How NOT to Take a Vacation!

The last week in August we flew to Peru! (I know you have missed me.)

I have never been known for my organizational skills. For instance, a zillion years ago, on our 2 week honeymoon, I packed 3 large suitcases, a carry on and a large purse. I just couldn’t decide what to take. We were driving to our destination. In hind sight, this meant we would be in the same time and weather zones.


Duane re-packed my suitcases on day two of our honeymoon and got all my things in one bag- without wrinkling anything!

I digress. This trip to Peru was two-fold. I would be speaking, the first three days, at a Children’s Pastors Conference. The remaining days were to be spent with our son John and his family, who are missionaries in Lima. How exciting was this! We couldn’t wait!

Duane was kind enough to allow me to pack for the trip; because, after all, I was the speaker. I HAD to dress the part. This is where things started going downhill.

I’m hoping you will learn from the mistakes I made, and heed some advice on how not to take a vacation.

Peru is south of the equator. It is winter right now in Lima. I Googled it.


My #1 mistake: On August first, I started getting out my winter wardrobe for speaking at the conference – layers of sweaters, jackets, winter slacks, boots to match each outfit and colorful ties etc. So many things hadn’t been worn since last winter. Naturally, I needed to get them cleaned and pressed. I took two heavy suitcases of winter clothes.

Correct thing to do? Ask someone who lives there about the actual weather. Temperature in Peru right now is 70 degrees.

I had been told their house had no heat. Mistake #2: I brought flannel pajamas, a robe, lots of warm socks and warm casual clothes to wear around town. (I also threw in a blanket just in case. I didn’t want my daughter-in-law to feel badly if I was cold) Correct thing to do? Refer to answer #1.

I am first and foremost a grandparent. Mistake #3: Since we would be staying with our son and his wife, who have 4 of our 10 grandkids, I needed to purchase little gifts and candy for them to open each day. 4 kids times 14 days = 56 gifts.

Correct thing to do: Ask the parents what you should bring – things the kids might actually want – keep it small, and do not wrap each gift.

Anyone who has missionaries in the family knows you take “CARE” packages when you visit.   Mistake #4: For example, they don’t have peanut butter in Peru – or chocolate chips, or Costco!! (Let your imagination run wild with things they DON’T get in Peru.) They are not complaining, by the way. We just wanted to take a few things we knew they didn’t have.

Correct thing to do: Refer to answer number 2. Surprises are not practical.

By the time I boarded the airplane to Lima, I was beyond exhausted, over packed, over sized, over charged and wondering if I had the energy to even take a vacation.

To be continued.

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