So it goes

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A literary giant, disguised as a bushy-haired man with big eyes, has moved on to other worlds. Kurt Vonnegut is dead. If you haven’t read his books, then do yourself a favor and get one today. The man could write, really, really write. He is one of my favorites. (photo credit Jill Krementz)

The weather is suitably funereal – slashing ice pellets against the windows, the wind howling off the lake. Good weather for being somewhat blue and restless, which is certainly where I am today.

It is Packing Day because tomorrow I fly to Poland, via Chicago and London. The kind people at the American School of Warsaw invited me to come and talk to their students about books and writing.

The last time I headed on my own, to a country where I didn’t speak the language, I was a 16-year-old exchange student boarding a plane for Denmark. That experience worked out well. I know this one will, too. In fact, I am totally stoked. I can’t wait to see the country, hear Polish, meet the people, and see what kinds of kids are at the school. I imagine they have a million bazillion stories of their own.

I’ve been reading up on Poland’s history (which is astounding) and trying to get my mouth around some of the sounds of the language. I am sure I will ask the taxi driver about the color of his underwear instead of the cost of a trip to the airport. Oh, well. To travel, one must be willing to make mistakes. Przepraszam means “I’m sorry.”

I’ll arrive there, probably jet-lagged, around lunchtime on Saturday. I plan to spent the weekend wandering Warsaw and embarrassing myself to taxi drivers. Monday – Friday I’ll be speaking at the school. The kids have Wednesday afternoons off and one of the administrators has kindly offered to show me some of the sights of the city.

I wish I could take some extra days after my time at the school to bum around and visit the countryside or Krakow, but this spring is jam-packed with work for me and I have to get home.

Because of British restrictions (a reaction to terrorists), I can only take one, one, carry-on bag with me on the plane. Obviously, I have to take my laptop, because it holds my computer which I need for my presentations. Today I have to figure out exactly how much stuff my laptop bag will hold. I have to bring Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw, too, because that’s what I’ll be reading on the plane.

I hope I will be able to blog from Warsaw, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to navigate the Internet. I promise I will take loads of pictures and share them when I get home. If I don’t get a chance to talk to you, have a great week, read some Vonnegut, and above all: be kind.