Saturday, April 4, 2009
Real visits and vicarious travelling
Dad (grandpa to baby) has been visiting. Now he’s doing some independent travelling to see some friends but he’ll be back around Easter weekend. It’s been nice to have family around and have some more company in the evening before Remi gets home from his long day at work. We took a few pastry breaks and enjoyed some sunny walks with baby. She’s been getting even more attention than she already gets. The sitter said she had “colique des bras” (arm colic) when she went back on Wednesday, meaning she whimpered when she wasn’t being held. Between dad and the in-laws, I’m not surprised.
I helped dad make his train arrangements with one very patient and helpful railway worker. He was proud to help us choose the right discount card for seniors (it pays to get old, as dad says) and seemed to enjoy the challenge of organizing so many little trips. I wonder if he won the prize for the most complicated trip arranged among his coworkers for that day. He even did a good job trying to explain a few things in English to dad. It’s been fun for me to give advice on travelling to places I’ve already been. Plus it gave me a chance to travel in my head. Trips are still a bit of a hassle when you’ve got a little one, but she’ll be taking a big trip come July!
But whenever family comes (then leaves), it can be a bittersweet experience. Afterwards there’s that emptiness, and I realize I probably survive life in France by imagining the next trip. Hanging on till the next moment I’ll be reunited with relatives. I wish I could say living abroad gets easier with time, but for the moment it’s still touch and go. I can forget I’m thousands of miles away for a while, thanks to email and phoning (and soon Skype, right mom?!). But until they invent that machine that makes travel across the Atlantic as easy as a quick trip down to the supermarket or my family gets it in their mind to permanently live in Europe (hey, I can dream), there are always going to be these difficult (major understatement) moments of saying goodbye and waiting for that famous next time.
And what about that transporter machine from Star Trek? I won’t hold my breath.