Monday, November 28, 2011

En route to Europe with 3 year old in tow

Whoa, time flies.....when you forget to blog...

In January My Avalon and I went on our European Adventure to visit my brother and meet his new family.  Prior to leaving I had a lot of shocked and horrified reactions to travelling so far alone with a 3 year old.  I brushed them all off. 'I am a traveller', I would say to myself, 'and she is an adventurous child.  This is no problem at all'.

Well,  the reality was somewhere in between.  It was a lot harder then I had ever imagined, a lot harder.  My first instinct was to warn everyone against it and to never travel again.  In the end it was worth every agonising moment.  Let me tell you all about it!

As we boarded our flight from Toronto to Amsterdam I had every expectation that Avalon would sleep.  I mean, it was an overnight flight....and she sleeps at night.  So the logic behind that was solid.  Not the case.  1 hour before landing in Amsterdam she fell asleep after hours of the Mommy-Child fight cycle.  We landed at 7am in Amsterdam which was 1am in Toronto - at this point she had been awake for 19 hours.

The Amsterdam Airport is big.  No, it is HUGE.  MASSIVE.
This is a simple math equation:
Huge airport + sleep deprived 3 year old + standby connection + basket case Mommy =  tears.
Fortunately the tears belonged to me because Avalon is a rock star and breezed through the whole experience as if it was a grocery trip on a Wednesday morning.

A bathroom break, quick coffee and about 13kms later we found our connection gate to finish our journey to Luxembourg City.  I will save you the explanation on how horrible boarding a transfer bus and a fokker was with way too much carry on and a tired 3 year old (for the childless a tired 3 year old moves like molasses) .  I'll just leave it at horrible and that we clearly annoyed several fancy pants business men.  No big deal, at this point I would be grounded in less then 1 hour and have my baby niece in my arms.  The excitement was intoxicating!

Meeting my baby niece for the first time was simply awesome. She is so beautiful and well mannered.  Just typing this brings me to tears since I can't drive over to give her a kiss.  Avalon was enamored with her the moment she met her....altho I have to be honest and say that as soon as Avalon met Chloe (my brothers Chihuahua) the baby had to share the spot light.

At the end of our journey to my brothers living room it was 12 noon in Luxembourg, 6am Toronto time.  Avalon had been awake for 24 hours.  Remember how I said she is a rockstar?  Ya, total rockstar because at this point she was completely composed which is truly amazing since I was having trouble standing.  By the time I had her tucked away that evening she had been awake and moving for 32 hours with no major melt downs.  Shock and awe, shock and awe.

I'll wrap this update here and come back soon to fill in the contents of our time in Europe and of course the journey home.  Taa for now!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bad News and Big Challenges.

I suppose this is what blogging is all about, being open and transparent despite the overwhelming urge to quit and log off?

Sadly, we are not going to Morocco.  Over the past few months I have spent more time in the doctors office then I care to admit.  Wavering from being slightly uncomfortable to being in blinding agony. With a battery of tests results coming in before Christmas I assumed I'd be on some kind of dosage to clear this problem up by now.  Now such luck.

On Tuesday Dec 21 I was kindly told by my doctor that he believes I have Crohn's Disease.  Along with that he "strongly recommends" I do not travel to Europe and I should absolutely not be going to Africa.  Imagine someone smacking you with wooden bat - that's how I felt.  Going beyond the ability to travel in the next month; what about the rest of my life?  That was all I could think.

My goals differ largely than the general population and the intensity of these goals is great.  How would I ever climb the Inca Trail with Crohn's Disease?  What about my dreams of joining Doctors Without Borders?  Becoming a midwife?  How could I ever commit to catching a baby; let alone catching a baby on my knees in a hut in the middle of nowhere.  Crohn's Disease does not translate well to building houses in Bolivia, dragging my offspring to see Penguins in Argentina, or finally making it to the Yukon to have tea with an old friend.

I know I know, I am getting ahead of myself.  Well, for those who know me shouldn't be surprised cause that is the speed I exist at and there is nothing I can do about that.  All I saw last week was "You can't do this cause you might be sick with this" which my mind translates into "You can never do anything you want or need to do because you ARE sick with this".  It is a curse to have this mind but in the same breath you all should be so lucky.  My mind is a fascinating place.

Moving forward.  I am going to Europe anyhow (shocked?  naw...) but will not be visiting Africa.  My doctor (who is a very adventurous and motivating man) made it clear that undiagnosed and untreated Crohn's Disease can be very very dangerous and being alone with My Avalon in a country such as Morocco is possible the worst idea.  Ok, I hear you Doc.

In the mean time I await phone calls from other doctors to schedule horrible and truly humiliating tests to get to the bottom (no pun intended) to of the agony I have become so accustomed to living with.  As long as those tests do not occur between January 24th and February 6th I will gladly take those calls.

T-Minus 24 days until Europa Europa.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Closing Gaps and Creating Self.

One of the finest benefits of working for an airline is the ability to close gaps.  Sometimes those gaps are grand, a 9 hour flight to Luxembourg City to meet my new niece for example (stayed tuned, I will be closing that gap in January) but sometimes the gaps seem tiny despite their great importance.

A small but tremendously important part of my family lives in a tiny Manitoba town called Morden.  An hour or so south of Winnipeg hovering above the US border.

In a tragic twist of fate I lost my father at a young age and in this tiny town lives his blood lines and my only connection left to the life he had before me, my mother and brother.  They are some great people who I don't get to see as often as I wish but as often as life will allow; and this fall my life allowed a quick catch up.

