Musings before the departure:

Well, we’re going through that dance: trying to say  goodbye to friends before we depart  for six months, all the while taking care of unfinished projects, gathering the items we need, paring them down to the bare minimum, and try to adopt  a relaxed frame of mind!

This weekend, we have to (or should I say “get to”) attend two different weddings of former students.  I say have to because I think we must do it even though our time is short and the preparations for a six-month trip are beyond anything I could have imagined.  I say “get to” attend because it’s a level of respect for a former teacher that is not often shown to us, especially because our former students are often 20 years older when they get married, and often now living another life quite different from the one they lived as a fifth- or sixth-grader. It’s an honor to be included.

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Wonderful surprises at this wedding: this particular former student had kept in touch with many other former students who were also invited, so we were able to reconnect with about a dozen former students in a very informal pre-wedding ceremony.

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Driving to our cabin we rented, we drove past Donner Lake. Cool, evening breezes start to blow in over the lakeside community, and I realize that I have not brought the right clothes for this trip.

And that brings me back to the original topic, preparing for our trip to Europe: what to take, without taking too much.  Afterall, we will be travelling from mid-September to March of next year.  We will need warm  clothing.  But we’re trying to travel the Rick Steves way: the lighter, the better.  On the other hand, Rick Steves, the Europe in five, 10 or 20 days guru is the master of getting the most out of  a shorter period, and his tours, typically, are spring, summer, or fall.  What we’re planning is a fall, winter, and early spring trip, designed to avoid the tourist season and meet locals.

In my mind, this trip to the California Sierras was to serve three minor purposes: One, try out our new backpacks, and make sure that we can take  what we need in our new backpacks and learn how to use the different compartments, make sure that the gadgets fit with  their various chargers, and practice using them.  Two, I wanted to initiate this blog, and practice posting photos and blog entries and sort them into the files and topics I’ve outlined on this blog.  Three, I am using a very small “Tab E” tablet with a similarly tiny blue tooth connected keyboard.

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The beauty of this micro laptop is that it weighs and is about the size of medium-sized paperback book. It’s the size of a very large cell phone.  Another great feature that it seems to have over larger laptops is that its battery seems to last MUCH longer.  I have used it for several hours, several days in a row without having to recharge it.  I suppose the fact that it has no disk drive and a much smaller screen makes it more nimble and long-running.

The downside of this tablet is that it is about the size of medium-sized paperback.  My fingers have to get used to cramming into a 3/4 keyboard.  It reminds me of what a friend said about learning to play the madolin after playing a wide neck classical guitar. You just have to get used to have everyone working in close quarters!

The major purpose of the this short trip, of course, is to see our young friends get started in their marital life, and we look forward to that tomorrow! But a little practice travel and warm-up blogging is good practice.  Then, we have about ten more days before boarding the plane to begin our six-month adventure in Europe.

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