Sunday, July 17, 2011

Things we are looking forward to

There are of course, the generic things we are all looking forward to. Travel is fun but it is also isolating and we really miss our friends, family and perhaps most of all, Sparky. This is expected and a constant part of our lives. As we get closer to coming home, however, there are things we are looking forward to that were not as obvious.

For me, I am looking forward to visiting a grocery store and knowing what the food is by the picture and words on the label. It is amazing how many pictures of food are completely unrecognizable here, not to mention the language. Many labels are written in multiple languages: Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Czech. It actually isn’t all that helpful. I am also looking forward to knowing where in the store the different foods are located. We don’t just pops into the grocery store here. It is a full out effort to locate foods that look right, then identify the most likely items for consumption.

Another thing I can’t wait to do is cook with my own stove/oven and cooking utensils. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to flip food with a spoon, scrape skins off vegetables with a knife or chop cheese really fine to imitate a grater. Aren’t these utensils pretty obvious in the kitchen? Not in Europe. A lot of people use gas stoves here which took some getting used to as well. I’ve burned a lot of food on stoves that heat up slowly and continuously, never actually adjusting to an average temperature.

And then there’s washing clothes. Man, it will be wonderful to use a washing machine with instructions in English. We’ve met all manner of washing machines over here and one can never be too sure about where the soap goes. More often than not our clothes come through the wash with the same dirt on them. The soap seems to be gone but who knows to where? And I haven’t used a dryer in almost a year. We always hang our clothes to dry; always.

For Rhys and Julia the things they are looking forward to seem to centre more around food: Wendy’s fast food, rootbeer, apple pie, waffles with blueberries for breakfast, and Aunt Jemima syrup, for example. They also miss places and events like: Christmas at Grandma’s (either or both), Fort Langley, the movie theatre, the ice rink and swimming pool, and of course, the cabin, tubing, and Lick’s ‘N Splits.

They also are looking forward to some of the environmental surroundings we take for granted in Canada. For example:
not inhaling cigarette smoke everywhere you go. It’s really horrible when you are trapped in a small enclosed space with the smoker.
understanding the language spoken on the street. It is exhausting to have to translate, mime and otherwise work to make yourself understood so often. Spoken English becomes like music to your ears. Sometimes when I hear it, I don’t even realize it’s English until I realize the soothing effect it has on my brain. It is so effortless.
only fifteen stairs from bottom to top. Did we mention all of Europe is on a hill? We climb 200-400 stairs a day in some cities and that is not including the strangely steep roads.
the hot and cold taps being in a consistent location (left is hot, right is not). Sometimes, the hot is labeled incorrectly and sometimes it is simply placed on the other side. Who does this and is it done specifically for tourist accommodations?

For Tom, not having to hold down a button to shower, not living out of a bag, skating, Canadian dollars, being able to build stuff instead of just thinking about it are the big draws at home. He’s carried a little notebook for many months now, sketching and writing about the ideas he wants to take home. The house will be undergoing some sort of transfiguration in the next few years, becoming more and more medieval, I’m sure.

2 comments: said...

And we will ALL be very glad to have you HOME! Love Mom said...

Yikes...Steve said that he has left you several messages that have not come up...well now with two weeks left...not a big thing. But the house renters may need to have the mafia after them...Do you want my connections? Love Mutha