“Tomorrow, after dodo, after bath, after poo-poo in toilet… MORE BEACH!”
I look at Feng, I look at the three of us, sandy and sweaty, and then I look around as the sun sets on the beach. “Hippie family on Copacabana” could be the title of the picture I took mentally.
“Mark… we take a plane tomorrow.”
“YAY! Take the plane and MORE BEACH!”
“Ahem… no. No beach. We are flying back to Canada.”
“Yeah. Canada. You know… you get to…”
Must not cause psychological damage to my child. I try to sound cheery.
“…you get to play with your toys! Remember your truck? And you get to see your friends at school!”
Damn. Scratch that.
“Yeah… oh, and you get to see yéye and năinai! I’m sure they are looking forward to see you!” –and criticize our parenting skills, I add mentally. They will probably find Mark too tan, too wild, too something.
“NO YEYE NAINAI! I go school!”
Glad to see Mark appreciates my in-laws.
“But… why Canada?”
“Because that’s where we live?”
Oh, kiddo… I don’t want to go home either. But that’s life.
I have two modes: on and off. Like one minute I sleep, the other one I’m up—I get ready quick and I don’t linger in bed. I’m pretty efficient in case of a true emergency and I rarely panic when shit happens but I can spend sleepless nights thinking about stuff that could happen. I just don’t like transitions, this greyish interval between… stuff. Either I do something, either I don’t. Transitions are just half-assed periods that bother me.
When I was a kid, we used to spend long afternoons at the city swimming pool. Every time, we would head to the diving boards at the end of the pool. The three-meter one was a piece of cake, not even scary. Then we would dare each other to jump from the ten-meter board. For me, there was only one way to do it: climb, run and jump. If I ever paused on my way up or look down at the blue water below, I’d freeze and start questioning my sanity.
Sometime, you just have to jump. Don’t think. Just do it.
Like the day before traveling where you are still trying to enjoy the place but mentally packing and making a list of all the chores that need to be done.
Don’t make that list. Don’t think.
I didn’t cry this time, mostly because I was done with Rio. I enjoyed the city but I am also very well aware of its pitfalls and I couldn’t picture myself overstaying.
Of course, now I’m starting to question my assessment. It’s 6 a.m. and I’m stuck in Toronto Airport, our flight was cancelled and we were bumped to the next flight or whatever excuse Air Canada gave us, I didn’t listen, as usual. I don’t think I ever had a smooth connection in Toronto. I expected the flight to be canceled. It always is.
It’s about zero degree and it’s dark outside.
Yeah, right now, Copacabana sounds like a much better deal. Even Rio’s flooded streets after the nightly downpour. Even Buenos Aires’ rats.
Coming home shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s a logical step—when you leave, you have to come back. No bad surprises are waiting for us, other than winter weather. I don’t have maxed out credit cards, I don’t have to show up at the office first thing in the morning. I worked on the road (a bit less than when I’m home, but still) and we managed the travel budget so that we wouldn’t have to eat broccoli for the next five months. Oh wait, I love broccoli.
If I was to make a pros and cons list of travel vs. home, it would be pretty balanced. Sure, when I travel I don’t have to do housekeeping but at home, I can have a living space that meets my cleanliness standards (no cockroaches included!). When traveling, we have Mark 24/7 without any outside help, at home we have the daycare. At home, I have friends. It feels lonely on the road sometime, although I enjoy lively cities with—gasp!—people in the street. Canada has conveniences that other countries don’t have, but I am not a big fan of North American food. The list goes on and on.
What I miss, what I will miss, is the freedom. I get bored of places. I get bored of Ottawa. I love arriving somewhere new and exploring, be surprised, annoyed, or in love with what I find. I love spending entire days outside, walking, seeing life around me.
This is not going to happen in late February in Canada.
“There’s a battle ahead
many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me
Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over”