Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

29 February 2008

Flu and Frenzy

Didn't mean to disappear for over a week, but I came down with the stomach flu, got better, and then had a second round of the flu after Hew picked it up. The only good part was that I managed to shed a couple of those holiday pounds.

As I recovered, I also began trying to arrange the trip to Belgium. Being the insane planner that I am, I usually have months on end to plan our vacations. I spend hours fawning over websites, travel books, and blogs to find just the right place to stay and the sites to visit. Less than thirty days to plan an overseas trip with two small children is not conducive to hyper-planning personality. Add into the mix the stomach flu (TWICE!) and that as I am not currently employed, I also planned the four days we are spending with PH's brother and family, and you can see it was a recipe for a melt down.

After numerous hours searching and emailing the family in France, I had the accommodations chosen. I waited dutiful like a good wife to show them to PH Monday night. He fawned over and complimented my hasty but well chosen choices. Tuesday morning I woke with a smug smile on my face and a credit card in hand, ready to reserve these accommodations. As I logged on, my pride was replaced with panic as I found that two of the three accommodation were no longer available. The next four hours were spent swearing and and making executive decision without consulting hubby or his damn family. As it currently stands, we will arrive in Brussels and spend one night in a hotel, then head to Brugge for four nights in a lovely self catering apartment, back to Brussels to meet with PH's family for four nights all together in a three bedroom apartment. This leaves us the last five nights to choose between German and The Netherlands which I will plan at the last minute just in case PH needs to go anywhere in particular.

It was during this planning frenzy that I discovered that we will be landing in Belgium on Easter Sunday. Bad parent that I am, I forgot that Easter is early this year so my kids will be celebrating Easter by making their first international flight. This has raised numerous questions. Can the Easter Bunny hide eggs on the plane? Do we have to claim the Easter treats found on our custom's form? Does the Easter Bunny need a passport for an international flight? Will he have to remove his shoes, jacket, and belt too when he goes through security? Will the plastic eggs be confiscated for national security? Can the Easter Bunny bring jelly beans that will immediately put children to sleep on long, international flight and have them wake up refreshed and ready for a long first day, thus avoiding the inevitable sleep deprived screaming fit?

20 February 2008

The glass is half full. The glass is half full. The glass is half full. . . .

In trying to shift my view of the world, I am currently sitting outside enjoying the fact that for a second morning we have weather below 60 degrees. The weatherman says the temperature will be back up to normal temperatures by this afternoon, but for now I am comfortably dressed in jeans and a light sweater breathing in the cool, pollen filled air.

In reality my good mood is based on the fact that I will be leaving this state for two weeks at the end of March. Spring break is fast approaching and after throwing ideas around that comported with the school's allotted time, PH and I decided that the kids are young enough to miss some school and how often will I not be working, so we are taking two weeks and going to Belgium. Yes, we are now those evil people who will actually take their young kids (ages four and six) on an international flight and ruin a perfect good nine hour flight for the rest of the plane.

So why Belgium? We had a long list of places but there were requirements to be met which helped us reduce the potential vacation spots. First, there had to be a direct or near direct flight. Second, the place had to be less than a day train ride from Paris so PH's family can come to visit us. Third, there had to be a major international airport in case PH had any company interested in speaking with him while we are there (more on that in a bit). And fourth, there had to be a number of children friendly activities. We were down to Frankfurt (direct flight, four hours to Paris, international airport, giant amusement park and boat rides on the Rhine), Amsterdam (direct from Miami, couple hours to Paris, international airport, great zoo, amusement park nearby, boat rides), and Brussels (no direct but less than two hour layover in Atlanta, under two hours to Paris, international airport and close to Amsterdam also, nearby amusement park, boat rides, chocolate). We had ticket prices, were looking for vacation rentals, and kid activities. Then the deciding factor - the flight to Brussels was substantially cheaper if we took an extra two days. Amsterdam and Frankfurt were left in the dust and we will be in Europe for a full two weeks. So if anyone will be around the Belgian area the end of March and beginning of April, and would enjoy the torture of meeting up with us, let me know.

