My mom was a simple girl. She had simple dreams of pie, coffee and her girls living a good life. She wrote poems and songs, and played pranks on us. I have carried on her traditions. To my family I had grand dreams. I had dream dreams. They were bold and foreign. They didn’t know many back then that lived out the specific dreams I had. To think that a young girl would live at a boarding school and eventually abroad was unimaginable and perhaps a tad weird. It’s ok. I’m ok with being weird.
My mom probably divided my life in her time here on earth into five acts: (1)The time that I was hers, (2) the time I dared to be free, (3) the time I was not completely present, (4) the time I started reconnecting and building up a strange new life, and (5) the time I was everywhere living fantastically big dreams. She sadly didn’t see the act where I became even something more than I had dream I could. So, it’s in that fifth act that I remain when I think of her.
That fifth act entailed me taking my first steps on national stages and discourse. That fifth act entailed her worrying about me continuously because I was always traveling. And because of her tendency to worry, I always had to call her as I boarded my trip and I always had to call her upon landing. She had to bless me before each trip. If I ever forgot to call upon landing her poor heart would be distraught.
Now when I travel I can’t call her anymore. But I do think of her and send some thoughts up to her.
Why am I thinking of all this?
I finally booked a vacation. Sure last year I went to South Africa. But that was for work. I still had to present my research and I still had to network. Talking to field colleagues is not a vacation in my book even though my family came with me. Thus, I have not been on a vacation since August 2015 for my son’s seventh birthday. I occasionally took small weekend getaways but that was not real escape time. Thus, I am ecstatic to be leaving work behind (well, work never fully truly goes away).
It gets even better. I booked an almost completely cost-free trip using airline miles for me and my family. Airfare and hotel free! Of course that means I worked really hard on the road for that.
I am going to Hong Kong in April. I am looking forward to shopping, catching a horserace, riding the Star Ferry and eating Cha siu bao (pork buns). I suppose I’ll have some tea as well and do some hiking to those gloriously scenic views.
While I’m ecstatic and overjoyed, I am also a bit melancholy as I can’t directly share this news with my mother. What I would give to hear her gasp at the 15 hour long glight and her attempt to figure out what time I will land according to her time zone.
She always wanted to visit Asia and never had the opportunity to do so. I wish I had bought her a ticket many moons ago-even when I had been poor. I could have sacrificed for her. But I know she will be with me. Watching over me. I always carry something of gets when I travel so that she can experience it as well.
I’m pretty sure had she been alive and I could have taken her she would have complained non-stop about one thing or another and I would have gotten exasperated. But what I would do to feel that one more time.
At least I can finally take a break and take on some new sights, sounds and tastes. My son will experience this with me. Not his first Asian country. He previously was in Japan and he was treated like a prince. He will, no doubt be fussy about his need for pizza. But I won’t trade that for anything in the world.
I love traveling and hope that bug sticks with him as well. Let’s see what new adventures we can find ourselves in.