Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Traveler

Hopefully, by the time you read this my 11 year old daughter will be well on her way back to the US from London, today being the date of her return from her 2 week trip to France and England.

It's been a time of wonder, joy and longing, and not just for her.

For all the talk of how the US has peaked and our children have nothing to look forward to but a lower standard of living, I'm not seeing it. It's not just the gadgetry that pervades the US now, which is a mixed blessing at best. There are simply more opportunities for more people, kids included, to do and see more things. Our ever increasing mobility at work. Not that that equates with standard of living, an economic term. It's more of a quality of living.

But I digress. She's had a great time learning about French and English history and culture. Trips to the Louvre, Versaille, Stone Henge, and so forth have been packed with new things for her, probably to the point of being overwhelmed. Fortunately, there was the EuroDisney visit for some good mindlessness.

She's called home a few times. They're not supposed to call home too often. Too many calls home leads to more homesickness being the theory. It's hard to say if that's been validated in her group of 47 fellow student travelers (all 5th and 6th graders). One girl has called home at least once a day because of her homesickness and even takes a cherished blanket with her on the excursions. None of that seems to be helping her be any less homesick, which would seem to prove the theory that calling home too often only makes it worse. On the other hand, there's another girl who hasn't called home at all because she's afraid she'll cry if she talks to her parents. Fortunately for the parents, one of the group leaders called to let them know why they hadn't heard from their daughter.

I missed the first call a few days into the trip (donating blood at the time), but my wife said our daughter was a bit quiet at the end, and in a later call she did confirm that she was a bit homesick then, but the only call we had where she was outright crying was sort of out of left field. On the first Friday of the trip, 4 days in, she was crying not because she was homesick, had lost something vitally important or been injured in some way. No, she was crying because the memory card in the camera was full and the back up card was malfunctioning for some reason. Mind you, the card that was working holds about 300 pictures and she had filled it in 3 1/2 days. She was so upset because she thought she wouldn't be able to take anymore pictures the rest of the trip.

It's times like these when an often mature child reminds her parents that 11, no matter how on the ball on a lot of occassions, is not anywhere near a finished product. It's a simple solution, after all. Either get a disposable camera or delete unneeded pictures on the working card. She had spending money to get a disposable camera. She probably could have bought another memory card, but I wasn't sure how readily available those would be for her on the short bits of time she'd have to look for one. In the end, when we spoke to her a few days later, she decided on deleting unneeded pictures, and she was much happier.

It's only a few years now until she'll be driving, heading off to college and all the other milestones of reaching adulthood, with her brother not far behind. She's already well ahead of my travels by this age, though. The only places outside the US I had been by 11 were Canada and Jamaica, the latter only because of some extra money my parents had in selling a house and moving to a cheaper area (and that was going from a 1/2 acre to 44 acres, at that). I certainly hadn't traveled anywhere without my parents for 2 weeks.

So, we'll call this a proud father moment and next week I'll have something comics related. I may toruture myself and re-read Dazzler: The Movie, as I suggested I might some weeks ago. Or I could watch paint dry. That might be better.

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