beer and tulips and beer

I may have some news.

I may be going on a trip. In October. To foreign countries. On another continent. In October.

I will not be accepting this will happen until I am walking down the jet way into an airplane destined for Amsterdam with my knapsack on my back (valdereeee, valderah, etc.).

For now, with work squared away (they are being very kind an allowing me to be gone for nearly a month in a job that is only 10 months of the year), childcare taken care of (best sister-in-law ever!), Hoosband supportive, and a knapsack given to me for my birthday last year, this is still only a possibility for me.

Allow me to explain.

My father works in the glass finishing and manufacturing industry. Cosmopolitan, I know, and it's a testament to my parents that I grew up so modest and nonchalant about such things. Every two years, a large conference is held in Dusseldorf, Germany for all the exciting, globe-trotting glass finishing and manufacturing professionals out there. I was especially aware of this from a young age, since it meant my dad missed every other birthday of mine growing up because he was being an exciting glass finishing professional, while I got to stay at home with my roommates (mother and brother, respectively) and celebrate most birthdays without him. I was a little pissed. Most of the time.

When I got older, my dad said I could come with if I wanted (perhaps to get me to stop complaining about my missed birthdays, since I could hardly complain when abroad). I did want to, but for reasons I don't understand I went on about school, and swimming, and then there was college, and then I had a job, and THEN I was actually going to go and then I got pregnant. That was my first conscious though as I looked at the positive pregnancy test: No Germany. I was angry for about the first 9 months of my pregnancy about that.

So, fast forward three years and my mom finally decides "maybe I want to go to Germany." She said it with about that much enthusiasm, too. She's not one for long distance travel, which boggles the mind since pretty much all I want to do at any given time is travel long distance. So, with my mom on board on the condition that I go so she has someone to do things with during the conference and the knowledge that I had over a year to save up, I thought I was all squared away to go.

And then life, like it always seems to do, got in the way. And I couldn't make the trip. Again.

But now, with all sorts of improbable things happening, it seems like I may be able to go.

However, it's not going to real for me until I am walking into the plane, finding my seat, and sitting down. Flying up to drop Birdy off near Portland? Nope. Taking the train to Seattle? Nope. Packing everything away in aforementioned knapsack? Nope. I'm pretty sure that when I do sit down and buckle my seat belt, that I'm going to start crying out of disbelief and gratitude toward everyone in my life.

My desire to travel is nearly corporeal; I catch glimpses of  it out of the corners of my eye, seeing it near my luggage or travel books. I feel it's presence when I drive past the airport, and can nearly taste it's tang if I see a friend's photos from abroad or walk by a gate and see passengers boarding flights destined for London, or Amsterdam, or Barcelona.  I want to go so badly I'm afraid of it. I don't think I can stand mourning (really, mourning) the loss of the trip again so everything in my mind is provisional. Months ago, I had given up on the trip and out of self-preservation got into armchair traveling. I decided I would read books and watch movies and see the world that way, instead of being able to physically visit. It worked for Anne, it would work for me.

I was getting pretty good at it too, until my mom wanted to talk about Europe again this summer and my wanderlust came back so quickly it was like getting the breath knocked out of me. But I could not allow myself to think about it as real, even we sat down and talked (with both of them wearing matching bright pink reading glasses and identical expressions on their faces, which was hilarious) about airfare, and hotels, and places we each would like to see.


I'm going on a theoretical trip halfway across the world to drink beer, see some flowers, visit some museums, and most importantly breathe air in a place I've never been before.

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