Monday, January 12, 2009

Straying Vagabond Shoes

The cobbler on Wall Street saved my soul today for $8. It was supposed to be $10, but I guess my cheeks were aglow with the excitement of the last day in NYC, so he said in a thick accent, "For jou- just eight dollah, Miess." And then he winked and told me to come back in an hour. In an hour I went back to brand new heels and a shiny black polish. And then he blew me a kiss good-bye and said "God blayss jour soul." I'm not sure if that was an old joke in the Cobbler business, or if he was just wishing me well. Either way, my soul feels happy and my heels are no longer leaving little indents on the floor where the metal piece had been poking through.

I love the hustle and bustle of Wall Street. The harried business people in their black trench coats. The fast pace of foot traffic. The narrow alleyways. The cobblestone streets. The very historic buildings with ornate gargoyles carved onto the facades. The NY Stock Exchange. Everything about it......I ran errands downtown all morning. And then I went to Chinatown and bought a bunch of I *Heart* NY trinkets for the children I'll meet during some service projects in South Africa, India, et al. Someone joked with me that these kids probably made the I *heart* NY shirts themselves and all I'm doing is bringing their work right back to them. I laughed, but I secretly worry that this might be true.....

Much like the traders on Wall Street, I've been pretty harried myself lately. I've been somewhat sick and haven't had a chance to see all of the friends I wanted to, but I have had a chance to see quite a few. My friends have been wonderful. My boss, Joe is picking up my malaria prescription and overnighting it to me in Miami (my insurance wouldn't let me pick up the refill early, which totally doesn't make sense, but whatever. I'm grateful Joe is doing this for me.) I met up with a bunch of loved ones last week at "Donnybrook" on the Lower East Side (recommended by Elizabeth). My boss Joe and my colleagues had a luncheon for me on Friday, my last day before my leave of absence. (Jackie- you'll be JUST FINE! When you have a tough day, imagine me making a face. Gene and Paul, please make faces in my absence.) Erin treated me to lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant on Murray Street, near the library. I met with my Shari for the lat time on Friday, and I sobbed, because she is my safety net. Vicki gave me a book from the reading list of a class we both took recently. Alison and Adina graciously extended the term of my sublet. Sophie gave me a cute little plush snuggly guy. Amy and her husband Jeff and I met up for coffee and she gave me a book and some gifts, one of them being a salve for sore muscles. Fatima, Dara, and Holly came over Saturday. I was still sick and wanted to stay in and rest, so Holly brought homemade pasta with homemade meatballs. Dara helped me sort through my luggage and get rid of some stuff I don't need. She has a way of making everything fit like Tetris blocks. Gissell and Isaiah offered to store my excess baggage (the derogatory connotation of that term always makes me chuckle, but it is actually just a bunch of clothing and toiletries that won't fit into my suitcases). I went over to their home in Brooklyn to drop off the excess baggage and I played with their cute son Matthew. He is about 5 and he is all muscle! He answered the door in a white undershirt and immediately showed me his tae kwon do moves. I introduced him to the game "pick Matthew up and toss him onto the bed", and he made me do it again and again. I'm sure Isaiah and Gissell are going to love me for that. (Sorry guys, I know he's heavy!) When Matthew asked me when I'll be back to toss him onto the bed, I said "When it's warm outside again." He seemed to accept that as an answer.

When it's warm outside......That's in May! Four months from now. That is indeed a long time to be away from my safety net, isn't it? I love leaving my comfort zone, but I also love coming back in. On that note, some of you have been asking about my itinerary. I will be leaving for Miami Tuesday morning. The staff boards the ship on Thursday January 15, and from there we have orientation. Then we set sail and pick up the 750 students in the Bahamas and from there the schedule looks like this:
Destination


Arrive

Depart
Day
Date
Time
Nassau, Bahamas Depart Monday 19 January 1700
Cadiz, Spain Arrive

Depart
Wednesday

Saturday
28 January

31 January
0800

2000
Casablanca, Morocco Arrive

Depart
Monday

Thursday
02 February

05 February
0800

2000
Walvis Bay, Namibia Arrive

Depart
Saturday

Monday
14 February

16 February
0800

2000
Cape Town, South Africa Arrive

Depart
Wednesday

Sunday
18 February

22 February
0800

2000
Port Louis, Mauritius Arrive

Depart
Friday

Friday
27 February

27 February
0800

2200
Chennai, India Arrive

Depart
Thursday

Monday
05 March

09 March
0800

2000
Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand Arrive

Depart
Sunday

Thursday
15 March

19 March
0800

2000
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam Arrive

Depart
Sunday

Friday
22 March

27 March
0800

0600
Hong Kong/Shanghai, China Arrive

Depart
Sunday

Friday
29 March

03 April
0800

2000
Kobe/Yokohama, Japan Arrive

Depart
Monday

Friday
06 April

10 April
0800

2100
(Cross International dateline, add one day)
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA Arrive

Depart
Sunday

Monday
19 April

20 April
0600

2000
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
(Antigua, Guatemala City)
Arrive

Depart
Tuesday

Thursday
28 April

30 April
1100

2000
(Transit Panama Canal - Sunday, 03 May)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA Arrive Wednesday 06 May 0800

Time Aboard Ship

Based on Eastern Standard Time - the time on the ship is ahead EDT by the number of hours listed below:

  • Spain (+6 hours)
  • Morocco (+5 hours)
  • Namibia (+7 hours)
  • South Africa (+7 hours)
  • Mauritius (+10 hours)
  • India (+10.5 hours)
  • Thailand (+11 hours)
  • Viet Nam (+11 hours)
  • China (+12 hours)
  • Japan (+13 hours)
  • Hawaii (-6 hours)
  • (-2 hours)
Okay, I think that's everything! Stay tuned for updates. I'm nervous, excited, and happy all at once. The best way to describe the way I feel is this: It's like a combination of the feeling you get when standing at the top of the high dive for the first time, letting an ice cube melt down your shirt, and hearing the first three notes of your favorite song.

Soon the nerves will ease. I have to remember Frank Sinatra's advice about my beloved NY: "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."

I'm pretty sure that applies to everywhere else on my itinerary. My vagabond shoes, their new souls and I are ready to go!

3 comments:

Lynne said...

Good Luck with yout trips. I can't wait to read about them...Just looking at the iternary makes me tired, I hope thatyou don't get jet legged to much to quick. you will be in my prayers over the next few months. I promise to post to keep you a jar on what is happening in my land. good Luck! Be Safe and HAVE FUN!

mommyofthree said...

It must be so exhilarating to be on the precipice of such a life-altering adventure. So much to see, so much to do, and so much to learn. You will doubtlessly be forever changed by your adventures overseas!

Best wishes for a safe and healthy trip! Looking forward to reading your stories and seeing your pictures! We must catch up sometime when you are back in Ohio!!

Dara said...

Lame Shabang, here we come!
One night in Bangkok doobie do, bee, doobie.....