When my children were entering their ‘double digit’ years, i had an opportunity to take them to Germany to visit a niece living there. Wanting them to learn to be citizens of the world, it was a good opportunity to take them overseas.
My ex-husband was not particularly interested in going, so it was just the three of us. With assistance from my niece, i did the planning and logistics. Flying into Frankfurt, i rented a car. And the adventure began… It was up to me to get us there, and back.
Doing my crash course in “German for Tourists” in the weeks before the trip, i was reasonably prepared for navigating in a foreign country. Didn’t hurt that i’d been there a few times before. It also didn’t hurt that in southwestern Germany, most people speak English. Together, we worked on a few important vocabulary words. Mostly, the kids would tail behind me like ducklings, eyes wide open, taking it all in.
The next year, they wanted to do it again, so we went to England. On that trip – without a significant language barrier – we did a lot more improvisation. Four days in London as we decided where to go next. A conversation with a taxi driver led us to a train station, and a few days exploring Devon and Cornwall.
Our spring holidays continued, with visits to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Arizona before they were out of high school and far too
cool old to travel with their mother. It was great fun to share some of my favorite places with my own spawn.
Arriving in Istanbul early Thursday morning, The Boy and i made it through the airport and found our driver at baggage claim. The Girl had arrived Wednesday, and was waiting at the hotel. After a short siesta, we headed out into the city.
Although she complains that after living in the country for six months, her Turkish should be better, The Girl is out front this time. Ordering meals, explaining the history of the Turks, navigating from a map in her iPod, translating ancient Ottoman hieroglyphics.
And teaching us important words and phrases…
“Three beers, please”
Tonight, at the Grand Bazaar, The Boy fell in love with an incredibly
goofy lovely hat. Taking advantage of closing time, and her newly acquired skills, she was able to haggle with the vendor. From his original offer of 110 Turkish Lire, she got him down to 70. And The Boy joyfully collected his wares.
Tomorrow? Another day out. Since it will be raining, she’s taking us to the Blue Mosque, and then off to see the art museums on the Asian side of the city.
i will continue to follow behind like a duckling. Practicing my new vocabulary. Eyes wide open. Taking it all in.