UPDATE TO MY ENTERING CARMEL! Happy, Happy, Happy!

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Yes I know, Phil is NOT a Carmelite!  Guess you can tell I am a Duck Dynasty fan with my Phil “Happy, Happy, Happy” picture!  But I have some GREAT news!  I was very blest to have help which eliminated my debt – finally!  I have the majority of my airfare but figure I still need about $500 (rough guess, hopefully I won’t need more!) for the rest of the airfare and then the other incidental fees (known and unknown) that come up with flying.

I am hoping to leave mid or end of October.  I was aiming for St. Teresa of Avila’s feast day, October 15th, but that may not be possible as I have to finish something first that may or may not be done by then.  But I will post my good-bye and I pray it will be soon!

I am writing my postulant packing list and such for anyone interested but mostly as a way to jog my memory in case I miss anything!  I do have a written list but doing this, I have already remembered something I needed that was NOT on my written list!  Some things the sisters can provide or I can buy there, i.e. Wellington boots, a rain coat, etc.  So here is a packing list and some things are are considered “known and unknown” travel fees:

Checked baggage fees: when I visited the Carmel of the Holy Spirit in Sheffield, UK, I was able to get away with a small roller board suitcase that went with me on the plane in the overhead baggage containers and a small carry-on bag I could get to and keep under my seat.  I will have that small carry-on bag to store things I need on the trip (cell phone, Divine Office book, book(s) I’m reading, Dramamine!, etc, but due to going to this Carmel to STAY, I have much more to bring that only fits in a big suitcase that needs to be checked in, hence a BIG fee!:

– 2 prs wool stockings and 1 pr wool socks

– 1 long lighter material night gown and 1 long and long-sleeved flannel night gowns

– 1 brown knit sweater

– 2 prs top and bottom thermal underwear

– 2 long sleeved white blouses

– A winter coat as like the saying goes but slightly changed, “We’re not in Texas any more Toto!”  I have never needed a winter coat in all my time in Texas for the past 15 yrs.  I was born and raised in NY state and then lived in the NJ for like 10 yrs before coming out to Texas in 1996 and I guess the supposedly “cold” weather Texas as in the winter at times is like light fall weather to me!  Native Texans are wearing winter coats and I have either none or a light sweater/jacket and they think I am crazy but the near zero weather with snow and ice from NY and NJ must still me in my bones because I have never been cold in TX but suffer terribly in this ridiculous 112-115 degree heat most of the year round!  And I miss the rain!  I love thunderstorms with lightening and rain!  TX can keep this dry, brown, draught ridden land!  I love it but I don’t.  So as my mom was born and raised in Ireland and during my teens we made 3-4 trips to Ireland to visit her family there, we stayed for a month of more each time so I LOVE the rainy, cold and damp weather!  Just as I did the week I stayed in Sheffield in the UK visiting this Carmel.

– 4 pairs almost ankle long black skirts with pockets for various items like rosary, etc (2 wool-like and 2 lighter material)

– Personal undergarments (slip, etc)

– A pair of sandals for year of postulancy.  Once a novice, I will be wearing the same rope sandals (alparagates) that St. Teresa of Avila wore – the nuns in this  monastery make these and wear them

– A small copy with a great many deeply moving and beautiful drawings of many of the chapters of Thomas a Kempis’ “Imititation of Christ” (available here for anyone interested: “Imitation of Christ” by the Confraterity of the Precious Blood that the nuns keep on them

– My 3 volume Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours books that I had bought a while back.  This set is the one used by England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Australia.  The US set (which I also have but aren’t taking), is a 4 volume set.  Needless to say, the UK set is a bigger book for each volume and each one has a good hard cover to it that makes it heavier, while the US set has a soft, vinyl type cover.

– Other books I am allowed to bring – books on the Holy Face and my religious patron whose name I have in Carmel – Sr. Mary Maravillas of Jesus and the Holy Face – after the Spanish Carmelite, St. Maravillas of Jesus and some others.

– Robe and soft slippers

–  A few toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, etc.

I know there’s more as my big suitcase is getting full!  I have to check the weight limit allowed and how much and if there is a fee for going over the weight, if I do.

* Food/Meals: in the airports due to long waits for flights (some 5-8 hrs, etc), price of any needed food on the planes the airlines charge for (yes, I plan to eat little as possible but – to fast and pray! – but if I don’t eat before a flight and during, it makes my air sickness worse.  For some reason having some food with and hours after taking Dramamine helps a lot – I tried this without eating thinking I’d be better – BIG mistake!

* Taxi (and tip fee) and train fares once in the UK: once I land at Manchester Airport, I have to take an hours train ride to Sheffield and from there take a taxi to the monastery (if no one can meet me and this will be based on arrival time, ie super early am or super late pm).  So these are added expenses.

* Limo (with tip fee) to the airport here in the US: if I can’t get a ride to the airport – this depends on my departure flight and same as the train and taxi above – this too will be based on arrival time, i.e. super early am or super late pm.  An the tip to the driver.  I plan on using a WONDERFUL man I’ve used about 3-4 times now (on my various trips to other monasteries. For anyone in the Austin, TX, and surrounding areas, you’d be crazy if you DID NOT try and use Glen!  His website is Professionally Driven by Glen & Company!  He was so enjoyable to ride with!  So warm and friendly, kind, helpful, professional and has the best prices for fantastic service and cars!  I pick the smaller sedan car for 1-4 passengers and have by great luck been the only one!  Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT getting anything for this endorsement but I believe in helping promote great people with great service companies!  I’ve used other airport vans/limo services before in this area and they weren’t good at all.  Ok, ad time over!

* Possible Hotel stays:  no, I DO NOT plan on this expense but coming home from my trip to this Carmel in the UK, the airlines had one of their crummy snafus and I had to stay overnight in a hotel – which was ritzy and beautiful! – and almost had to pay for myself (which, by the way, I had NO money for so I was scared!) but after complaining and getting teary-eyed out of anger as it was the airlines fault and not mine and saying I was almost broke and demanding to see some higher ups, they did pay for the room for me and get me back to the airport the next morning for my flight but there could be a situation where I COULD be at fault for missing a flight and would need a hotel possibly.  On the trip TO the UK, I didn’t realized when I booked my flight that there were 2 connecting flights between TWO different airports with only 30 mins to get off the first plane and go through like miles of airport to the next airline and I made it by the skin of my teeth!  If I missed this flight, I WOULD have had to pay for a hotel if there no other flights.  I’d also have to pay for the…..

* Re-booking fee for flight changes:  this goes with the hotel part above.  If I missed the flight, I’d have to book re-book and there’d be re-booking fee, never mind a price difference to pay in the new flight!  So I’d be in mucho trouble!

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I am sure there are more fees I am not remembering at the moment, but I DO not want to be this woman above because I didn’t have enough money on me!  As we all know, it’s rare that travelling by air goes without a hitch of SOME kind!  I was once a girl scout (thank God when they were normal and good, back in the late 60’s into early 70’s!  Or at least decent – can’t quite remember but what I do remember of my time with them, they were good.) so it’s good to be prepared!

If anyone feels inspired to help me with the last $500 or so, God bless you and you will have a Carmelite praying and interceding for you and your family and intentions forever!

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So despite this small remaining about, I am doing my Snoopy dance!

Or being an ex-ballet dancer of 15 years, I should do my happy ballet dance, a leap for joy!

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