Thursday, June 28, 2012

Off the Grid

Here it is. My almost empty suitcase. Just some maps and guidebooks, and the swimsuit - which I didn't even use - that need to be put away.

Yes, I am back! At least my body is. My spirit still lags behind. Sorry folks, but despite all the lists and careful packing I managed to forget one thing. My usb cable to connect the camera to my husband's laptop to share photos while traveling somehow did not make it on the list. It enjoyed a nice break together with my sewing machine and computer.

At first I was very upset. It's kind of strange to be cut off from the internet world completely.
We had already decided to leave our phones home, and I was okay with that. But I love photos and having an artistic outlet through them. It felt strange not being able to share the many beautiful things I saw along the way. Yet it was really good to be free from it all and just live and enjoy the moment.

The trip was amazing. Barcelona - Frankfurt - Nieder-Olm - Weimar  - Berlin - Frankfurt - Barcelona where the stops. There was a little sightseeing. But this trip was mostly about visiting family and old friends - reconnecting.

It took us 23 hours to get back home to Colorado. From the cool German vinyards to the burning hell of wildfires all around us. The children were the best little travelers you can imagine. They showed great patience and resourcefulness during the many hours they had to "wait" while I was visiting with old friends and family members. Often people not quite their age or people who did not speak English.

I am sad to admit that my kids' German is not very good and my conscience is telling me that I have failed my children terribly in that respect. I have spent these last years grieving for my mother and my lost home. I must also face up to the truth that it wasn't just the lack of money that kept me away for so long. It was also the fear of facing my home without parents and the home I grew up in. Maybe, I thought, if I stayed away from it all the pain would lessen. Well, it did not. Grief is a strange thing.

Important people in our lives die. We must learn to continue and live our lives without them. I am sorry I missed out on so much. There is a huge gap. I was afraid the gap may have gotten too big to get across. I was happy to find that the love of family and friends can close a gap any size and we can make it across easily. If  you have such gaps in your life don't hesitate and try!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting Ready for the Big Trip

Oh dear, only a few days until we leave for Europe. Running the last few errands is always stressful. I really hope I did not forget anything. That's why it's good to make lists. You need lots of them.

Lists of the last errands you must do before you leave. For example: Taking in your sewing machine that is in bad need of a tune-up, cleaning, and oiling. Yay, even the sewing machine gets a vacation!

Lists of things to do for the house sitter.

And then last but not least, there is the packing list for your suitcase so you don't forget important stuff.

My daughter was totally enthralled by the whole list-making-thing this year. Since we just went on her 5th Grade field trip, she was excited about making a list herself. Using the list her teacher gave us for the field trip, she created a new packing list for the next trip entitled: Our 2012 Europe Vacation Packing List.

It's always good to check the weather forecast before you leave. Looks like it's kind of chilly and raining a lot in Germany right now. So we better add some warm clothes and the raincoat to that list. Oh dear, do we still have a raincoat that fits?

As we are creating lists for our trip, I remembered a great little German game we  used to play as kids. I think I'll post it on the Natural Kids Team blog, since there may be other parents out there looking for entertainment during the summer break. So please, go check it out! The game I am talking about is called "Kofferpacken" which means in translation "packing your suitcase."

It's a memory game of sorts. Have fun playing it! And please come back and share your packing lists with me!

Safe Travels to you and your loved ones! Auf Wiedersehen!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My First Dance Recital

I did it! I still can't believe it. I got up on that stage and joined my daughter this year at her annual dance recital. I can't tell you how scary this was. But this has been an awesome experience I can only recommend to any parent.

Before the first performance

My daughter has been dancing for 7 years. Year after year, I would go and watch her in her recital pieces and during the Nutcracker performances at Christmas. Then, last summer, a couple of other parents talked me into taking a HipHop class at the dance studio where my daughter dances.

I am so very grateful to my teacher and my fellow dance students at NCADA. It was an amazing experience.

Like I said in a previous post here on my blog: Never in my life have I taken a dance class.

I would highly recommend taking dance to anyone no matter what age. Why?

Here are the main two reasons. Taking a dance class was great because it was good excercize. I spend many hours of my day sitting behind a sewing machine or a computer screen. Doing a HipHop class made me to use a lot of muscles I forgot I had. As an extra bonus, I got to hang out with other moms who have daughters and sons enrolled in the same dance program. We had so much fun together as group. Sorry about the blurry picture. Another dancer with shaky hands took it...But I think you get the idea...

Adult HipHop

Secondly, I had the most wonderful bonding experience with my daughter. She was super supportive and helped me outside of class to improve my moves. It was a great learning experience getting to see the stage from "the other side". By turning from a mere "watcher" into "a dancer" I learned about what it really takes to be part of a performance. I experienced first hand how much hard work and sweat go into each recital dance. I also learned about the fears and anxieties. Wow, that stage sure looks big when you are standing on it...

Let me tell you folks, whether you are 6 or 66  it is not too late to starte dancing! It's good for the body and brain! I am not sure if any studies on the subject have been done, but I am convinced that dancing is great for the mind and body! So go out, and try something new! Find a dance studio in your area and sign up to dance!