You anticipate something for so long, you discuss it, plan for it, and prepare then it’s upon it with a great suddenness. Kate’s been talking about her junior year aboard for ages now and once she came home for the summer, it was the Next Big Thing in our lives.Throughout the summer, we did prep work, adding to her wardrobe, arranging tickets, the visa, and vaccinations. We all read through the manual that the American University in Cairo sent us.Then, there was but a week to go. While Kate had many things on her mind, I was trying to get her focused on finishing things. Finish her reading; finish cleaning out her room, finish assembling things. The goal was to get all that settled so the weekend could be focused on packing.Additionally, her personal goals were to complete the Economics course and spend time with friends, many of whom were preparing for their own sojourns abroad. Fortunately, she found the final easy enough and got lots of quality time with friends the last few nights.Saturday arrived and it was time to get serious. I did her laundry only to accidentally include a recently tie-died sock in with the whites, which meant a new white shirt for the trip was now pink. It got some treatment but I was warned, a replacement would have to be acquired. That afternoon, we ran to Norwalk to pick up superior microphones for the computers (Deb, Kate and Robbie) to facilitate communications from around the globe. Next door happened to be a Marshall’s so not only did Kate find even more clothes for the trip, but also I picked out a nice top for Deb that Kate also fell in love with so we ended up with two. In the end, of course, the pink came out and the new clothes became superfluous.On Sunday, the morning was spent on final details: the mikes worked wonderfully so with the webcams and skype, everyone can keep in contact. Deb the Packer took all of Kate’s stuff and packed it in the two suitcases with a lot of weighing of bags to insure that it all fits. The good byes began at Church; there happened to be coffee and doughnuts after Mass and Kate got a chance to say good bye to a lot of folks. Both Kate and the mother of her friend Allie totally broke down, but that’s because Patty started crying first. The packing went well. It took all afternoon, but it all fit with no problem. The weight was more of an issue, but everything that she intended to bring went with her. We already know that Taylor’s parents are going for Thanksgiving and volunteered to bring her a bag.Kate had the Sunday dinner she wanted and then picked a movie for us to unwind with. As the day progressed, the choice kept changing from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Fred Astaire to Singin’ in the Rain to, at last (and most obviously) Casablanca. Now Robbie has finally seen it and actually got caught up in it despite his protests.Monday involved final details/errands for Kate so Deb started a new project for her to bring — a small foldable fabric box using scraps from the dance bag she made Kate for Christmas (said bag now known as “The Beast”). Kate saw one last friend, watched a bit of TV with Deb and Robbie and then got rather quiet about half an hour before we were scheduled to leave. Robbie, in the meantime, had made a trip to the mall to procure the “traditional jelly beans.” (As a side note, in our experience, if you do something with kids twice, it’s automatically a tradition.) He spent about $15 on two bags of the good ones, tucked little notes into them and presented them to Taylor and Kate at the airport.Deb and the kids got stuck in lots of traffic, but avoided even more traffic, so they still made it in plenty of time. I took a bus from Manhattan, arriving just minutes before them. Once we got to the airport, everything was really smooth. We met up with Taylor and family, stood on line for a little while chatting and their security check in was literally a five-minute process. I think the line wait was fine because the parents were aware that it was the last time we’d be chatting with the girls like that in a while.So far the flights are on time, Deb’s been keeping an eye on them and they should be landing in Cairo by early afternoon ET, early evening Cairo time.The house felt emptier and quieter last night, just as if she were back in D.C. The true distance and length of her absence will be made manifest in the weeks ahead, which is why Deb is perfectly okay with filling our social calendar for September.