Thursday, April 25, 2013

Europe, Meet America

Walking through the giant, glass sliding doors at the entrance of Los Angeles Airport’s Tom Bradley international terminal, I actually felt a little lighter.  At first I thought it was the backpack.  My husband’s snazzy travel backpack that invites you to slide your laptop into a nifty compartment that you can unzip at the top and sides to fold out flat on the scanner at the security checkpoint.  You know, so you don’t have to actually pull your laptop out of the bag and place it into a bin (imagine the complete agony that would have been?).  

But it wasn’t that feature of the backpack specifically that was making me feel lighter…maybe it was the notion that here I was, a 40 year-old working mother of two with a backpack on my back heading toward a plane that would take me half-way across the globe ALONE. 

Doesn’t it sound so romantic?  So totally care-free?  So positively twenty-something?

But that wasn’t it either.

Once I made it through security and commenced looking for lunch, I realized what it was.  It was an old, familiar feeling.  That magical traveler’s feeling.  That feeling of being neither here nor there. 

What I had left done and planned for Jeff and the boys was done.  Laundry, grocery shopping, dry cleaning, meals, Stitch groomed, rescheduling piano lessons, washing car, filling gas tank… creating a trip calendar with the boys’ activities and a daily color key corresponding to my location on the world map in their room (obsess much?)…I could literally do nothing else for them to insure my absence was any easier for them.

And what was to come when I finally made it to my destination, whatever it was, would come.

In that moment, between here and there, all I could do was be.  Eat lunch.  Find a bathroom.  Shop for a book.  Read.  People watch.  Or, as was my unfortunate case at Gate 130 awaiting my flight to Frankfurt, listen to the overgrown American man in the shorts, dirty white ankle socks and Crocs, make himself belch, over and over and over again, until I thought I would dry-heave, while his wife sat by and did absolutely nothing.  Perhaps she's used to it.

And I’m proud to be an American…

And now I am finally there.  A ten hour flight and two hour train ride later, my official journey with my sister-in-law and niece commenced in Freiburg, with a look inside a beautiful church built in 1200, a sausage, and a beer (what else?).