Thursday, November 4, 2010

There - Now I've gone and spoiled it

You see?  I am so weak. 

Since my last post, I have been so tempted to write in this space.  But I really, really, didn’t want to ruin what I saw as closure.  ...A nice neat package of a travel journal.  But I felt the pull.  It called to me when the kids started the school year in fabulous fashion.  Then it begged me to post at the equinox, as fall is my favorite.  Again as we came to Samhain. (Now that I’ve been to Ireland I can pretentiously name-drop, right?  Go back to Halloween’s roots, as it were?)

I thought I could post little things on Facebook, and be satisfied.  The FB is great for letting me keep in touch with those who I care about, but it has its limits.  It’s small-talk and chit-chat.  Great.  But often for me, making small-talk is difficult.  We introverts like to go deep.  If you’re an introvert, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you’re an extrovert, you now think I am mental.

So, yeah, I enjoyed writing this little blog more than I anticipated - and I have had such supportive feedback from people who have read it, that I have convinced myself I could write more entries.  The trouble is that I am back in real life.  It is one thing to make my dry observations while traveling, but I think it is altogether different to turn my gaze toward the events that fill my daily life. 

For one, it is unexceptional; which is not to be confused with boring.  I just mean that I don’t think the things that occur in my life are fascinating to others.  And actually, the loss of privacy concerns me.  Two, I am opinionated and probably too blunt for my own good…  I over-share; I ask pointed questions.  I am terrified that my efforts at being diplomatic would fail and I would then alienate people I care about – family, friends and neighbors.  And a big issue is:  What is the point of the blog?  If it stayed a travel blog, fine.  If only I could make a living out of traveling and being witty – that would suit me.  But I don’t want to run with a particular topic and become its champion.  Then it becomes the thing that defines you – and nobody is that one-dimensional. 

But then, maybe it would be fun.  And maybe it would cause me to write about things others would enjoy.  I may lead an unexceptional daily existence, but the experiences that brought me here are far from ordinary.  If I can communicate that in a humorous and entertaining and manner, then I would be very pleased.  I will try not to fuck it up, and also, not to swear so much.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I miss it

Europe I mean. 
I don't think it is missing vacation, per se, because I was with my kids 24/7.  And that is not a vacation.  It is a family vacation.  It was wonderful, don't get me wrong.  The family unit is strong, and Riley holding my hand  as we strolled through Europe (particularly through Paris and Southern France) is my most treasured memory of the whole summer.
But I miss it.   I miss the "closeness" of the cities.  They are more pedestrian friendly with lots of streets where only cars making deliveries are allowed to enter.  I miss how all the cars are small and boxy because they are fuel efficient and care more about space than looks.  I miss being able to go everywhere without getting into a car.  
Cars seem so isolating now.  (The bigger the better.  We use them to help define our cultural tribe.  We - Americans - can afford to waste gasoline because we have just that much money to burn.  Let's leave alone the ramifications of sending billions of dollars to oil producing nations.)  

In the US we always want to carve our personal space out of the landscape.  House with big yards, neighborhoods with fences and gates.  We are still prairie homesteaders fighting back the wilderness in our minds.  We all have manifest destiny dangling somewhere just out of grasp.  anyways.

I miss walking up to restaurants for a not-so-quick-bite to eat.  I miss that people congregate and are out in public until bedtime.  I miss that you can drink wine in the park and not get a ticket for open container.  I miss having a daily beer in a pub and striking up conversations with stranger who think my accent is cute. 
I think I even miss blogging about it.    
I miss having a camera around to capture things.  I need to start carrying one.  I just ordered an iphone and it will be my first phone with a camera.  For some reason, even though I am a bit of a technology junkie, I am late to the dance when it comes to cell phones.  I have never even sent a text on a phone.  Shocking, I know.  I just never saw the need.  I will be texting though - within the next week when my phone comes, I got a family plan with unlimited texting as my daughter once again pushes me into accepting the fact that she is now a teenager.  (First Facebook, and now texting.)

There is one part of this post-Europe malaise that is a vacation thing.  I miss the simplicity of only owning one suitcase full of possessions.  It was so easy to control life when that's all you posses.  I have not done laundry since I came home.  It's been a week. Actually 10 days.  I can't bear to go through it.  in our house, we call this the "Pee Wee and the snakes" phenomenon.  Click through to understand fully.

Real life is a lot more complicated, and if I am truthful, I will say that by the end of Ireland I was itching to get back home.   I love my home and my community and my friends.    I love my kids' lives, I love the Puget Sound and I love Seattle too.

And not to be gross, but this is so funny...  I LOVE love love my not-good-for-the environment plush toilet paper.  Like wiping your butt with bunny fur compared to the peeled tree bark stuff they have in the EU.  Let's end there for now.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

All that you can't leave behind

After three weeks of soaking up Irish history and culture we head off to the airport at 7am.  This will be a long, long day as we regain our lost 8 hours, and all of it is spent in the air.  We have to fly through Atlanta, as payment for that sweet Paris-direct nonstop flight in the beginning.  We should get home around 9pm, which will be 5am the next morning for our European set bio-rhythms.  
Photo: landing in Cork by Riley
I'm sitting on the plane, watching Ireland pull away from me at 465 miles per hour.  The countryside is like a Mandelbrot fractal, or one of those powers of ten videos.  As you zoom in from outer space, the mixtures of the various greens, and all the colors woven into the quilt of the land expand and repeat.  A photographer's dream, the light changes constantly.  It is nothing like the rest of the EU countries and that is hopefully an advantage.  I hope the country is able to hold onto its unique Irish character and culture as it wrests the economy out of a difficult situation.  But that conversation is for another day.

 Only 20 short hours after takeoff:  Hello Seattle!
Now what?  I guess the vacation blog is done.  I am so glad (relieved) I stuck it out and was able to publish everything.  I hope others have enjoyed reading my twisted take on things as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  I have so much left unsaid and I have hundreds of pictures that you haven't seen.  
I can't wait to get home.  I can't wait to come back.

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I want the lot of what you've got, and I want nothing that you're not

Here it is.  Our last day.  I was so worried that I would only get 98% through this blog and not finish!  It’s Aidan’s birthday.  Nine years old.  He has grown taller over the last seven weeks.  I hope he remembers this trip.  He’s a little young, and some day he’ll read this blog and think that I was on a completely different trip than the one he was on.

We started off in fine style.  Down to the Four Seasons Dining Room for breakfast.  The waiter learns it’s Aidan’s birthday and decides to bring out this as a surprise:

Next up a couple hours at the swimming pool, followed by a ride on the “Dublin Eye” Ferris wheel.  Again, like London’s, but smaller.  At the top of the loop, we spy THIS - what the what?  I promise you there are no Dukes in Dublin, not Daisy, Beau or Luke.    Then we move on to an early dinner at the Dublin Hard Rock, also like London’s, but uh, but not as big.  

I’m sensing a theme here.  Dublin is best enjoyed when you’re doing something London doesn’t have, I think.   It has charms of its own and it doesn't need to compete.  

We follow up with a walk around Temple Bar and Grafton.  Then head back for some ice cream, generously scooped for Aidan by Murphy’s of Dingle.  Then on to the Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl.

Whoops, not so fast.  Under the heading of things you could have told me five minutes ago,  apparently Riley had been out of sorts for the last few hours.  Not thirty seconds after buying our tickets, she tells us that she thinks she’s going to be sick.  We beg for our money back and take her to the hotel.  So the night ends a little early, but it’s all good.  

The kids are both asleep within the next hour and Ken and I chill while we wait for the morning to greet us.
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