As another R&R rolls to a close and we start assessing the amount of extra space we might have in our luggage for a few 'extra' goodies (read: those we can get at home -- because it is fairly well-stocked in our current home -- but cost an arm and a leg.... Like celery), I can't help but think about how lucky our kids and other FS kids are to be able to see and experience things that a good portion of their State-side peers only experience through books like in their world history or social studies courses. Instead, our kids get to experience: afternoon heat at the colosseum, the sea of humanity at St Peter's basilica, the smell of the salty wind as our gondolier pushes our gondola through the winding canals of Venice, the prick of the olive tree as we hike towards the ruins of the Roman amphitheater in Volterre...
We chose to live the life that we do because we have a curiosity about what else is out there, about how people are beyond our borders, and a thirst to experience more. To see things with our own eyes. It's not enough to read about these things in our books; we want to BE there. Our kids? This is what is normal to them. They go to these amazing places -- Alhambra in Spain, the Duomo in Florence, the leaning tower of Pisa -- and they think that it is cool -- because it is WAY cool -- and they appreciate because they see how much we appreciate -- we know they are little mimics -- and they think this is was what all of their peers are doing. They don't realize that rather it is unusual to have seen and visited all that they have, and that the wanderlust we are cultivating will create an appreciation of the world and of other cultures and beliefs and ways of life. They don't realize that most of their cousins don't have passports, and visas to five countries. They don't realize growing up fluent in three languages is not the norm in the States, and for their circle of friends to include twelve different nationalities and five different religions is also unusual.
A week break from school, no we start looking at airfare options and where in the world can we go and explore in a seven day period. Our kiddos don't come up with suggestions like Disneyland. Rather they'd suggest Fez to go back to the souks, or remember that cave we didn't get to when we were in Portugal? Can we go there? Where in the world do we want to go next? Literally, the world is our oyster.
For our kids, it's normal to go home with raw meat and three bunches of celery in suitcases. What else would you bring home from your R&R? Typical souvenirs should include hard or expensive staples like turkey, bacon and farro. Italian cheese, anyone? Things stay pretty chilled when the airplane hits cruising altitude. You might rethink fresh meats, but if their are frozen solid and then in a freezer/cooler bag? Even summer west African heat won't thaw those goodies.
This R&R is wrapping up. Can't wait to see where we end up next summer. We have lots of places left to explore!