We’ve Fled America. You Come, Too.

Greg and I have fled America which seems Very Logical at the moment and perhaps something we all ought to consider what with Rabid Isolationism, Fear of the Other, and OCD-Level Pontius Pilate Handwashing out of control in the U.S. right now. Not only will we Let No One In, we’re also set on Kicking the Vulnerable Out, but only after ensuring we’ve Absolved Ourselves of All Responsibility. ‘MURICA! We’re great again now, right?

Unfortunately, due to an overfondness for Harry Potter, Jamie Fraser, and chocolate digestive biscuits, we’ve fled to the United Kingdom, which is preparing to implement Brexit, so I’m not exactly sure we’ve traded up on the segregationist front. On the bright side, at least we’re in Scotland where there’s a whiskey distillery at literally every highway exit so we feel more prepared in case of Utter Apocalypse. I mean, there are worse things than being stuck in a country that knows how to make food from animal innards, fries everything in beer batter, and has hard liquor releases planned for the next 10-25 years. Yes? Yes. Scots for the win.

We’re here on holiday with our two youngest for their Ten-Year-Old Trip, a coming-of-age tradition started by my grandmother for her grandkids and carried on by us.

When our eldest was 10, we took her to Vietnam, the country of her birth, so she could see with a child’s eyes how beautiful and special the country is, how warm and kind its people.

We did the same for our second daughter when she was 10, to Guatemala.

We didn’t for our eldest son, who abhors travel with every fiber of his being and who begged not to be made to suffer with torture devices like airplanes and hotels. Instead, we waited until he was 15 (and until I was done thinking he’d surely change his mind and his whole personality and suddenly be capable of traveling to Guatemala, as well) and bought that kid an XBox so he could finally, violently slaughter outer-space aliens in Halo — as cross-cultural an experience as he wants, and certainly in keeping with American Values. His eyes still sparkle when he talks about it — how HE got an XBox which lasts YEARS while his poor, stupid siblings had to endure TRAVEL which lasts mere WEEKS. Then he giggles with glee at his superior choices. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Now that our youngest are 10, we’re visiting parts of our ancestral homes, in Scotland and England, a trip for which we’ve been preparing for months, and we’re having every Formative, Educational Experience you might expect.

We’ve learned not to jostle the seat of the Rather Cranky Lady in the seat ahead of us on the plane, which is truly a Life Skill.

We’ve learned to be Very Quiet in the car while Mommy figures out how to drive on the left without crashing.

We’ve only yelled at each other a few dozen times, and Greg and I only made one of the children cry twice, so we’re clearly mastering Patience, Kindness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

We’re learning about other languages and cultures; our children, for example, have renamed all the sheep of Scotland “Pre-Haggis,” except when it’s raining, and then they’re temporarily called Soggy Haggis, because obviously.

We’ve done the Very Best Thing in All of the United Kingdom by riding the Hogwarts Express. And, to date, although we’ve been on Loch Ness, to Culloden Battlefield, to famous castles and forts, hiking in the Highlands, and to the Scottish Museum, we’ve also discovered the Second Best Thing About International Travel which is getting pillows and blankets on the plane. “PILLOWS, Mom! This flight is SO FANCY! They hand out PILLOWS and BLANKETS to every single person, and we don’t even have to pay to rent them!” Not to brag, but this is how to parent, friends. Set the expectations and standards bar so incredibly low that the ability to borrow a rigid, synthetic pillow product is EXCITING.

In short (too late), I’ll be coming to you from Scotland and England over the next couple weeks, and you should consider fleeing here, too. Unless you’re already here, in which case, BRAVO.

Thinking of you (but mostly of Jamie Fraser because I’m in Scotland and so JAMIE FRASER),

 

 

 

P.S. We pose for Happy Family photos like this:

But really, we mostly look strung out and exhausted, listening to audio books in pubs because Mom and Dad refuse to let us sleep, like this:

#Reality

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
24 comments
  1. I am laughing so hard at that second picture.

  2. What an awesome trip! We just came back from a NYC/D.C. Museum tour. We felt a bit like zombies ourselves by the end. Good practice for Europe in a few years, ha.

