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Six Months on the Road

Today is Dec. 22, 2009. We flew out of LAX, and away from our lives, six months ago today, on June 22. Pretty crazy to think about.

Some days we've felt like we were living the dream, and other days we have been absolutely sure that our lives were ruined forever. The way we look at things; the world, ourselves, our roles, is changing. We don't know how it'll all look in another six months, but right now it's exciting to plan, rather than scary to contemplate.

We've been told by friends we've met along the way who have made their own treks before us, that we won't really understand the full impact of this journey until we're back home and have had some time to put it in perspective. It makes sense.

Our family dynamic has shifted; thankfully, for the better. We spend a lot of time together, and bloody battles are mostly kept to a minimum these days. We have so many lessons to learn from each other.

The kids have grown into themselves in many ways. Eleanor started this trip very wary of straying even to a counter to get a napkin. Now she enjoys holding her own (with effort) in line with the grown-ups to order her pasty. She can even (almost) hold her own with her brother. She adapts to situations, yet still is her own little strong-willed self.

Owen has always been very personable. His ability to start a conversation with anyone in any language has been fun to watch. He's gotten us invited to all kinds of places, and nearly kicked out of a few. He's the kind of person who finds his particular tribe where ever he is. We've seen it again and again. It's a good thing for a parent to know.

It's funny to listen to the kids talk about temperatures in Celsius, and joke about monetary exchange rates:

"Hey Dad - why don't you give us our allowance in Euros this week?" To which Bob replies "How about I give it to you in dinar?"

"Noooooo!" the kids howl.

The grown-ups around here are figuring things out too: We have a book proposal in the works, as well as some changes to the website to support it. We're going to be asking you for a little more input from time to time. Hope you're cool with that.

We're hoping to do some volunteering in the Spring. There's a school in Uganda that might work out... If you have any contacts in the world of family volunteer work, let us know.

We're going to London and Paris in February, and Morocco a few weeks after that. Wow!! We were thinking of going to Paris and Morocco in one trip, but Brenna couldn't get her head around how to pack fashionably for both those disparate destinations in one small bag, so it just wasn't going to work. Paris really deserves the best Brenna has to give! Priorities you know. 

It's been one hell of a six months. We've had bad pasta in Italy, and good saag paneer in Germany. We've had bad haircuts, and good Haggis. We've washed our hair in hand lotion. We've grown out of blue jeans, and out of patience. We've made friends with sword swallowers, historians of bartending, and welders who brave the wintry North Sea for weeks at a time. We've bought tickets to the wrong places, going at the wrong time, and in the wrong direction. We've arrived a day too late for festivals, and also a day too early. We missed the Berlin wall 20 year celebration entirely!

None of that matters. Things that used to drive us to madness now just make us laugh. Not all the time, mind you, but enough to know that perhaps we're a little more buoyant that we used to be. More buoyant, more brave, more resilient. More together, more happy, more healthy. More accepting of ourselves, of each other, and of the world. 

Six months is a long time. Six months is the blink of an eye. Six months left to go...

Bob and Brenna

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Reader Comments (13)

Amazing. Something I'd love to do, but honestly, I'm afraid we'd all end up batsnot crazy after a couple weeks. We're all kinda Type A. ;)

Dec 22, 2009 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJen

Your third paragraph - yes. That's also when the melancholy really sets in. For me, finding that perspective in situ is the holy grail.

I like your use of buoyancy as the descriptor for your new state. Perfect word choice.

Dec 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Paris in February! Yes, a beatiful time. We were there last year for my birthday. Your posts...are thoughts we had while being expats. I have posted before. We lived in Singapore and UK. We spent many weekends visiting many countries. You are correct that it will not all settle in until you are "home"....that is when you are acutely aware of how much you have changed. You will also never 'settle' in again. There will always be another trip. plan or adventure in the making!!! You will be in your family-room reading the adventures of other me! Are you crazy? Yes. Does everyone understand you? NO. Will you be richer for the experience? Absolutely. Will you have a deep need to translate your experience to everyone and make them understand your craziness? YES... Keep telling your story! My husband recently published a book about growing up in West Virginia and our travels. As I type, my daughter is watching "Britains Missing Top Model" on BBC America. Your children's 'world' will now truly be the 'world'...when something happens in Germany on the news...they have a reference point. Don't ever doubt your decision. Question your sanity...sure...but treasure the trust to jump into the unknown.

Dec 22, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterM. Jordan

We love every single one of you.

Dec 22, 2009 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDora

Just lovely.

Dec 22, 2009 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

Awesome...all of you.

Dec 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLima

I have so loved reading your blogs - it's my virtual trip seeing things through your eyes. Also, your blogs are sooooo entertaining; Deron and I will chat over dinner about your guys' latest escapeds in some wonderful place! Looking forward to the next 6 months of your experiences!!! PS - loved the blog about Brenna changing her hair color last fall and the follow up comments, and was laughing out loud at the "Robin" blog!!! Safe and Happy Holidays in wonderful Scottland to you all!!!

Dec 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarla Street (Deron's wife)

I just wrote the following to my Newsletter list, and after reading Bob's message today,
I thought I'd share my wishes with your family too:

I wish you all a

...that you really need...

...even if the experiences are sometimes challenging...



I send you Love and Light!
Chris : )

Dec 23, 2009 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Platel

So, you guys are asking for more input? I've been lurking around your blog a while since an internet buddy pointed me here. You guys are living the dream - even it's sometimes a bit of a nightmare!

We are a British family living in the States since 2000 with plans to move around more once we get the money together. Already got the homeschooling underway. Good news about the book proposal. I'd definitely be interested in that.

Dec 24, 2009 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterchoccy

I love what you're doing! It is a dream a lot of us have had.

Dec 24, 2009 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterM'Li Hoki

Lovely. As far as the impact business goes, you won't really know for decades...I am still enormously grateful for the traveling that I did as a kid. It is a constant surprise how journeys I took at seven or nine are still relevant (and sometimes MORE relevant) as an adult.

Dec 30, 2009 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterTamara

Oh, wow I missed this post... I guess you are thinking about teaching. So, never mind then about my last comment, except I'd love a reflection at this point, half way through, about our feelings regarding post production sound work and all those years you spent in it.

I'll make a phone call to see if there's anything you guys could do in Cypress, Greece.

Jan 5, 2010 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCatt

Funny typo in my last comment...'our' feelings... well, I mean yours, Bob! I know what mine are.

Jan 5, 2010 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterCatt

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