Sunday, June 14, 2015

Such a world

I flew home from San Francisco last evening, and now I have to put the book project aside for a few weeks to dive into an assignment that came my way the day before I left for the Bay Area. It's Sunday, and I'm exhausted down to my bones for some reason, maybe nothing more that cross-country travel and a touch of jet lag, but there will be no rest for my weary today.

Last night at 2 a.m. New York time I got a series of texts from my daughter who is traveling with a few of the students from her program in Sorrentino, Italy. They said, "Mom, I miscalculated with this trip and ran into a lot of surprise costs and now I am sort of out of money." "Is it possible to wire some?" "I'll pay you back."

I texted her back, "Are you in trouble? How quickly do you need it? How much do you need? This minute or is later today okay?" She didn't respond for over an hour, during which time I lay awake in the dark making up all sorts of dire scenarios in that catastrophic brain of mine, because I knew if there were trouble, this casual tone might be how she would pitch it, not wanting to worry me. (Although I do hope she would just tell me if there was a problem. I'm always better when I know what I'm dealing with.) Anyway just as I was starting to swirl my imagination into a panicked frenzy, producing actual symptoms like a racing heart and a pulse thudding loudly at my temples, she texted, "I'm not in trouble!" "No trouble!" "Smiling and safe!" And she sent a picture to prove it. Does she know her mother or what?

My husband is the one with the link to her bank account, so I asked him in the dark if he could transfer some money to our girl in the morning. He stirred from sleep and mumbled that he'd been checking her account daily to make sure she still had funds but had stopped a few days ago because she'd been managing so well. Then he groggily reached for his phone and in less than a minute, he'd made the transfer. She got it immediately and texted us effusive thanks. Such a world we live in!

She told me that their group of six young women is staying at an Airbnb, and apparently the owner is being like an aunt to them, driving them around, making sure they don't get lost. She said Sorrento might be the most beautiful place she has been. How lucky they are, or rather how lucky I am to be able to rest easy in the knowledge that they are being looked out for. The truth is, the world is a far kinder place than the steady torrent of horrendous news stories would have us believe. Today they take a boat ride to Capri, or maybe given the time difference they've already gone and returned and are on their way back to Rome now so as to be there for class on Monday morning.

They have one more week and then they fly home. The month went at warp speed, as everything in my life seems to these days. Where did I read recently that mindfulness can slow down the speed at which time unfolds? To the wise one who wrote that, thank you for that needed reminder.


21 comments:

  1. Wow! One more week left? That went fast! Probably not fast enough for Mom!

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    1. Drita, once I knew she was fine and having fun, I didn't worry. I love when they're out there in the world having adventures, just so long as I know they're ok!

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  2. Yes, the world is such a more wonderful place. Glad she's had such a great time, learning and growing all the way.

    Such a different world from when I was about her age and roaming the globe! How did I even have money in 1989? I don't remember ... did I carry cash? There were no ATMs. What would I have done if I ran out of money?

    The world was wonderful then but I like it even better now. Texting and bank transfers! Unheard of when we were young!

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    1. NOLA darling, she used her own money for most of this trip, too, money she made and carefully saved from her jobs during the semester. I was happy she reached out to us and that we could make everything ok! She didnt even ask for very much and insists she'll pay us back. She's a good egg.

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    2. Ah yes, no I mean having the actual cash. It was all my own money I had when I traveled, that I had made - much as your daughter - but just the notion of how did I actually have it there? Carrying cash makes me nervous and we didn't have ATMs then and wire transfers are so expensive. Did I carry travelers checks? I must have. I just can't remember. If I had run out of money what would i have done? I guess called and had money Western Unioned to me - did we have that then? Such a lifetime ago ...

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  3. Yep. We are the same. If one of my kids texts me about something that is the least bit worrisome and I answer and ask questions and they don't text back IMMEDIATELY! I go insane. And if I call them and they DON'T ANSWER and they don't text, I start creating scenarios like....
    Well. I know you know.
    But this IS a kind world and things mostly go well.
    Some of us have way too much imagination for comfort. And when I say "some of us," I mean almost every mother ever to live on this planet.

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    1. Dear Ms. Moon, you absolutely know. But it's true, things mostly go well, and our children are resourceful, too! Hugs, friend.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, Maggie May. Love back to you!

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  5. I am struck by how differently we traveled when we were their age -- how easily we can communicate now and help them. Yet worry stays the same!

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    1. Elizabeth, what did we ever do without cell phones and online banking? I suppose our preparations and expectations were very different!

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  6. You're such a great mom, and you're making amazing experiences possible for those kids!

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    1. Aw Steve, thank you for that. I try not to let my propensity to worry get in their way too much. I mean, I make a conscious effort! lol

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  7. There was a time, a good few years ago now, when our daughter was supposedly at a university exchange in Bangkok (and in all fairness, she did study there and got excellent grades) she did a LOT of travelling as well. She did not realise at the time but we followed her around SE Asia and Australia (which was not what we had agreed . . ) on our credit card statements. I was worried and mad at the time, very and often, but in hindsight, it was all worth it. Remember this: She needs to see that the world is our homeland and what better way than this? Knowing that her parents are there to guide her and let her fly. She is your daughter, maybe she'll make the odd miscalculation, but mostly, she is bright and curious and probably also generous. Isn't that wonderful?

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    1. Dear Sabine, what a wonderful observation, the need to understand the world as her homeland. Yes! I love that! And I love that your daughter took on the world like that, even though of course we can't help worrying. Still, I am sure it is part of what has led to her being the amazing woman she is now.

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  8. Oh my, how they can worry us! SO glad it all worked out nicely! Whew!

    Thank you!
    BJ

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  9. Of course those texts would have to come through in the middle of the night, your time! When everything can seem so much worse than it is. I just can't get over the beauty of your girl, and the kindness and goodness she radiates.

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    1. Vesuvius, she is kind and good, it is true. And she's funny as all get out, with a very absurd and quick sense of humor. She's quirky, no way around it. Thanks for seeing her.

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  10. My daughter did a semester in Brussels last year and - left her wallet in a taxi. Not her phone or her passport thank goodness, but her money and debit card. No access to cash at all. Sigh. But yes, she also had a fabulous time and when she reached Rome, the only photos she sent were of glasses of chilled white wine. LOL

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    1. Expat mom, how did she manage with no cash! And lol on the photos! My kind of girl!

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