"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, October 26, 2012

factual friday

Vacation re-entry.

It looks kind of like this.

And this.

We'd spent hours upon hours on the night flight to Germany, loving every minute of each other. The trip home around the world with the sun creating a 21 hour, bright, non-stop day ... not so much.  And the side effects? Whew!

Acclimating, I haven't had a minute to post about our trip. It's coming, though, because we had a wing dinger of a time.

But first and foremost ... a little bravado confession for factual friday.

I had friends tell me I was crazy to attempt navigating a foreign country with a baby when I'd never, ever left the U.S.

How could I get lost? It's in my DNA. I come from traveling stock! I've never confused my bearings a day in my life. Yeah, I've gotten off beaten trails but never lost, lost .. the kind of lost where you really don't know where you are at all.

This wouldn't be any different, says I.

With navigation systems in every car, a husband who laid out a route, a glance at a map for re-assurance, it should be glitchless.

Charlotte and I hopped off after a good night's sleep on an under crowded airplane, into a land where Mercedes, BMW and Audi rule the road like our American made Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

We kindly asked the Avis agent to program in our address destination, set the nav to English and point us in the right direction.

She did her job aptly and with a butterfly thrill in my stomach, I eased us out of the airport giving special attention to the foreign aspects of the rental car.

And we were on our way.

No matter that the navigation map didn't seem so cut and dried.

No matter that the navigation voice didn't speak to me, telling me which way to go.

No matter that, just as we might have "Cedar Court, and Cedar Circle, and Cedar Lane, and Cedar Hills ... " the Germans like to name everything the same, too. Only in German.

And once I hit that Autobahn, the cars were moving .. and I mean moving fast.

And I had no choice but to join them.

Or die.

But ... my senses did tell me I was heading north and not south as planned.

Which is when the voice in my head started telling me that I didn't know the laws of the road. That I didn't know how fast a car metered in kilometers was really going. That I didn't know if I even got off an exit, whether it would be in a "good" or a "not so good" area. That I couldn't even understand the word exit.


I had to turn around ... so I exited.

Finding myself headed in another direction on another fast paced highway.

My pulse started to race and I frantically looked for facilities off the road where I could pull off and reassess. But those Germans? They don't waste their time with strip shopping malls or convenient marts, much.

This is when that darn voice in my head started screaming, "Just stop the crazy train. Just stop the crazy train." because I suddenly felt like a girl spun too much, waiting to strike a pinata.

So ... naturally ... I took another exit.

And tried not to hyperventilate.

When I saw it ... over the trees ... a little piece of calm in the midst of my turmoil.

And with only a horn blare or two from native drivers who disagreed with my foreign techniques, I whipped into that parking lot, focused on familiarity and calmed my 200 kilometer per hour, autobahn induced heart rate.

And after a few stunned minutes of silence told myself that if I could navigate a store so large and aptly emerge with curtains under my arm in less than 20 minutes .... why, ...  I. Could. Do. This.

Safe in my parking space, I fiddled with the nav, reprogrammed my directions, made a mental assessment of my newly acquired road rules, breathed deeply and told myself that No, I did not need a plate of Swedish meatballs to make me feel better.

Pointing my nose southward, never had I been so glad to hear that soothing voice inform me to take the first left at the roundabout in 5 kilometers.

And never did I know that I could love a big-box store more than I already did.

And that's a fact.


  1. Awesome!!! The fact that you were a snapping away with your camera while in a state of sheer panic on the roadway. Ha ha ha. You are braver than I. I have a self admitted lack of direction. No compass, no map in my head.... nadda. Glad you made it home safely!

    1. Ha! I did take the Ikea ones in the moment, the others as newel was driving us back to the airport. A little truth revealed :)

  2. I had an anxiety attack just reading this. I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

  3. Whew! Almost had my own panic attack! So glad you found your way! I hate being in a place I don't know! You ROCK!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it was disconcerting to reach a full realization that I wasn't in Kansas any more :)