  3. […] one kid is having a (series of) meltdown(s), two kids are recovering from feeling barfy, and, while we had a lovely time on our trip, we’re also glad to be home again. Truly glad. This is us, and I like us, even with poop-water on […]

  4. How did I not see this before?! I live in York – hope you’ve enjoyed it! Although I suspect I would have been too starstruck to actually talk to you even if I did see you around 😉

  5. What a wonderful idea! –10 year old trip. You know what the best part of this entry was for me?? That you said you’ve yelled. That’s right. I yelled at my kids today. And I don’t even have the excuse of being on an overseas trip or driving on the left side of the road. In my small defense, feces were involved. But thank you for being so honest. It makes me feel less alone as a mom.

  6. Hope you are having lots of fun. I love being in Scotland

  7. Jamie! Claire! Please tell me you read the books and have not just relied on the tv version!! The Mickey Mouse story makes me cry every time I get to that part of that particular book. ❤️

  8. I hope you are wrapped up well. You are getting an unusually chilly September this year. Have a great time.

  9. My husband is from Glasgow where I met him 13+ years ago… we have been trying to go back for years…. but they won’t give my ‘Murican arse a spousal visa so I can live there… I’m so jealous even of your short stay as I miss it so much.

  10. Wait! I FINALLY got you back on my news feed! I lost you for way long and that was just sad. Made my day to see you here today. Well, not here. You are there. But having you there is the best!

  11. Hi-my two cents here-you want James, no the actor , Sam . Ok, spoiler alert and this may seem harsh. The gossip is that the actor is gay, but because of how catholic Scotland is he is also very private and closeted. Sorry sorry sorry sorr

    1. And sorry for the typos…

  12. If you find James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, please package him up and send him to me…..or at least get a selfie with him so I can be even more jealous than I already am because…..SCOTLAND!

    1. I will absolutely bash him over his very hard head and stuff him in a box so we can take him out and play with him later. 😉

  13. oh yes…. i wish i could flee. but more of a long term arangement!! enjoy scotland and may you find jamie fraser… (he should be in glasgow area this weekend for a huge MPC event in case you wanted to look 🙂

    1. My problem is I only want to find Actual Jamie Fraser and not Sam Heughan. I mean, Sam is a LOVELY, lovely man, but I’m afraid my heart lies with Real Jamie… who Greg insists on calling Pretend Jamie, but that’s only because Greg ruins pretty things.

  14. Confession time. Did you take that Hogwarts “curve” picture? We had people hanging all over us trying to take that picture and very few succeeded (only the lucky ones in exactly the right place).

    1. I did! But it’s not at “the” viaduct. At Glenfinnan everyone was indeed hanging out windows. We weren’t anywhere close to a good photo there. This one is further north on the tracks and no one was hanging out the window or up out of their seats so I was able to point the camera out of the window at the end of the car and snap it. Pure luck.

  15. What a lovely trip!! Pillows and all… lol Enjoy the memory-making! <3

  16. Can’t wait to see pictures! I am longing to go to England and Scotland!

  17. Ah! I can’t believe you’re so close in real life (actually not close at all, I live in the Midlands in England, but so much closer than ‘Murica) If any part of your trip brings you down this way, I can provide genuine English tea and cake, crappy weather and delight at someone I internet stalk being vaguely nearish to me in real life.
    Have a great time!

    1. Let me know where you are, Hannah. We’ll be in York for a few days, then headed south driving through Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester, etc. on our way to Bletchley Park. 😀

      1. Does Bletchley Park have anything to do with the Bletchly Circle? (Do we all live vicariously through our video entertainment?)

  18. Love, love love! Wish I could flee too! My bestie and I have dreams of running away to Italy once our children are older so we can have a sisterchick adventure. I’m sure her reasons are superior, but mine mostly revolve around pizza, wine, cafe o’lea, and gelato. Have a blast! And if you see Cameron Castle while in Scotland, please, please PLEASE take a pic! (My ancestral castle, which I am sure I will never get to see.)

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