Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life

Three Things Learned About International Travel


Raven necklace

Raven—Creativity and Intelligence



This week I was to be in Toronto for the International TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Conference, where I was Chair of the Bilingual Education Interest Section. We celebrated our fabulous 40th Anniversary last year in Portland, with details and photos here.

As I arrived to board my plane, I learned three things about international travel:

1) Always check, check, and check again the expiration date on your passport well before any international flight, and most definitely before arriving at the ticket counter at 6:00 am to board your plane. As I checked in yesterday morning, I discovered that my passport expired since I last used to Puebla, Mexico. After the shock, I turned to pleading, considering offering my first-born (too expensive, college), and shameless begging. I learned that our airlines are fined $50,000 if they let someone through without a valid passport. I really don’t care, but apparently the airlines do. 

2) Non-refundable tickets are truly non-refundable, despite multiple conversations with several people in the US and India.

3) One-day passport service centers are located in Denver and El Paso (six hours away), require an appointment, and it actually takes 2 days to receive your new passport. Note to self… 

David and Yvonne Freeman

David and Yvonne Freeman

After a lifetime of international travel, one would think I would have already learned these things, and yet… Back to Santa Fe for me. The next 36 hours filled with emails and phone calls rapidly flying back and forth between colleagues, thankfully dear friends, in Toronto. In a display of professionalism and heart, the past Chair, Sandra Mercuri, and upcoming Chair, Sandra Musanti, created the structure for our meeting, gathered our tribe together, and kept the heartbeat of our organization beating soundly. In the midst of all, I learned that people had been denied travel if their passport was set to expire in the next six months. Check your passports!

At the conference, one of my presentations focused on research done for my chapter in Research on Preparing Inservice Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals (Advances in Research on Teaching, Volume 24) edited by David and Yvonne Freeman, (Emerald Press). The focus of this text: 

With the rapidly increasing number of English learners in schools, there is a critical need for teacher educators to prepare inservice teachers to support these emergent bilinguals with effective practices. Despite this need, there is a lack of research on how best to provide professional development for these teachers. In this book, teacher educators from institutions across the U.S. report their research on educating inservice teachers who teach emergent bilinguals in ESL, bilingual, and mainstream classes.

Freedom Within Structure

Freedom Within Structure

The chapter I contributed is titled, “Freedom Within Structure: Practices for Teacher Sustainability, Efficacy, and Emergent Bilingual Student Success.”

When the flurry of emails and phone calls to Toronto ebbed, the March Madness of birthdays in our family continued. The sun rose one morning and it was first Wyatt’s birthday and then mine. For the past several years, Mom and I have celebrated Wyatt’s, hers, and my birthdays at various cities around the US, as this is historically the week of TESOL. Mom and I packed balloons and crepe paper, along with our clothes and flash drives for presentations. Last year, I arrived back to our hotel to find crepe paper streaming from the door of our room. 

This year, Noé surprised me with the necklace above, originally a pin we bought in the San Juan Islands last year, a pin he bought, as the Raven symbolizes “creativity and intelligence.” (My own not noticeably demonstrated this year regarding my passport, yet the pin inspires me none-the-less.) A pin I never wore, since it left holes in whatever blouse I wore. Unbeknownst to me, Noé worked with a jewelry-making friend, removed the back, bought a chain, and drilled a hole through the pin to create a pendant. We went to Wynn’s volleyball tournament and watched her block, spike, dig, and serve. She was on fire! A blessing to share the day with her.

Life unfolds.

Birthday volleyball tournament—Noé, me, Wynn

Birthday volleyball tournament—Noé, me, Wynn

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Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the beauty and tensions of language, culture, and place.

17 thoughts on “Three Things Learned About International Travel

  1. Dawn: One mishap that I have to share with you on traveling outside of our country is remember to take plenty of batteries because they use different outlets and adapters don’t come cheap. We should also see if we can have adapters bought here… We need adapters for cameras, videos, curling irons, cell phones, etc.

  2. In your typical fashion, dear Dawn, you graciously shared your mishaps and your joys with us, your adoring fans. Happy Birthday!!!!

  3. Dear Dawn, I can imagine the bubbles of panic and despair that you must have felt floating around in your belly. Kudos to your colleagues for pulling it all together without you. And, kudos to you for sharing.

