Expat Summer 2010
At first we were able to laugh it off. It was all funny enough. We arrived in Washington DC at my oldest friends home after 5 days in China and 13 hours of flying. Within a day of being there, while cooking a pre-dawn batch of French toast (what else do you do when fighting jet lag?), we managed to set off the home smoke detector waking all adults (but not the children), summoning the volunteer fire department, and rousing a close friend with a security check phone call. That could all be chuckled away thanks to good spirits and strong friendship.
At our next stop in Boston, we were greeted with a warm welcome. My college roommate and I have boys close in age. The boys began their now annual summer craziness with ball kicking, game playing, lots of talking and more running. Within an hour of our arrival, my host’s son fractured his shoulder. They dashed to the emergency room while I attempted to combat my lingering jetjag in order to babysit the kids. I lost the battle when I passed out before the 10 year old. Never heard the phone call from my friend to check in.
Next stop, Rhode Island. We pulled in to an old, dear college friend’s new home just for one night. She is also an expat living with her family in Shanghai. They just bought a wonderful summer home near the ocean in RI and spitting distance from Watch Hill, RI – my favorite vacation destination as a kid. I was thrilled to spend a night with them and felt grateful to see them for one night. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly despite my friend first telling me how when, as an expat, she used to travel from home to home, it was hard to have her hosts’ rushing them off in order for them to maintain their busy summer camp schedules. She was barely able to finish the sentence as she jumped up to deliver one kid to camp. This helped me relate. She also managed to leave me wondering when she told me how she wasn’t sure she was fitting in around this summer beach scene as she preferred to wear a bikini to the beach despite a growing population of 40+ mom’s wearing TANK-inis. As a quick afterthought, she did manage to compliment me on MY tankini worn to the beach earlier that day!
On to Connecticut, I’m relieved to say, my visit with my family was wonderful. They continue to welcome us into their home with a minimum of fuss and I don’t feel like we disturb their home routine too much. I did have a lingering Singapore task to accomplish while at their home. I am the “Quatermaster” for the Singapore Cub Scouts of America. This means I have to order merchandise for our cub scouts in Singapore from a website. I could not place this order until I reached Connecticut because that was were I was receiving some pre-arranged gift certificates. I’ll follow up with more on the results of this order once I get to PA. But, I will say, part of the order was for 160 books, the Scouts and I had arranged to have them shipped to a government APO box in order to save on shipping – this was an address the shipping site was not well prepared to accept. But the important point here, is when we left and no one was hurt or injured or offended.
Reluctantly, we hugged my dad goodbye and headed onto Pennsylvania to visit my mom. We got off to a great start: we were thrilled to discover that my mom had done a stellar job preparing our quarters. She understands that Ben has severe dust mite allergies and she really went the extra mile to clean the old trailer we stay in so that Ben could breathe easily. We were grateful. We managed to get thru two pleasant days before my mom suffered a detached retina and had to have immediate surgery leaving her basically couch bound. The only good news is that her incapacity leaves me plenty of time to deal with the missed shipping of my Cub Scout package. The books had been erroneously shipped to Austin, Texas. To solve this problem, a series of phone calls need to be made. My challenge is that I am in RURAL Pennsylvania with limited communication. These $1300 worth of Cub Scout books are sitting in some Austin post office. I have been forced to call upon Dave to help me suss these books out and get them forwarded in the right direction. Believe it or not, it is easier to make phone calls to Austin from Singapore than it is from this corn field in PA. And, of course, I am now certain my mother’s eye issues are a direct result of the Curse of Team Mak 2010. Fortunately, she does not have Internet access and will never read these thoughts and blame me.
We’re off to Denver on Tuesday. It’s Friday. Count with me….three full days. Everyone here should continue to hold onto their hats. And, Makarechian Clan in Denver should make sure their health insurance is intact. Here we come.
It’s not quite so funny now.