This week's prompt for the Gallery is that of holiday. It's a tricky one because it's not easy deciding which holiday story to share. There are lots of memorable holidays, our camping trip to Italy (I'm not one for camping but it was fun anyway), our amazing trip to Cuba, my bachelorette trips with lovely friends to Iceland, Mexico and the Pacific Northwest/BC. Then there was a honeymoon ever so slightly blighted by feeling rather pregnancy sick. And staying on that theme, the holiday I've decided to share today, which is our first proper family holiday, destination Lanzarote.
It's rather unusual because we didn't as such choose the location. Neither was it a place I would choose for myself. Sometimes, you need to go with the flow and that's what we did and how we got to Lanzarote. When I set my sails for countries north west, my parents were never particularly supportive. They were honest really, not having any connections to cold, windy places where English is spoken, and just never pretended they liked my infatuation with Ireland, England and finally Scotland. Of course they never stood in the way of me finding my path, but that doesn't mean they had to approve of all my adventures. So, they did not approve of my year as au-pair in Spain and Ireland. They did not approve of my choice of university study. They did not approve of my terms and years spent in Ireland and England. They did not approve of my post degree year in Ireland and subsequent job in Scotland. They did of course see the pattern - and as their only child it must have been very hard to see me slipping away to a different country ever more permanently. It's not been easy for me either, with no visit ever from my parents, one from my mum, and after her passing away (and I count myself lucky, if you can use that term in a situation like this, for her illness happening at a time where I could just take a break and be in Germany for a couple of months to be with her) only a few visits from my father, each one taking all the coercion I'm capable of.
My father does not like Scotland. Nothing personal, it's just too cold. People don't speak German. He doesn't speak English. He feels excluded, out of place, not right. He likes Spain, the sun, the heat, the sea. So while it takes me months of guilt tripping to get him to visit us for 4 short days, he happily spends 3 months a year in Lanzarote. I could be angry but I'm not, because those trips are recent and have given him something truly positive in his life. It is good that he has something he enjoys, that he has his own life, and I don't want to grudge him that.
Yet, I also want to see him, spend as much time with him as I can, and above all, I want Cubling and him to have a good relationship, want him to share in her growing up. As a result, we travel to Germany a lot, but it's not an ideal situation if the three of us (soon four) come down on his flat. So it's often just me and Cubling and I doubt that I'll be able to cope with travelling on my own with two kids any time soon. Our arrangement also means that we don't really get the typical family holiday, because most holidays are spent in Germany. Again, this is not a massive problem as I'm not particularly partial to the heat or beach holidays, so I'm quite happy to go on the occasional long weekend close by.
Still, it's nice to do something different for a change and that's why we decided to join my father in Lanzarote for one week - which became two weeks thanks to the snow decending on the UK and cancelled flights.
I was pregnancy sick (again), so didn't really get to enjoy it as much as I could, and to be fair, I really get rather bored with the limited options you have on a summer beach holiday. Beach, pool, restaurants, awful shops, walking up and down the resort - done in one day, repeat for 14 and I go ever so slightly mad.
What to do to keep sane? Watch your child. And I did a lot of that, because I felt so rough and couldn't join in the beach fun. I watched her dig holes with daddy, make sand pictures, sand castles, chase the waves, run wild, explore the water, go under for the first time, splash us all, get messy, fear the shower, fear the sea and explore the world with her 2 year old eyes. And I knew that my attitude was selfish. Months later, she still talked about her favourite home, the one beside the pool. This world of beach, sun and summer, in the middle of winter, was her big world, to be explored at her fingertips: