Wednesday, August 16, 2017

off to foreign realms

At the risk of being pistol-whipped by the Sexist Police, I have to admit I felt what I can only describe as a sense of girlish giddiness this morning when, at 7:30, I got a call from my daughter who was in ... wait for it ... Stockholm, Sweden. Woo-hoo! Stockholm! Woo-hoo -- another country! One of my lifelong senses of coming up short as a parent has been a longing to see all of my children visit foreign countries ... any foreign country. I simply didn't have the money to send them. And here was my daughter Olivia calling from Stockholm. Hot damn!

I can hear my globe-trotting buddy Barney ho-humming that "all people are pretty much the same..." but... well ... color me giddy anyway!

My daughter was first in offspring line to make me remember, "Be careful what you pray for, you may just get it." First she visited a friend in Australia. Then she got married in Fiji. And now she was in Stockholm en route to Finland where her husband, Rich, will compete in a Strong Man contest -- one of those events where enormous men carry enormous weights from here to there. Why? Well, why not?

But the weekend just past had other whispers of travel and education and loss. My older son, Angus, flew south to Georgia to check out a job at a track camp. Track enthusiasts, I learn in the midst of this, tend to train in the south because the weather is warm ... or rather HOT, I should say. Temperatures while my son visited were in the 90's (90 F = 32+ C).

The South is another realm -- yes I can hear the Geography Police. It is a place where people often judge each other by which church they attend. I warned my son to take this seriously. And then it occurred to me that if anyone pressed him, he might say that when, by God's grace, he was born, God did not see fit to bless him with beliefs or convictions of any sort and that the notion of improving on what God provided struck him as impudent and possibly arrogant ... and that therefore he did not yet attend any church.

Angus is back now, looking a bit frazzled after his whirlwind weekend and viewing the job potential (bottom line) as, "will I ever be able to forgive myself if I don't take it?" It pays poorly thanks to the student debt the United States has seen fit to impose. The camp does things like train people for the Olympics and the boss said he might consider taking Angus with him to Tokyo in 2020. I keep forgetting that there is a homesickness quotient to be tallied for him at 26 as I tallied it in the fourth grade. And I forget that if he leaves, I will miss him, as will his mother ... and still I want him to spread his wings in a foreign land.

And all this time, Ives, my younger son, is stationed with the National Guard in Sinai where, like Georgia, it's hot and he hates it (is there anyone in uniform who feels differently?) and wishes, perhaps, he were somewhere that the bullets flew -- which is the precise opposite of what the old man wishes. Instead, he is on a United Nations guard detail which sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry.

So .... my children, in foreign climes, and the world is wide and round and my children are getting to see some of it ... and get their leashes yanked a little .... time passes.

I wish them all bon voyage and can't help wishing they were home.

Go figure.


  1. In my youth, I went to Mexico on errands of hippie entrepreneurship. After that, I barely crossed both the Mississippi River and the Mason Dixon line in a visit to Carbondale Illinois. The north eastern U.S. is as unknown to me as the rest of the planet. I dreamt of visiting Africa and Scotland in my youth, but paying rent always took priority.

  2. Nice family post. Makes me want to do some traveling again.

    Traveling is, in general, an educational experience giving, to most people, a greater depth and breadth of
    (Which is why it's hard to understand why someone who, billionaire or not, is quite wealthy and who has traveled extensively is so intolerant.)

    BTW Genkaku, your temperature conversion math is a bit off
    T(°C) = (T(°F) - 32) × 5/9
    (90-32) x 5/9
    = 58 x 5/9
    = 32.22°C
    I just memorized in grammar school that the freezing temperature of water is 32°F or 0°C, and boiling point of water is 212°F which is 100°C; and, from reading laundry care labels and checking in which Google on my cell phone 40°C is warm water about 120°F.

    I want to add to the gentle warning about the South without the gentle part. There are in the South communities so prejudiced and so hate filled you'd think you were in a different country, or universe. I've two sets of New York City friends who moved to the South, one set to North Carolina, the other to Mississippi. They both thought the hate was exaggerated and that they could navigate prejudice and such. The Christian couple in NC near Chaple Hill lasted a decade before getting fed up mostly on the lack of opportunity generated by speaking out about injustice. The Jewish couple to Miss. lasted about 18 months, I think the fifth time they were told they weren't welcome did it for them.

    Also carefully check pay, health care benefits, vacation, etc. Although excellence in sports might trump everything else at least while it lasts.

  3. Andy -- the .22 in the Celsius is the reason I added the "+" sign ... being too lazy to append .22.

  4. Ah. Read it as misremembered formula not as an equivalence.