1. Frying chicken before a trip is therapeutic.
A long time ago, a good friend of mine, K. fried chicken before going to Boston, which is only an hour and a half from here. She and her friends ate it on the way. I didn’t understand why she did it, until I remembered my mother doing the same thing to make sandwiches for road trips. Tonight, I fried chicken in preparation for my vacation…but then I ate it, because I like fried chicken hot. But I felt like I was honoring some sort of strange tradition, and I was proud that I, all by my lonesome, made my entire apartment building smell like fried chicken.
2. I will never be a sensible packer.
My friend Jeff was forced to carry half of my luggage across Italy when he, Katie, T., and I had a vacation there. Ever the gentleman, I didn’t know how bad he had it until I was left alone with my bag at the Tube stop when I got back to London, and had to wrangle the luggage blocks back to my home stay. Two years ago, I managed to fill up a large trunk with my clothes and shoes when I would be away for two weeks. The poor passenger had to stuff his solitary bag and instrument in the backseat of my car.
Tonight, my packing would have made a great probability problem. “If RJD has 11 dresses, 3 pairs of pants, 7 t-shirts, 2 swimsuits, and 4 pairs of shoes, how many combinations of clothes can she wear? I’ve never been good at math (except for shopping math–I can do percentages in my sleep), so I still don’t know the answer. Unlike my mom, who methodically packs her outfits, accessories and all, I just throw in clothes that look good on me.
I mused about my overpacking when talking to C.
“Ugh! I have so many clothes!”
“Yeah, but you need daytime and nighttime outfits, right?”
That, right there, is why I have and will always love black men. They don’t question why I have ten bags with me.
3. I can live on food, water, and books.
When I was a little girl, I used to want to get locked in a library for an entire summer. All the books I could read all the time, and access to a bathroom to boot?!?!? I would be set for life. As I face a week with limited or no internet access, I realize that I’m okay with that–as long as I have my books. Before I decided on outfits, I figured out what I was going to bring. The Fall Issue of Vogue remains untouched until I hit Martha’s Vineyard. I’m reading Alvarez, Diaz, Naylor, Bebe Moore Campbell, and a couple of Jane Austen knockoffs by Elizabeth Aston. Some random French novel from the 16th century, too. And that’s just the beginning of the list.
4. Prepping for vacation is hard work.
God bless all the women out there who have to pack for their husbands, children, and themselves. I can barely get myself out of the door on time in the morning, even when I’m throwing on a dress. The errands! oh, the endless errands! The bill paying, the mail stopping, the inevitable stop to the grocery store, to the library, the laundry, the folding…what?!?! I earnestly scrubbed the mildew in my bathroom this morning and thought, why don’t I hire someone to clean this apartment?!?! Why?!?!
But I feel like my West Indian card would get snatched, real quick. So I decided to pray for a vacation home, in the place of my choice, where I can have a summer wardrobe installed so that way I could hop on a plane with an ipod, credit card and book and arrive with all my stuff set up for me.
I can’t wait.
5. I always encounter God in a different way on vacation.
When on vacation, real vacation–not a bible conference or camp or study abroad program–my time is free. In Italy? I sat on my behind and ate gelato and watched hagglers. My mind was free to wander. As I am not tied to my apartment, I’m not thinking about school, work, or other responsibilities. I’m just thinking about being in the present moment. I like unstructured time.
This means I’m not meeting the Lord over coffee and rushing through a few verses or chapters so I can get on with the business of the day. Instead, I really, really trust the Lord to order my day on vacation.
This is my first non-working vacation in 9 years. I’m so excited, y’all. I asked the Lord to go to Martha’s Vineyard for a week last year, and He made a way. I get to spend quality time with Him and a really good friend of mine! My biggest prayers are that we have fun, and that I get to learn something new about the Lord.
In spite of the stress of packing and preparing to leave, I can’t wait.