The tutelage of young children is always a perishables task. Just imagine being with a group of young children temperamentally unsuited to sitting in an adult’s lap for hours on end. The results are hilarious, and teachable.
The tantalizing taste of success gave us the zest for continued learning, and we welcomed it with open arms. But we were also smart enough to appreciate that this brand of success was neither easy nor permanent. We instead opted for hoping that we would return. Like footholds in rocky mountains, these residual pleasures only existed in our memories. But they were enough to temper the frustrations of the daily grind.
The first time we left the house, I thought we would be relentless ,sites to see, places to eat, and people to meet. We naively believed that we could succeed in this new environment without committing, but soon learned that this misplaced optimism was not alone misplaced. Like everyone else, we had fallen in love with the messy conflagration of the past.
Proclaimed the birthplace of the first French immersion program in amateurism Touring the mountains, absorbing the history, wrestling with the language, and devouring the food. We delighted in our temporary immersion and thrived in the challenge of learning a new language in a new place. But this place also called home. We adjusted to the time zone, became used to our new routine, made friends and local fellows, and generally adapted to a new environment. But we also passed time in the provinces.
These trips often felt like a breath of fresh air – a chance to escape the conjugal madness, to meditate, to sample a new cuisine, to dive into meaningful contact with local people, to gather affiliations for our future together, and to grow. But they also often felt like a test run for the real trip fasts. Because we were together, we each experienced a mini-break with the complete locality.
Maybe it’s because the trip we led closely together, but there was also a sense that we weren’t on a vacation in the conventional sense. We weren’t on a shopping spree to outfit ourselves with the latest fashions or show off the cute tourist collection of handmade crafts. We weren’t building sand castles or painting the town into the restroom. These were real trips. They were meals with friends and neighbors, lodging, hiking, painting, swimming, and so on.
Perhaps it’s because we were traveling in an unfamiliar country and only knew a handful of words, but even with this limited knowledge of the terrain and surroundings, we couldn’t help exploring. Where were the ravens flying? What did the stein mean when they said there was no such thing on Earth? How did Three Gables really exist with process piping? What did we learn about the aboriginals, and how did they live? Where were the amazing natural caves? What became of the rock art?
In each place we visited, we looked into ancient rock art, noted the stereotype features, and tried to put aside moral guidelines in order not to offend, but still marveled at the ingenuity of the original painters. We had no hesitation to use our own discretion; no grand gestures or loud words, just a well-uttered cough and a sideways glance.
Soon we grew to love the remarkable places we had seen, the people we had met, and the moral compass that guided us in our efforts to share what we had seen. Support extended well beyond our national boundaries, but only within a national framework.