More on this later now I must get back to my job of finding jobs, writing cover letters, and editing the CV for PH. It appears that I have become a secretary, as well as a domestic goddess.

15 February 2008

"Dispatches from the Edge"

I recently started reading Anderson Cooper's book Dispatches from the Edge. Cooper suffered the loss of his father at a young age. He discuss the disconnect he felt later in life from emotion as he viewed carnage from the areas he went to report. He describes being there and seeing unspeakable images, and yet being emotionally distant.

Do all humans have this ability - to be physically present but emotionally unavailable? Does great tragedy have to occur to acquire this talent of sort or does basic human hurt teach us to protect ourselves through the use of emotional distance?

I also just finished reading Japanland - A Year in Search of Wa by Karin Muller, a quick read about a woman searching for harmony and focus while living and filming a documentary in Japan. During this year, the author meets a mime who is also a foreigner. The two discuss how the Japanese are experts at wearing masks - "the successful ones know exactly which ones to wear and when . . . They're comfortable admiring the beauty of the surface." Ignoring the stereotypical aspect of this discussion, it appears that most people wear asks. The subconscious choices we make when we present ourselves to the world - viciously guarding the warts and weaknesses so they can not be used to embarrass or hurt us.

The emotional detachment described by Cooper grows when someone we trust and love who forces off our mask to reveal the ugly with no intent but to rub our faces in our weaknesses. Two nights ago on the phone, I wish I had the courage to respond to the person who felt it necessary to point out my warts and weaknesses in such a hurtful way. It's not that I am unaware of them. This year has been a public display of failure on so many levels and while my mask is certainly in place when I leave the front door, my mind has not stopped asking how I have managed to become so lost. I certainly have not suffered the losses that Cooper reports on which makes me even weaker because I should be contented with all I have, and yet I am lost and longing for direction.

Instead, I said nothing in response to the exposure, ignoring the dig. Just emotionally stepping back again.

12 February 2008


So it appears we will not be moving to Denmark at this time. The interview itself was a good thing as PH has not done an interview in fifteen years. It was good to get some experience on a job and a country that was not really important to either of us. I would like to know if all this "finding a job overseas" is just a silly dream or if there really is a shot. I realize it has only been a month of "real" job searching and I need to be patient. I'd like to believe, but sometimes I wonder if that isn't the part of me that still wants to believe in Santa Claus, karma, and happy endings.

As far as my dreams, they still are elusive. Part of me doesn't trust my instinct after the most recent horror of teaching. Part of me just doesn't really know what in hell I want and I am not sure I ever will. Part of me (that damn Santa part) still thinks I may want to write. I know - how cliché! But I've said it and sent it out into the universe, so there! I might as well confess to having written a crappy novel about four years ago which remains hidden in a file cabinet. And I finally sat down today and wrote out a thousands words on something that has been floating in my head for awhile. So maybe there is a Santa, karma, and happy endings. And maybe I'll eventually figure out what I want to be if I decide to grow up. Or not.

04 February 2008

The Round-Up

  • Still sick but now on antibiotic. Hope to feel human again soon.

  • No school today due to teacher workshop. Have walked, rode scooter, written valentine cards, played inside and outside, dissolved sugar and salt in water to teach the definition of dissolve, went to the store, made stuffing for dinner, and still have thirty minutes until nap time.

    • Learned that children have began lesson on Black History month, but in the pre-school version of the lesson, Dr. Seuss was invovled in the equal rights march. Hew, age three, referred to Martin Luther King as Martin K. Mooney, explaining that Martin K. Mooney wanted everyone to get along and that Martin K. Mooney was shot.

    That's the excitement from Florida. Maybe after nap, we'll launch a spaceship, find a cure for the common cold, or just have a cookie.