As a child, I watched my three older sisters leave New Zealand for Europe. One by one they left, in tears, always the tears – and I waited for years for them to come home. In my early 20s, when everyone went off on their ‘OE’ (overseas experience) I didn’t. It was too big.
Twenty years later, in my early 40s, I feel the pull. With New Zealand so far away, it takes a strong pull to leave. Then my son’s class at school plans a trip to Europe. Now I really want to go. I’m ready. Why should he get to see Europe before me? I’ll go with the school as parent help.
I get home one afternoon to a letter advising who the parent helpers will be. I stand in the hallway, keys still in my hand, and read that I have not been chosen. I feel myself sinking hard. This was my chance and now it’s gone. But in that second I make a decision not to go to pieces. I wave the letter above my head saying, I’m handing this over, sort it out. I put the letter away and don’t let myself think about it.
A couple of weeks later my partner hands me another envelope. It’s a $10,000 travel grant awarded by his company – completely unexpectedly – for us to use however we like.
So I got to go to Europe. A special trip with my partner, meeting up with our son in London.
The next few posts are a few of the odd experiences I had in different cities.