception for anything more than "he gets something that I don't," and not being able to acknowledge how much easier they can function for a week on interrupted sleep than a 28-year-old can.
One of my biggest pet peeves (okay, I have a long list of them, but this is near the top) is kids' addiction to electronics. I think there is immense value in letting kids get bored and forcing them to observe the world around them. I read an article once that touted one of the benefits of summer is having kids get bored enough to make their minds wander. That point is where concepts can start to gel, and all the "book learnin'" from school can start to come together for them. So I'm glad that we're presenting a consistent message on this. Kids have been told to have their parents' numbers written down and that they can use an adult's cell phone to call to establish ETA for the return trip (and we have all the emergency contact slips with us), so there will be no need for them to have any electronics.
I think I'm almost ready with setting up my coworkers for me to be gone from Friday through the Monday after Easter, but it may be a little tight getting all my reports done.
My main stressors right now are my next seminary paper and my arm. The paper is due this Saturday, but I need to have it done on Thursday, as well as knock out a quiz and a couple online forum posts that would be due the next week that I probably won't be back online with coherency to complete by that Saturday.
With my arm, I had blood work done two weeks ago, and the nurse who drew me messed up. On the first attempt, she missed the vein. On the second attempt, she got the blood but must have nicked a nerve in there, because my whole arm was throbbing after I left the Dr's office. The pain would ebb and flow, but never truly subsided. I finally went back in a week later, and they put me on the strong pain meds to sleep at night because the pain was waking me up. Yesterday I was finally able to do a couple push-ups and pull-ups for the first time since the draw, and the pain is much more localized today instead of being throughout the whole arm, so I'm hopefully on the mend. Just in time to go do a week of construction work in Mexico.
I'm also not crazy about the only getting one shower thing (on Thursday), but oh well.
Okay God, you've got this. Here go I in faith.