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February 27, 2008

Australia Bound

No ... not me, though I wish. It's Becky! Can you believe that? My daughter is going to Australia before me. All at once I'm excited, jealous, nervous and a bit scared. I'm excited at the prospect of traveling so far (until of course I remember, I'm not going). I'm jealous - well because she is. But nervous and scared because I'm her mom and that's just a natural reaction to the thought of your fifteen year-old travelling half-way around the world without you.

She's heading overseas with People to People, which I had been vaguely aware of before she received her invitation letter. Now, I've come to realize it's a huge organization. I can't believe how many kids I know that went on one of their trips and I just didn't realize it.

The process goes, first you get your invitation letter. Then you attend a 60-minute informational meeting. Then you must apply. As part of that, you have to submit three letters of recommendation, two from teachers, one from someone else. Finally, you have an interview (which turned out to be a group interview - with 9 other kids), and then you're in. It sounds more involved than it actually was.

Once you're accepted you have between four and six meetings where the kids learn about each other and about the country (or countries) of their destination. These meetings last from two to three hours each. Last night we had our first one and parents were encouraged to stay (we're not required to stay for the second or third but must return for the fourth). We didn't do much other than organize into committees (food - three hour meetings - there must be food, bon voyage party, reunion party, and then some research committees). The research committees need to get information on cell phone rentals and purchase, Visa buxx cards, and hiring a bus to get the kids to the airport on departure day. I didn't sign up for any of those, choosing reunion instead - hey what can I say it sounded like more fun. Though I will do some research on my own using SlowTrav into the cell phone thing. We're still not sure if she's taking one or not.

Since Becky was in the first round of interviews, I (along with the other parents at that interview), got snagged into bringing snacks for last night's meeting. I thought I'd go with the theme.

australia_cookies.jpg

We served kangaroos, crocodiles and sheep. People got a kick out of them, but man they were a lot of work. Next time, maybe airplanes.

March 8, 2008

We Have a Departure Date

Stupid MT! I had this entire entry typed, went to publish, found an error and lost the entire entry. This is why you should always save as unpublished first - urgh!

Okay - finally Saturday night, after waiting, and waiting, Becky finally received her departure date. They were supposed to let us know 45 days after our initial meeting (back on January 13). They had indicated, it would probably be earlier. But 45 days came and went and nothing.

Parents called, and they'd promise a few more days, a few more days. Then this past week, after I spoke to someone on Monday and he promised Friday. Then I spoke to someone Friday and he promised Saturday, the date came through.

It irked me a bit because one, they had already hit my credit card with the first payment (which they shouldn't have done without a departure date). What if the dates didn't end up working for us? I should only be out my deposit (if that), not 1/3 the cost of the trip. Plus, they were holding us up planning our own summer vacation. As it is, one of our leaders (aka chaperons) had to back out because the departure date conflicts with family commitments she has during that period of time.

Anyway, cool thing, there's a count down clock on the website (days, hours, minutes). So Beck's out of here in 121 days! (July 8th to you and me).

So very exciting.

July 4, 2008

Schedule of Activities

As you may remember, Becky's going to Australia this summer. So I thought I'd give you a glimpse into their itinerary - Slow Travel, it is not.

2008 Schedule of Activities

Tuesday
Depart for Sydney, Australia - greet your fellow Ambassadors in your departure city before boarding your international flight to Sydney, Australia.

Wednesday
En route to Sydney, Australia - lose a day as you cross the International Date Line en route to Sydney, Australia.

Thursday - Sydney, Australia

  • Meet your Delegation Manager upon arrival at Sydney Airport.
  • Welcome to Sydney, Australia! The largest city in Australia and the capital of New South Wales, Sydney is uniquely set on the natural harbor of Port Jackson.
  • Visit the Sydney Aquatic Centre and ANZ Stadium at the site of the 2000 Summer Olympics.
  • Go beneath the sea at the Sydney Aquarium for a chance to discover fascinating marine life.
  • You will have an opportunity to take a swim at the Aquatic Centre so make sure you have your swimmers and towel in your carry on luggage.
  • May we suggest comfortable walking shoes for your time in Sydney?

Friday - Sydney, Australia

  • Learn about Australia’s national gemstone, the opal, during a cutting and polishing demonstration at an opal establishment.
  • Cruise Sydney Harbor, see the city’s highlights, and learn about its amazing history.
  • Experience the history of Hyde Park Barracks, and discover what life was like for the convicts sent to Australia.
  • Enjoy a guided orientation of the majestic Sydney Opera House complex.
  • Tonight dine at a Sydney restaurant overlooking the famous Darling Harbour.

Continue reading "Schedule of Activities" »

July 8, 2008

My Baby Has Flown the Coop

becky_departure_2.jpg
Waiting to Board the Bus

becky_departure_1.jpg
One More So You Can See the Luggage

July 9, 2008

1:30am Phone Chain

One of the things the chaperons on Becky's trip do is initiate a phone chain whenever they fly and touchdown in their destination. Yesterday, Becky left for LAX where she'll catch a connecting flight to Sydney. What does that mean? At 1:30am (flight was an hour late) my phone rang but it wasn't Allison, the chaperon, it was Becky! It seems Natalia let Becky use her phone. Beck didn't know if she should call because she didn't know if it would make her feel bad. She felt better but I felt a bit sad after talking to her. Though, still good to hear her voice (even at that crazy hour) and know she's okay. Five minutes later, my cell phone rang (that's my designated reach number), and it was Allison telling me everyone was good, the flight was a bit delayed and to initiate the phone chain.

It looks like her flight to Sydney may have departed late, so I should get another phone chain call in about 11 hours.

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to What I Really Think in the Australia 2008 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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