Tuesday, June 30

I thought finals were over!

This whole "living in Europe" adventure is still sinking in for me. I don't know that I ever thought I'd actually ever see these places - Florence, Rome, Prague, the Alps, Pisa, Paris, Salzburg! I'd obviously hoped I would, but as a home town Kennewickan gal (Is that what you'd call us? Weird!), I've felt pretty pleased with myself for making and taking advantage of opportunities to see a bit of this big world. As I got accepted to BYU, I remember Nana saying, "Why do you need to go so far away to go to school?" BYU didn't seem very far away then and I wanted to see so much more!

When Ryan and I got married and started our family, I just assumed it'd be quite some time before big travel opportunities would present themselves. I was fine with that, the time would come later. Now I'm drowning in possibilities in a good way, trying to keep my chin above water!

Ryan is the gung-ho booker of trips and works up a very general outline of what we'll do in his head. Thank heavens, because he makes us get out and go! I'm a pretty happy home body. Six months into our adventure and I'm just now getting the hang of how our little family travels. How to pack, what to pack, what snacks everyone prefers, who makes what plans for the trip, what our limits are and so on. After a couple trips, I figured out that I want more meat than a general list of places we'd like to see - a more detailed understanding about the places I was seeing. Apparently, I need to do a bit more than checking out outdated tour books from the library the week of the trip and perusing them en route to our destinations. But who has time to research?

Each trip has felt like finals week in college and induced the same sort of anxiety! I'm not kidding! What happens the week of finals? Frantic studying, packing, and partying. Well, there's not so many last minute parties round here, but packing and "studying" are quite the frenzy. Consider that we've done a big trip at least once a month practically and try to head out most weekends to see something closer to home. My days are so filled with just tending to the kids and trying to keep our living area in decent shape that doing trip research (that has to be retained to be useful) just hasn't really happened.

The packing part of the Finals equation always sneaks up on me. It's different than when in college for one big reason: I'm packing up my roommates in addition to myself! These lil' roommates of mine are still quite dependent on me. I can't just throw all our dirty clothes into suitcases to wash for free at home cuz we'll kinda need clean ones while out and about town.

On the studying end, if I don't know about the place we are, I have little patience for wandering around a city to see the sights. That would be my experience with Salzburg yesterday sadly. I yearn for context. It has to be worth enduring the children's complaints for piggy back rides and snacks! On the trip to Paris, I had little to no knowledge of the City of Lights beyond knowing we'd see the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame and beautiful, scenic bridges. I yearned to know more, but there's just not enough coherent hours in a day! Oh, how I ache over this now that I've done a bit more reading and gotten my feet wet seeing the sights!

Wanna hear something dumb? To goad myself into doing better pre-trip research, one of the books I checked out from the library for the Paris trip was actually "Paris for Dummies." The hideous, worn, black and yellow large paperback was an ornery traveling companion. Pulling that book out in Paris was kinda like putting a pebble in my shoe on purpose. It was an uncomfortable reminder, wounding my ego just a tad each time I had to look something up. I'm no dummy!

This traveling mom isn't making any promises to turn over a new leaf, I'm just chronicling the experiences as I sort it them out. I can't even seem to keep up with our calendar of proposed trips let alone study up for them. Hopefully I'll get better at this before our time here is done!