Driving to the British seashore on a chilly, gray, autumn day reminded D of his only visit to Ireland a few years back. “First time in Ireland?” – the immigration official had asked D at the airport – “Well you’re in luck: it’ll be pissing rain the next five days!”
Posts tagged ‘music’
Perhaps because England always seemed both familiar and easily accessible, D never really troubled to explore it. He had flown through Heathrow multiple times but only left the airport once – a short visit when S was pregnant with Munchkin and had to go to London for an antenatal screening. His visit this month was equally brief, but covered quite a bit more ground.
There are some American cities that, for better or worse, leave an imprint on one’s DNA. New York is like that – an international metropolis that makes life elsewhere seem pale by comparison, a city that exudes the kind of confidence that might be mistaken for smug superiority. Growing up in the Bronx – diehard Yankee fan country – it was impossible not to develop a deep-seated loathing for Boston, the only other East Coast city that could credibly lay claim to a similarly brash swagger. Even now, after spending the better part of the last decade overseas, the same reflexive antipathy born of a sports rivalry that knows no bounds stirs in D every time he visits Beantown.
It’s T-minus 5 days, if the due date prognostication is to be believed, and while S is more than ready for this pregnancy to be over, the little lady seems content to remain comfortably ensconced in the womb for the time being. D’s parents, eager for their granddaughter’s arrival, call after every prenatal doctor’s appointment to request “an update on the due date.” Munchkin has adopted a more direct approach, pressing on S’s belly while chanting, “Come out, baby sister!”
Right before S packed her bags for the cross-Atlantic journey with Munchkin, we went out for a rare night of rock-n-roll in Kigali. Several of our Embassy friends and colleagues play in a cover band, and the set list featured a number of 90s rock classics. It was a bittersweet show – a pointed reminder of the one thing D misses above all else while serving abroad: live music.
We sometimes wonder what goes through our young son’s head during our travels. He won’t remember these early trips – the ten European countries he visited before his second birthday, the African safaris and boat trips, the sojourns in New England to visit his grandparents – but does he enjoy these travels in the moment?
For a while as Munchkin progressed through infancy and towards pre-toddlerhood, we were convinced that each stage of his development was about as good as could be imagined. He seemed to get cuter with each developmental leap and at each stage we consciously tried to savor the moment because we found it difficult to envision us being more enraptured with him when he ceased being so tiny and cuddly. His imperiousness once he hit toddlerhood and the whining that accompanied his frustrations at being unable to communicate his desires reinforced the perception that some of the best moments of parenthood were behind us. But now that he has become a regular chatterbox, we are back to thinking that this is as good as it gets – he may no longer be the cute little ball of snuggles he was when he was born, but he is certainly much more fun to interact with.
We’re both adventurers at heart, always seeking out new terrain to explore. We caught the travel bug young and clearly haven’t shaken it yet, but given our nomadic lifestyle, there is something inherently appealing – even comforting – about returning to the same place year after year. At least S feels that way. Three summers ago, she spent a week with her family on Deer Isle – an idyllic spot on the Maine coast – and has returned two of the last three years despite the fact that D has yet to be able to join or even make up his mind about the annual tradition.
“We need to buy more carrots at the Embassy,” Munchkin exclaimed after fishing the last of the thinly shredded orange vegetables out of S’s salad bowl, tilting his head back, and swallowing them with relish. Wrong venue, but how many two-and-a-half-year-olds have the word “embassy” in their vocabulary?