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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Terribly Awkward Travel Moment

I travel. I sometimes craft a joke while I sit idle on a long flight that has a line in it somewhere like “one day I am going to write a book on how to see the world, one convention centre at a time.” I know. Not very funny.

Anyway, my travel is work related. I wish it was glamorous, but alas, I am the one you see dashing through an airport dragging an object that looks like a five foot R2D2 on wheels, or can be found being escorted to the “woman’s line” in a middle eastern country or enthusiastically explaining to US customs officials that the demo equipment in my suitcase is not at all sinister.

Combine that with the fact that flying terrifies me. I’m the one that will suddenly grab the stranger’s hand and hold it when the air gets bumpy. I really don’t care if his wife is giving me the evil eye.

How I cope with all of this is by exploiting friendships. I have friends that will wake up in the wee hours of the morning and drive me to the airport and help me lug my luggage. My special people call and email me with promises of an uneventful flight. Yeah I know – not exactly a low maintenance friend. But alas, I have a wicked sense of humour (see joke above) to make up for this shortcoming.

On this particular day I am headed to Hong Kong. I’ve loaded R2D2 on the conveyer belt and its all looking good. Next I flop my suitcase on.

Let me break here and tell you how much I love clean teeth. So much in fact that one of the first things I bought when I moved to Austria was the most high-end, super awesome, high-powered electric toothbrush. I even take it with me when I travel, I make sure it’s all charged up and I am good to go.

So, as I was saying, I heaved my heavy suitcase on the conveyer belt when to my absolute horror – my toothbrush turns on inside my carefully packed suitcase.

Now I have experienced my fair share of awkward moments, but I have to tell you, this one ranks up there in my top three. The girl on the counter looked and me and I looked at her. I knew what she was thinking, and she knew I knew what she was thinking.

“Stupid toothbrush,” I offered.

Just then my friend returned with a much needed Starbucks. “What’s that sound” he asked.

“Her toothbrush,” said the girl behind the counter.

In the end, she didn’t charge me for R2D2 – we both wanted that moment to end and were pretty much prepared to do anything to make that happen.

On Saturday I am doing it all again. This time without R2D2 – and my toothbrush.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This is not a drive by...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Experiences that Make up a Life

Last night I had debate with an Austrian friend of mine. He felt that because I had many different experiences in my life I would never be easily satisfied.

We ended up energetically discussing this possibility for a good portion of the evening. His argument was that the more people were exposed to in the world, the less happy a person would be with an average life. My argument was that people simply want what they want.

I don’t have the magic recipe for a perfect, nor would I ever assume that what is right for me is right for another, but I do know the importance of living an authentic life.

My father once told me that parenting was the only “job” in the world that you could judge your success by how little you were needed. I had a terrible time letting go of my son as he grew up. I still do. Even an ocean away I struggle with the act of letting go – on many levels. Sometimes I wonder who has learned more – my son from me, or I from him.

Through parenting I discovered that each person has his or her own unique spirit – or if you prefer individuality. As much as I tried to mold my son, I learned early on that I could not. Or perhaps I should instead say that I would not. It was easy to see the light in my son’s eyes as he discovered a new passion or enjoyed a moment. As a parent it became clear to me that my job was to expose my son to experiences, set boundaries and and let him discover what made him happy.

You can tell when a person is happy. The eyes have a particular light to them, their energy is easy – and well you can just tell. They are living the way they want to live.

My life may defy convention, and it has been at time extraordinarily tough, but it is authentic. What may seem to some is that I am not easily satisfied, but in essence it is far from that. I am easily contented. I do not look back on my life to moments that I remember as happier. I do not long to relive the good ‘ol days. I live for today and I am happy in it.

It is easy to judge what we do not understand. I know many people who are “restless” and not satisfied with the life they are leading. You can watch their special light fade little by little. I sure don’t want that to be me – nor do I want that for my son.

My son’s Facebook status this week was “Life is too short not to be stoked everyday.” I thought that was perfect. Maybe I am wrong, but surely it is not the experiences that make for a life that is dissatisfied, it’s the experiences that make up a life…