When summertime beckons, many of us find ourselves pondering the annual question: home or away?
Whether it’s a long-planned holiday far afield, camping in a field (aka caravaning), day trips in the general vicinity, a picnic in a bucolic setting, or simply a barbeque in the backyard, it’s the season we want to be doing something different.
So when we began planning for this summer’s adventures, the immediate answer to the initial question was a resounding yes.
Not just home or away, home and away.
And from there it got complicated.
So many factors contributed to what quickly became a growing enterprise I affectionately refer to as OPERATION: EXTENDED SUMMER TRAVEL. And believe me, the logistics and complexity of details have rivaled many a campaign.
Take one wanderlust-fueled, holiday-starved family deeply missing the excitement and thrill of exploring new places and cultures. Add a high school reunion, a couple work-related opportunities, and the chance to write in different, enthralling and creativity-inspiring environments.
Toss in an overseas arts & humanities program for one child, and last-minute change in summer plans allowing for the crossing of paths with a global best friend for the other. Conjure the funds through scrimping and saving and scoring great deals on travel and housing, and voila! What might simply have been a short-lived vacation morphed into what is proving to be a marvelous few months. It’s not the same as packing up and moving abroad again, but close enough.
Many thanks to those of you who contacted me behind the scenes to inquire whether all was well. It was, it is, and, if the fates allow, hopefully it will remain so. I’ve taken an unintended but restorative break from blogging, not for lack of interest or ideas but because – even in this day age – wifi connectivity has been wonky at times. And sometimes you just want to spend time with loved ones, being in the moment and cherishing the chance to experience it all and do what you love.
Recently we found ourselves at (adult Third Culture Kid) Husband’s high school reunion in Rome, celebrating the 50th birthday of his beloved international school. As these weekend-long reunions only occur once a decade, they are generally well-attended. We’ve been going for, well…, let’s just say we’ve gone a couple prior and not mess with the years involved as it’s a rather scary number.
Having been raised in his adolescent years in Rome, Husband has a great fondness and affinity for Italian life, one that he has generously shared with us, and, over time, we have come to share with him. It’s encouraging for Son and Daughter to observe firsthand how, with a bit of effort, their father has remained close to those people with whom he spent his middle and high school years.
Yes, nostalgia and the passage of time can combine into a formidable pair of rose-colored glasses, making us not only look back fondly on old times but imbue them with a significance and value they might otherwise not necessarily deserve. So in returning periodically to the scene of so many formative life experiences, so many hijinks, so many hormonally-charged moments of drama and emotion and laughter and angst, it is heartening to find the ties that bind remain strong and true.
There is a special bond among Husband and his classmates, one forged in living and attending boarding school during one’s formative years in another country, in another culture, especially in a time and place as exciting and enriching and magical as Rome was then.
And, I can happily report, remains so.