Friday, September 14, 2007

But where do I put my socks?

I'm getting ready for my next round-the-world trip. But this time I am going to some new locations. It may not be so fun. I fly out 3 PM on Sunday, Sept 23 through Frankfort, Germany to Mumbai, India. (You may remember that Frankfort was in the news recently as a foiled terrorist bombing target. Yes, that Frankfort.) I arrive in Mumbai at 1 AM on Tuesday morning. I was going to fly in a few days earlier, but learned that India has a religious holiday earlier in the week. (Something about dunking a 25 foot statue in the sea.) So everything is pushed back. I fly to Singapore on Saturday. I've found the location and time of the church for that Sunday. On the following Friday, I fly to Hong Kong. Although it is conference weekend, they will still have fast and testimony meeting because of the time difference. (They tape it for viewing the following week.) After a couple of work days in Hong Kong, I fly to Shanghai, China on Wednesday. I will teach two days and then on Saturday I'm off to Tokyo. (I haven't found the church information for Tokyo. Jeff, can you suggest something?) The following Wednesday (Oct 17), I return to Houston. I'll be gone three and a half weeks - that's a long time.

The reason I am going to Asia is to provide some much needed computer training. It will be a brutal trip. I didn't know how bad it would be until I checked with our local medical department. I've been tested and have strong immunity to mumps, measles, and rubella - no boosters needed. My TB test was negative. I had to get a booster polio shot, typhoid oral booster, and something called a Twinrix (Hepatitis A/B) booster. I have to start taking malaria tablets two days before I arrive in India and continue for 7 days after I leave. I've also been told to only drink bottled water. And I'm to make sure that the bottle does not have it's seal broken. (They tend to reuse water bottles over there.)

The nurse stopped by my office today to provide me with a personal medical kit. You can see from the picture all the stuff that I am to take. I may not have room in my luggage for socks! I've got everything you can think of to cure (?) or stop diarrhea. I've got my own syringes and replacement needles in case I have to go to a doctor. (They also tend to reuse needles in India and China.) The nurse gave me a suture removal kit and butterfly bandages. I've got all kinds of high powered insect repellent and bug killer. I was even issued my own supply of antibiotics - to kill the microbugs.

Still, it is a chance in a lifetime to be able to travel to these locations and sample the local culture. I may never make it back to the more exotic cities.

I had previously told our Bishop that I would be traveling this fall and he called Bro Lacey to be my back-up seminary teacher. This means that Mom and the other parents are off the hook.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

So - who needs to sleep anyway?

As you may have seen in Leanna's blog, school started this week. That also means that seminary started this week also. Once again I am teaching seminary - the Old Testament. We don't have "sissy seminary" here in Texas - we have Real Men teaching Real Seminary at 6 AM. Our ward has two teachers. I get mostly the Seniors and Juniors as well as one Sophomore who lives close - probably 8 total will normally show up. A good size class.

I find that every day there are three separate lessons - the one I prepare, the one I teach, and the one I wish I would have taught.

I've got another round the world trip coming up soon. (The bishopric has found a sub for me to teach seminary while I'm away.) I will be gone for three weeks this time, all of it in Asia Pacific. I will be in Mumbai, India (we called it Bombay when I was growing up), Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai (China), and Tokyo. I have to go to these cities to train users in our computer system. (Remember that I picked up some added responsibilities a few months ago? This is part of that responsibility.) I've been getting immunizations and arranging for pills so that I won't get sick while away. (Anyone care for a malaria tablet?) Working the visa applications for India and China is a hassle.

I will try to take pictures and post them on a web album. I will be gone from Sept 21 to Oct 13.

Between seminary and all the travel, I don't think I'll be getting much sleep for awhile....