Posts tagged ‘Travel’

November 29, 2011

Sleep Diva

A long time ago, I learned that traveling anywhere with a little one—whether it’s a short train ride to New Jersey or a cross-country flight to Los Angeles—requires a recovery day upon returning home. Jacob settles back into our home pretty easily; he’s always excited to see his toys and run around more freely again. Plus, at home he knows where the Cheerios are. But still, his sleep schedule is a little off, and his energy levels need to regulate all over again.


For me, the recovery is as much psychological as it is physical. Walking into an extended family member’s house and eyeing the (evil) cheese plate before I even see the host clearly puts me on edge. Add to that the fact that every greeting isn’t just, “Hi! Good to see you! Happy (Fill in appropriate greeting here)!” It’s more like “Hi! Good to see you! Happy whatever! Okay, so if you’ve eaten any cheese, or anything containing butter, milk, or any other form of dairy since you last bathed, could you not kiss or touch our child? Thanks! Really, so good to see you!”


And yet, no matter how hard we (family included) try, every trip means administering Benadryl at least every other day, if not every day. By the time we come home, Jacob’s skin is often like sandpaper, and it takes a few days and some heavy-duty lotion to get it back to normal. I’m starting to think Jacob’s list of allergens looks like this: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and travel.


Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving was a fun weekend, and we had lots of great time with family and friends. But that doesn’t make the recovery any less necessary, especially when Jacob’s sleeping habits take a turn for the dramatic.


The first night we were in New Jersey, we’d planned to share a room with Jacob. The translation here is that we kicked John’s brother out of his room and onto the couch. About two am, John and I got kicked out of the room, too—onto the floor. Even at home, Jacob sometimes wakes up once or twice in the night, but he can usually put himself back to sleep. Apparently, this is only the case if we’re not in the room with him.


The next night, we didn’t even bother trying to share a room with him. We effectively kicked John’s brother to yet another couch (thank goodness John’s family has enough couches!), so we could sleep on the furniture in the living room. I slept much better that night, but I fell asleep amazed at what a diva Jacob could be if he really wanted to. Will he ever have sleepovers?  Will his friends have to sleep in another room?


In the meantime, here’s a photo I talked up while we were home. I know I ranted about Christmas coming too early in the retail world, and so I have to admit that not only am I posting this Halloween-y photo a month late, but it was only taken two weeks ago. Maybe I need a calendar, too.


April 15, 2010

. . . A Very Good Place to Start

John and I have been geographically blessed in our relationship. We grew up in pretty much the same town, and our parents still live there and likely will for many years to come. We both went to school in Boston. We both studied abroad in Germany (though at different times; this is more of a fun fact). And after school, we both got jobs in New York City. For about six months we were working directly across the street from one another . . . in Manhattan. Now we live in the same place, too, but I suppose that bit was to be expected.

What I believe really got us to where we are is not the geography that kept us together, but a couple of things I learned in the time when we were physically apart. We never put a hold on our relationship (minus the three-day “break” at the beginning of college that I suggested and then quickly nixed. If you know anything about my near obsession with Friends, you know it’s insane that I ever thought that was a good idea). Any time we spent apart was because there was something one of us needed to do. We’ve each readily supported the other when those times came, as hard as the few days leading up to the separation always were/are.

When I was a junior in college, I traveled a lot. After a semester in Boston, I traveled to Belize for two weeks as part of an international immersion/service/mission program, before spending a semester abroad in Berlin, during which time I also traveled to Ireland, England, and France. It was a wonderful year, and I have the scrapbooks to prove it!

The program in Belize was inspired by Pedro Arrupe, S.J., and it was intended to give students a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures, to serve others, and ultimately, to explore our own faith. It was hands-down one of the best things I did in college.

The philosophy of the program was centered on these words from Pedro Arrupe:

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

While we were in Belize, we spent some time with alumni who were in a program to serve internationally for a period of two years. I really enjoy volunteering, and I expected to come back from this trip certain that I would spend some time abroad after graduation. I was there to fall in love with the people I was meeting, the places I was seeing, the experiences I was having. And to some extent, I did.

But the real fruit of this trip, and it took a few months to figure this out, was that what I am in love with is my home—being with my family and my friends, being in familiar places, and being with John in particular.

A few months after I came home from Belize, I traveled to Berlin to study for a semester. In many ways, my lifestyle there was not dramatically different from that in the U.S., so it was not at all like what I’d experienced in Belize. The struggle in Berlin was that I had a couple of really lonely days. I didn’t make too many friends, and a lot of time was spent on my own, which I learned is only really fun when you want to be alone, not when you have to be alone. Through that experience more than anything else in my life thus far, I learned that being grateful for the good and the bad every day and in every situation is one of the golden tickets to true happiness.

By the time I was back home from all my gallivanting, the travel bug was out of my system. I knew more certainly who I was, what I wanted, and where I was needed.

And the really amazing thing was that I realized I had known it all along.

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