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