Tag Archives: semester abroad

Why the Pope Quit

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My son is studying abroad this semester in Spain.

Last weekend he went to visit a bunch of his HS and college friends in Rome.

The following day the Pope resigned. This hasn’t happened in almost 600 years…

Just saying.

 

 

 

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Letting Go, Global Version

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As a parent, every few years you are faced with another rite of passage, another adventure your child is about to embark on, another chance for you to show your chops as a parent. Although your heart is hanging on to the hem of their pants as they walk through that door, your head is ready to let them fly…

again.

The last time I wrote one of these my boy was off to college. Seems like yesterday, yet here we, are 3 and half years later and he is off for a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. I thought now would be a good time to give him one of my famous lists of advice. I do this every so often to remind him, or more likely myself, that I am not quite through imparting wisdom just yet. If I write it here instead of tell him all this to his face, I spare myself the humiliation of the sighing and eye-rolling. So here goes, in no particular order.

  1. Don’t be THAT American. This is similar to what I told my kids when they were first starting to experiment with drinking. Don’t be THAT girl/guy, the one that gets wasted and pukes on themselves. Don’t be THAT American simply means respect the local culture.
  2. Try to really SEE Europe, don’t just drink Europe. This is obvious to me and quite ridiculous to him. Hopefully somewhere in between will be his reality.
  3. Keep your eyes open and soak in everything. You never know what might wind up being the answer to what you want to do with your life.
  4. Be Smart. If it feels wrong, it probably is. If it seems unsafe, it probably is.
  5. Eat Everything, within reason. No explanation needed.
  6. Don’t be a dick (not that you ever would be). Again, the international version. This is like number 1 on steroids. Check the ego at the door and you might as well leave the egocentric there to keep it company.
  7. If you have to play beer pong, make sure you win the 100 Euro. Self-explanatory.
  8. Amsterdam – you MUST see the Anne Frank House. As Jana said, as a Jew it is your responsibility. Period.
  9. The rest of your time in Amsterdam. I do not need details, thanks.
  10. Have the time of your life. This one should be easy.

In all seriousness, you are an amazing young man and have always made us proud. We have no real worries about this trip. We are just a more than a little jealous.

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Filed under advertising, animals, college, danny, Time to Cry Tuesdays, travel

Mom Fail

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Packaging. It can be so deceiving. At first glance the red and white box simply seemed to be the inhaler I had just picked up from the pharmacy, so it went in the ‘to pack’ pile for my son’s semester abroad.

Ok, so it was the dog’s ear drops instead. Hey, she never let’s me get near her with them, anyway. Someone might as well use them.

I know, a wheezing American in Spain would probably not have seen the humor in that.

Mom fail or honest mistake?

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Filed under college, danny, health, humor, Iko, moms, pets, travel

Back in the USA

After 4 months and too many take offs and landings to count my girl is back in the US of A.

There is NOTHING like having everyone asleep in their own beds.

Welcome home Jana.

Believe it or not there is no better sight than this:

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under family, Jana, travel

The Perfect Husband

I know, you all saw that title and thought, “How sweet, she is going to praise the virtues of her sweet Gary of Hey Nanny Nanny and Janie Knight fame.” Well, of course he is the perfect husband, but this post is not about him.

For those who have been following along, my daughter Jana is doing a semester abroad. That is college-speak for I will tolerate a few hours a week of class so I can be in a different city (sometimes two) every weekend. This weekend found her in Amsterdam, with a side trip to Brussels. When she is traveling I usually wake up to a BBM (blackberry messenger message – it’s like a text for you non-crackberry heads). This morning I found this photo with no message. It was hard to read on my bberry so I had to email it to myself to see what it was.

If there was any doubt that I was genetically linked to this girl you will now understand that I would have to be her mother. Ahhh, the Inflatable Perfect Husband. This must be the 20-year-old version of the Grow Your Own Parents that I bought her in middle school when we were getting on her last nerve. I particularly like the french word for inflatable… gonflable. How do you pronounce that? Anyone? I took Spanish so it is lost on me but I love the way it looks.

I shudder to think what the Inflatable Perfect Wife has behind her back.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, gary, humor, Jana, travel

Time to Cry Tuesday – It truly is a small world

We often take for granted how small the world has become. Our kids consider the technology that enables constant communication to be a given. Ichat, videochat, skype, texting, IM, bbm, facebook, twitter; these all make email seem like snail mail to them. They lose their ability to disappear but I think the trade-off seems worth it to them.

Access. All the time. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

This post is about the good. Ok, so if you read me regularly you are not surprised that I would focus on the positive aspect of technology. But as a parent in the year 2010, with a daughter situated quite comfortably in Spain, technology is the greatest friggin’ thing on this earth.

Last night we had our first video chat with Jana since she left almost 2 weeks ago. You might imagine that this would have been about really important stuff. Well it was, sort of. For instance, we got to see the way her bathroom light turns on ‘all freaky’. And then she whispered ‘the boy’ into the computer screen as her spanish roommate came by and asked her a question. We got to wave hello to her other roommates and get a tour of her apartment. We talked about everything and nothing with her. Better than IM or texting, this was my kid with all her subtleties and nuances; her humor and expressions. The essence of who she is.

On the laptop screen.

On the dining room table.

As if she was there.

Now I know this is no big revelation. For the past few years this has become commonplace. But damn! I am a mom with a kid on the other side(ish) of the world and I can sit in the dining room and bullshit with her as if she were right here.

And it’s free!

C’mon, how cool is that?

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under Jana, technology, Time to Cry Tuesdays, travel

Time to Cry Tuesday – All grown up… almost

Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made…

– John Lennon & Paul McCartney

If you have been reading along you know that my daughter left for semester abroad last week. I cannot put into words how wonderful it was to have her home this last month. The teenager that went off to college is long gone and a lovely, grounded, charming young woman came home in her place. She is all grown up.

Well, almost.

The day she was leaving I came upstairs to check on her last minute packing. There I found her carry-on in the hallway. And tucked away in between the hair mousse and the laptop, strapped in tight, was Chetley. Her main man since birth. Yes we realize ‘he’ is dressed in pink, many shades and patterns of it as a matter of fact as I have reconstructed his body on more than one occasion in the past 20 years.

If you know Jana personally, you surely know the Chetmeister. He has been through it all with her, the good and the bad. He sat perched on her bed at camp, from the first day as a nine-year-old to the last day as Senior Group Leader. When she was  a frightened five-year-old going into the hospital for neurosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’, good old Chet went with her and sported a bandage on the back of his neck till her stitches came out. He proudly went off to college with her… this bear is a Badger through and through. And if I am not mistaken, Jew that he is, I think he even followed along on Birthright to Israel last summer. All that considered I don’t know why I imagined he would stay behind while she embarked on the adventure of her lifetime.

I truly had this whole going abroad thing under control all along. Gary and I are both so happy that she is able to have this experience. Many parents asked me if I was sad or nervous about her going. I am surely neither. I love her wings and the fact that she loves to use them.

But standing there at the top of the stairs, hours before we left for the airport, the sight of that teddy bear with his arm around the laptop just about did me in. Jana then and now just flashed before my eyes. Right in front of the door she slammed so often as a preteen that the latch is loose, sat the evidence that she was all grown up; and not completely – all at one moment.

They call them comfort items. The stuffed animals or blankets that children form an attachment to and use to self-soothe when they are young. Why has no one invented a comfort item for the moms when they find themselves in a moment like this.

Oh, that’s right, they call that VODKA!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under camp, college, Jana, Time to Cry Tuesdays, travel