succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I don't feel like I've been working all that hard/all that many hours, but somehow, I haven't had the time/energy to post anything here. Which I guess is a good thing, with a new job, right? To be, evidently, working like a crazy person, but not necessarily feel like it? Anyway, that's the story I'm telling myself.

So, Mom and Dad arrive tomorrow! For Dad's 60th Birthday/Retirement California Wine Country Extravaganza! Cue the music and balloons! Actually, hold the music and balloons - because it's a surprise! Shhhh....obviously, Dad now knows he's boarding a plane in the morning headed to SF, but beyond that, he's totally in the dark. About which Mom and I have been giggling for months. (she's in on the secret) Right. So Mom and Dad arrive tomorrow afternoon. Friday we hang out in the city as long as they please, then I drive them up to Napa. Saturday I drive back up to Napa to spend the day riding bikes through wine country with them (I know, oh woe is me and my tough life). Sunday, I wake up at dawn and fly to Atlanta for a friend's wedding. Monday, I wake up, again at dawn, fly back to SF, drive back to Napa, and pick up Mom and Dad. Tuesday I take them back to the airport, then head back to work. Whew!

I know, crazy. But the thing is, you can re-schedule neither a 60th birthday, nor a wedding. And it's possible to do both. A little nutty, perhaps, but when have you known me not to want my cake and eat it too?

In other family and travel news, we have booked our tickets to Nepal! I officially leave the weekend after Thanksgiving, and travel via DC and Seoul to Kathmandu. Yes, because I hate the planet, I am flying east, across the country, to meet my family in DC, then back west to Asia. Look - flying makes me nervous, and if I'm going to spend 14+ hours in a little metal tube over an ocean I'm going to be sitting next to my mommy, ok? At least for the outward bound trip. On the way back I get to do the reverse (Kathmandu, Seoul, DC, SF) all by my lonesome. And on my birthday!

Already many of the lessons of Ireland are coming back to me - something about traveling always throws a lot of my family baggage into relief. For example, Mom is already stressing about our itinerary and whether she'll get to do everything she wants. The control freak and perfectionist aspects of her personality feel so...familiar. I definitely fall into a lot of the same traps - I try to appreciate where I am when I'm there, but, for example, I definitely got all cranky in Bogota when I thought I was going to miss out on the chance to pick up some local gifts for the family*. And again in DC when my perfect schedule, timed to the hour, got thrown out the window. I like to think that I recognize when these buttons are being pushed and I'm being unreasonably cranky and that I try to snap out of these moods as quickly as possible. But it is so clear that I get this particular trait from Mom. The good, and bad, news is that she triggers the exact opposite response in me - the crankier and more controlling she gets the more lalala everything is lovely and I'm just so happy to be here! I get.

Also, apparently, she and my brother already had a fight about when we need to leave for the airport in Seoul (we get a one night layover, with the price of a hotel and transportation to/from the airport included in the ticket). Already! We don't leave until after Thanksgiving! Nevermind the way far in advance bickering, we're all adults, perfectly capable of managing our own transportation. Yes, it would be ridiculous, but Mom, brother, and I could all head to the airport whenever we damn well pleased, at three distinct times if we felt like it! Besides, he's the one with a wedding and a (potentially pissed off, if he screwed up the travel plans) bride to get to. That's his problem, not ours.

Right. Making the mental note now to work hard to avoid being go-between and managing relationship between Mom and brother. We are all adults. I think that will make a nice mantra for this particular trip (even if we don't all act like it).

*this is not at all altruistic - growing up, my aunt was always (and continues to be) the cool relative who travels to awesome and random foreign locales. Her gifts are always unique and traditionally come with little yellow post-it notes telling the story of where this particular item came from. I'm very much looking forward to becoming the newest family member to give really cool gifts with excellent accompanying stories at holidays.


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