Closing gaps like this are equally as exciting, rewarding and adventurous as the gaps I have between me and, say the Inca Trail or The Great Wall.  I see myself in this part of my family and even more exciting I see Avalon in them.

I remember the moment I felt the hugeness of the world, the exact moment.  I was sitting in the Citadel in Budapest watching the sunset.  It was an amazing time in my life and helped to create me and define me but nothing is more effective in creating a sense of self then knowing where you come from.  This is where I come from.

I may travel the world, I may see many things and they will all change me but I am from a tiny town in the south of Manitoba, Canada.  My family is strong, proud Icelanders and so am I.

It seems so simple, but shouldn't life be that simple?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our Royal Visit... Jelly fish, red earth and public urination. - Part Two

There is nothing like public urination to upset a 3 year old and there is nothing like an upset 3 year old to upset a Mommy.

This being out very first adventure alone together I had a backup plan for almost anything.  Delayed flight, bad hotel room, extra snacks, special toys, laptop games, movies for the evening.  I had thought of everything except for the one thing I never expected:  That the both of us would be miserable and want to go home.  Murphy's Law says that is exactly what would happen.  Driving along the spectacular North Coast of Prince Edward Island she was screaming and I was livid.  Why is she not excited?  How could she be so upset?  Does she know how much this vacation cost me??

I hit a dead end in a little fishing village, the name of which escapes me and got out of the car to allow her some personal space and call my mom. 'We are coming home tonight!', we can't, I already paid for the hotel - shoot.  At a loss and feeling like this whole adventure was a journey in failure, I look up....

Now I remember why were had made the trip.

Within seconds we were hand in hand exploring this tiny village, admiring the pretty red sand, and forgotten the drama of our accidental car ride to find it.  Before I knew it we were back to smiles on on our way to the kind of beach TV movies are made of on the North shore.
Due to a dangerous surf there was no swimming but there was so much exploring to be done and we made out like bandit with a bag full of shiny shells!!

The next morning brought back the unwelcomed reality of standby travel.  As an airline employee I get great deals but it is limited to space available which can generally be predicted very well with 1 exception: Cancelled flights.
We had prepared to fly home on the evening flight giving us all day to explore but I received a warning at 8 am from a friend telling me that the morning flight had been cancelled which means the evening flight would be full up with no room for us.
I can not afford another night in the hotel, I may not have a flight home and I am on an island.

Of course it is 8 am and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it right now to the beach!!!  Argyle Shore to be precise.  I had been told many times if I wanted to see a true red beach that this Provincial Park is the place to go and it sure was!  While kinda hard to locate it was the most unique 'beach' I had ever been to, I would have considered it more of cliffs then a beach but someone had the foresight to build a set of stairs.  

 After an exciting romp in the "Red Sea" we climbed back into the mini van and made our way back to the airport to face the standby nightmare.  Would we sleep in the airport tonight?  Drive to the main land?  Bed, borrow and steal enough money to pay for a hotel?
Ahhh, nope.  As luck would have it, just as things can change for the worse it changed for the good and a much larger aircraft was coming in with lots of room on it to take us home.

Goodbye beautiful island!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Royal Visit... Jelly fish, red earth and public urination.

Ok, not exactly Royal but this past August My Avalon and I had a chance to get away to Prince Edward Island and we sure felt like Royalty.

I was always told this is a magical place and since I am the kind of gal to find out for myself we jetted off on a Monday morning for a 2 night stay in Charlottetown, PEI.

Tired and hungry we spent our first night wondering the city for local fare without the seafood ( did I mention we are vegetarians? ) and wondered back to the hotel full on potato burgers and happy as a pair of clams.

After packing a picnic and loading up the rental car we set out on our world wind island adventure.  First stop?  Why a toy store of course... In my online research I came across The Toy Factory in a pretty little village called New Glasgow smack dab in the middle of the island.  What a special treat for a little girl!!
He makes wooden toys by hand in this little shop, well worth the drive.

Heading North I decided it was time to see a classic and show my dear daughter Anne of Green Gables.  Oh the excitement! Oh the anticipation!
Quick Lesson: 3 year olds don't know or care who Anne is nor do they want to see where she would have slept.
After pay an outrageous fee and spending exactly 17 minutes on the property my 3 year old pee'd on Anne of Green Gables back porch. read that right.  She pee'd a huge puddle on a National Landmark.  

That gem was followed by a quick escape and onto bigger and better things.
More to come!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Morocco in the making.

Just a quick note on our upcoming travels.
My brother who lives in Luxembourg was recently married and had a baby named Lia whom I have yet to meet!!  In less then 2 months My Avalon and I are going on a jet set tour to Luxembourg to welcome our new family member.

I have been trying to organize a little side trip while we are all the way across the pond.  Paris?  Nah, too dirty.  Rome?  A bit too expensive.  Africa?.....why yes, that sounds about right.  

Right in the middle of our European trip we are going to slip away to Morocco for a few days and see what Moroccan life is all about.......and we couldn't be more excited!   

Details to come.

Every adventure needs a beginning...

As every other adventure needs a beginning so does a blog...
I suppose a basic introduction is in order?
I am 28 year old Momma to a wild, bright and quickly growing Avalon who as of now stands at 3.5 years old (going on 35 most days).  By day I work for an airline and after 6 years still adore my job (even during the Christmas line ups); by night I am an artist, a crafter, a chef, a amateur seamstress and  traveller.   
Now that My Avalon has become a little girl we have began to take journeys together on a more grand scale which usually leads to many hilarious stories, stunning photographs and extraordinary experiences. All of which we would like to share with you!

I will be back in a day or so to share a trip we took this summer and hopefully gain some knowledge of the blogging world!