“Do you ever write about it?” I asked Ish a couple months ago.
“What? Oh that? Nah,” he replied, shrugging. “But it WAS pretty cool...”
* * * * * *
My parents took me to Italy once. I was two, and my dad had to go for business, so my parents made it into this long, grand vacation. All I can remember is chasing pigeons around Venice, and being very excited by all the stairs. (Apparently, I’d just learned to climb them. To me, Venice was one big playground.)
I have never otherwise been outside of the country.
For a long time, I didn’t have much interest in traveling. When I was the age where many American kids start to get the travel bug (if they don’t have one already), I decidedly didn’t. “Backpacking around Europe” seemed like something young people did. I didn’t feel young. I felt like I wanted to get married and settle down and find some stability for once.
A few years later, when I realized “stable” wasn’t all I thought it would be, I uprooted myself completely. Traveling somewhere exotic/far/interesting seemed inevitable. Except once I moved to San Francisco, any time I had the money or vacation time enough to go anywhere, I could only go one place: back home. I’d moved 3,000 miles from my ailing mother and felt guilty about it. I couldn’t just go off and go on a vacation. I flew back east about six times that first year.
Then after my mom died (June of ’02), well. I would save up money and vacation time, and use it to go back home. First my sister got married in November. Then I had to return for Christmas (that’s non-negotiable). Then I had to spend two weeks the following summer to help my family move my father from an enormous farmhouse full of nearly 30 years of my family’s history to a much smaller home. (That was a gut-wrenching experience I’ll write about some other time.)
Finally, it seemed that I could maybe start saving money (and time) to visit the East Coast for Christmas, and maybe-just-maybe go somewhere else in the spring/summer.
But then my dad got sick.
His cancer wasn’t like my mom’s – it seemed entirely beatable, or at least possibly beatable – but he had cancer all the same. I wasn’t about to go off to Paris while I could be spending that time with my family.
* * * * * *
And so that’s how it’s been. Someday, with the right resources and timing, I will see the world. Or at least, more of it.
In the meantime, I remain absolutely awed and inspired by (and jealous of) people who have traveled. You know? To me, it's just always seemed so damned impossible. But then there are people like Ish.
I am astounded by Ish’s experiences in China. When I first met him, I was blown away by the fact that he could speak Chinese. CHINESE. I mean, I can barely piece together sentences in FRENCH, and that’s after having taken it for EIGHT YEARS*.
And when I learned that he'd not just visited China but actually lived and worked there, simply because he thought it would be interesting, I was floored.
Yep. Definitely someday.
*Je m'appelle Kristy. Le chat est sur la chaise. Je n'aime pas les maths. Ouvrez la fenetre!
* * * * * *
"I think it's unbelievably brave what you're doing. Telling your divorce story on your blog," he said.
"Oh yeah? Well I think it's incredibly brave that you up and MOVED TO CHINA. So there."
“Hmm. I guess I could blog about that sometime, huh?”
Yes. Yes, you could.