passports for little explorers
On our car ride this morning, Ava noticed how the sun was now awake and while swiveling her arm in circles, explained how it "moves round and round like that." I smiled. She was sort of right. The idea that she thought about the sun and how it changes amazed me. So for the next few minutes, Aaron and I talked about the earth - orbiting the sun... and found ourselves becoming more and more excited. Until we arrived at the post office.
I didn't realize applying for passports was like me saying I wanted to be a stunt-double. For free. Because basically - that's what it took from Aaron and I to accomplish this task. Even if we called ahead 3 times to make sure we had everything - they still managed to send us on a wild goose chase across town only to come back to their offices and wait in line again.
When it was finally our turn (the first time), "Thomas" made the long wait seem like seconds. He was over burdened with the duty of answering the phones for the entire post office - and when the caller didn't reach the employee he wanted, he asked Thomas to go get her. He did. And so here we are, the 4 of us, squirming in and out of our chairs, fighting over cherrios, and holding our noses thanks to a dirty diaper and a no public restroom policy.
When it came time to take their photos though, both kids smiled - big. All of our attentions were now focused on them - and they were angels. As soon as we turned our backs and answered questions, I could see out of the corner of my eye Noah bolting for the door and slapping the glass with his right palm - signaling to the applicants for assistance with his escape. Ava was at eye-level to Thomas' desk - so she grinded her teeth against the wood and made two attempts to steal his shiny stapler.
I could see all of this happening and wondered why Thomas couldn't end our misery and work a bit faster. Shoot. Another phone call. I was about to ditch the mission and go get sno cones when Thomas told us Aaron's application was incomplete - he needed a birth certificate as well. Fabulous. Another hour and a half later - we were all at home, relieved to check this off our list.
Over lunch, I wondered what kind of globe trekkers our kids will turn out to be. Will they be those kids who get homesick for their own rooms and routines or will they live in the moment of each day and enjoy the people and places they are surrounded with. Our first family trip to the beach for one week proved the later. But I still wonder how forgiving they would be to the hustle and bustle of transportation - catching planes and rails... the sounds... the smells... the crowds of people pushing to get the window seat first.... oh joy.
And maybe that's just it. Having traveled so much as a student myself - I have gained such an appreciation for my life here and the common simple things - like hot water - whenever I want it. That wasn't the case on one 10-day backpacking trip I made from Italy all the way to Denmark. In December.
It was an unforgettable experience - along with the countless others I've made backpacking across Europe and meeting natives who turned our predicaments into stories I look forward to telling my children... and grandchildren.....
Globes and maps are one thing - but having gelatos while sitting at Navona Square (in Roma) and admiring the same architecture millions have admired before us thousands of years ago.... Or praying on the same ground where men and women first spoke the truth about God ... is another. Experiencing the world around us, be it 1 mile or 100, is a gift we get to open the moment we step outside. Ava and Noah.... The world awaits you.