    • Dear Susan, yes, bubbles of panic swirling around me. I believe I was fully covered by their veil! Thank the stars for my incredible colleagues and friends for pulling it together and making it happen. So very good to receive your Valentine’s card and catch-up. Big year with lots for you. Much love, Dawn

  4. Dear Dawn – for next time: have several reminders in your computer starting at least NINE months before your passport expires!! Mine expires in June 2016, and I have reminders starting in October this year. It may take a couple of months to get the new one, with all the bureacracy etc. I have learned – I had a similar situation once when we lived in Denmark Saturday morning. I knew the Finnish Embassy secretary, called her, she came specially for me and opened the Embassy and did a passport for me! Obviously you are still too young… Really sad. I have also forgotten my passport at home twice, once for Germany, once for Britain. The German one – the airline said I would be sent back on the next plane (they did nt have the fines system back then yet). The police in Germany – I pleaded, it was a conference, and they had sent out not only the programme but the papers in advance in a nice book, and the police saw my picture and paper (I was the keynote speaker) and they wrote me a temporary passport which did not cost much. There more to that story, but no time to tell you now. Britain, I was with robert, and he went to the customs people and said: “my silly wife forgot her passport. What are you going to do about it?”. With his upper class accent and respectable looks (for once…). They said: “Oh, no problem, sir, just show this paper when you fly back” and just scribbled something on a piece of paper. And we had no problems. By the way, it is the only time in my life that I have been called silly, and I accepted it there as a clever emergency. R apologised afterwards. Hugs, T

    Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, email:SkutnabbKangas followed by @gmail.com; home page: http://www.tove-skutnabb-kangas.org.

    For most recent books, see http://www.tove-skutnabb-kangas.org/en/most_recent_books.html

    • Oh, Tove—several reminders is right! I loved the story of the Finnish Embassy secretary opening the Embassy to do a passport just for you! And bless Robert for handling the events in Britain perfectly. I did chuckle, Tove. I am sure that is the only time in your life that you have been called silly! I love Robert apologizing after. Well, I must admit, I did feel much better after learning that I’d shared this experience with you. Love and love, Dawn

  5. HI Dawn, I was thinking of you today. Do you know of any good Transformative Teaching workshops / books etc that I can get training in/from?? Many thanks, Latifa Agius

  6. Hey, Hunny, very well stated! You put a lot into that one blog, and it all seemed to flow beautifully. YAY.

  7. What a chaotic panic you must have gone through at the airport; I hope that stress has passed. I’m sure your presence in Toronto was missed but we won’t dwell on that. On the bright side, you were home for more birthdays and in no time at all, good laughs will be shared about the experience. I think it’s fair to say the creativity and intelligence applies to Noe for the rescue of the otherwise unusable pin from a memorable trip! (no doubt you have those qualities too). I wish I was in your neck of the woods with the pilgrimage to Chimayo going on although my limit for pain-free walking would be somewhere around five miles. Please keep the essays on this blog coming, I always look forward to them. Dan

    • Dan, “chaotic panic” describes my state-of-being perfectly! I love the expression of creativity and intelligence through Noé as he came up with turning the pin into a pendant. He was channeling his own inner Raven! Yes, walk to Chimayó coming up soon! Noé and I did it a few years ago, in honor of Mom’s 5-year-anniversary cancer-free. We walked 25 miles and were SORE. We’re both runners and absolutely did not anticipate being in such pain! Thanks so much for taking the time to connect and all you say here. Words and energy of inspiration to keep writing! Dawn

  8. Oh Dawn. I’m so sorry. Thank you for this and your honesty. It was meant for you too remain home, huh?

    • Carmen, isn’t that so often the push-and-tug of a professional and personal life? We all know this feeling intimately. Thanks so much for taking the time to connect.

  9. I told you this would make a funny story someday! I love the pin, and the spin. You learned, you found ways to cope, and you needed the week-plus at home. Felicidades on the new publication, the raven-pin-turned-necklace, and on being just where you need to be in life…. Where I need to be after three long drives in three days is on the couch, not writing a blog post. So mine will wait until tomorrow. 🙂

    • Susan, thank you for reminding me of the future humor of this and encouraging me to write about it! I love the pin/pendant, too. I simply love. I am so grateful that you are on the couch with a book this evening after your past days! To read tomorrow is perfect. XOXO

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