Posts Tagged With: Sauto

Missing

missing-youI feel a sense of missing, and I’m not sure if I am missing the travel, or the “roadschooling”, or the blogging…

I think it’s a case of all-of-the-above, actually.

We have been having a few “this time last year” conversations at home lately, so that brings about many reminiscences, and it’s interesting how each person’s perception of the memory differs from the others’, or how romanticized some memories have become already…

One year ago today, we were in Sauto. I wonder what we were doing? Darragh would have been playing with the dogs, no doubt, and we would probably be heading out for a hike somewhere in the afternoon, perhaps visiting our favourite mountain river if it was a sunny day, enjoying the deep jangling sound of the cow bells as the kids try to cross jumping from stone to stone. Or perhaps Dev was “challenging” us with a more strenuous afternoon at Carancas Gorge! Maybe we stopped at Casino or Super U on the way home to pick up some pasta, or even visited our favourite bakery in Font Romeu for a box of special surprises – tarte citron, pain chocolat…mmmm. Sounds so idyllic! And it was. Except for when it wasn’t.

And then there’s the “roadschooling” – frustrating at times, and quite stressful. Wondering if we were doing enough, and if the girls would be able to manage well back in the classroom.

Of course, now I see it in that idealized way we often see things when enough time has passed to erase the anxiety. Going back to Sauto, we would have eaten our supper and our tasty bakery treats, and then settled in for a couple of chapters of Danny Champion of the World – all five of us reading and talking together, worrying together about Danny and his Dad – would they get caught or not, wondering what was really the best way to catch a pheasant. What could be a better, more authentic way to teach and learn?

Funny, isn’t it, what the passage of time does? Back in the throes of our daily life, trying to finish the house, get everyone to their dance classes, band practices, and swim meets, going to work…it all seems so hectic. We never seem to have time, and then when we indulge in a little flashback to last year, it feels like we had so much of it then. And we did. But I do remember spending much of it doing, doing, doing, or if not, planning the next thing. I also remember feeling guilty for sitting doing nothing (on the rare occasions that actually happened). I remember thinking we really needed to cram every possible experience in to every available moment.

I don’t think we value “doing nothing” enough. As a society, even. Now I sometimes wish I had spent more of last year doing just that. Because how often do you get that opportunity!?  I wonder what it would have been like to just pick a place and stay put for a few months. Live life quietly together.

Nah, we would probably have been bored!

So, back to the missing…and the blogging. I miss that, too. And I know I said I would go back and write about the places I didn’t the first time around. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s not immediate enough. That’s the thing about blogging, I guess. It’s now. Present. It never felt the same going back to blog something we did a few weeks ago, so to go back to a year ago or even several months seems artificial. Unless…

Unless then becomes now somehow. Like Sauto did this week as we spent time re-reading Darragh’s memoir. Or when we got all our unused postcards out over the weekend to find something for a collage someone was making for school, or when Mairi wrote about the Lake District a couple of weeks ago because Nana is going there at the end of the month, and she was reminded how much she loved it. There are so many of these opportunities – I just need to pay more attention to them!

So, I can blog.

Roadschooling Claytons is not over.

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Time to Move On

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If it wasn’t already obvious that we’ve all been using our little mountain house as a bit of a crutch, it is glaringly so now. The kids are sad – they don’t want to leave. We are all pretty grumpy, in fact. And the long and the short of it is, we had a bad experience, and this place has been the embodiment of security since we arrived. It is tiny, safe, and we were here long enough for it to become home, and therefore, comfort. It was just what we all needed to recover and regroup.
And now it’s over and we’re going back on the road tomorrow. The little one is scared of things going wrong, the big one doesn’t want to go to any big cities, and the middle one doesn’t want to leave her dog friends, who have been the real life replacement for the ones she lost in Rome. This tranquil village has reminded them of their own home, so that makes it harder for them to leave too. You know when you go on vacation, and you have a great time, but when it’s over, you’re just ready to be home again? It’s like that, only they aren’t going home, and sometimes they get kind of mad about that. And sometimes I do too.
Obviously, I’m not looking for any sympathy here, and I haven’t forgotten how unbelievably lucky we are to be doing this. It is the experience of a lifetime, and even if it doesn’t feel like that every single day, especially for the kids, it is. As a friend and travel-with-kids veteran told our girls, “you may not appreciate this trip right now, but when you’re older you’ll realize how cool it was of your parents to do it!”. And I guess that there are days when we all need to hang onto that one. Because sometimes we are homesick, sometimes we are tired of our own company, sometimes we are scared, sometimes we really miss our family and friends, and sometimes we really just want someone else to figure it all out for us.
Because, you know, as great as it is, it can be pretty exhausting. And I’m sure if you’re reading this after getting in from an eight hour work day, you’re scoffing contemptuously right now, but I’m all about the honesty of this experience, and I’m telling you, it’s not all raindrops and roses. Most of it is, but not all of it.
So there.

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