One month ago today our family left Chattanooga to begin this adventure around the world. It’s been awesome in so many ways. We’ve already driven through ten states visiting family and friends, we’ve experienced New York City together for the first time, and we’ve crossed an ocean. While in Norway we’ve been able to adapt to the local culture, learn the transit system, navigate highways, and climb up a beautiful fjord. Throughout all of this we’ve never stayed in one place more than four nights in a row and we’ve been together as a family practically every single minute of the last thirty days.
Today, as we prepare for our flight to Barcelona and the drive to Andorra, I think it’s safe to say that we’re DRIVING EACH OTHER BANANAS!
I have a distinct memory from childhood of my brother and I bickering in the backseat of our family’s Nissan hatchback when our normally composed and proper mother suddenly slammed on the brakes and screamed out at the top of her lungs, “BAHHHHHHH! You kids are drivin’ me apeshit!!” Mom, thirty years later I now know exactly how you felt at that moment. (By the way, she’s going to kill me for telling that story.)
Don’t get me wrong. We all love each other and we’re SO incredibly grateful to be able to take this journey together. That said, our next key task for this experience, even before starting the African visa process or lining up housing in Croatia, will be to figure out a living strategy where each of us can get away periodically. We’ve never had another stretch of time where it was constantly just the five of us. The kids don’t leave for school. Brian and I don’t leave for work. There aren’t any overnights with friends or date nights or sports practices or weekend potluck dinners. It’s just us. Together. All. The. Time.
The result has been an inordinate amount of petty bickering among the girls, some difficulty focusing on work for Brian, and a couple “crazy mama” moments from me. Our rental car seems to have become the catalyst for most of the strife and drama. Something about the close physical proximity of the girls and the sound waves being confined to the walls of the vehicle have led the kids to fight more and the parents to lose their minds. In fact, my girls now have their own version of my childhood memory. After fifteen straight minutes of listening to constant bickering about armrest ownership and who touched whose elbow I finally blew my top. The word “apeshit” may or may not have been included in this outburst. After a few awkward moments of aftermath silence, the tension was broken by the polite British voice of the GPS navigator requesting me to “Please stay on this road for a long time.” (No joke, she really does say that.) We all erupted into laughter.
GPS lady is right. We WILL be on this road for a long time. We’ve got a lot of togetherness to go, so the Carisch crew is going to have to adjust. This coming month in Andorra will help. We’ll actually get to unpack our suitcases for the first time since leaving Chattanooga. So exciting! We’ll also be staying at the home of family we love spending time with. Even more exciting! We’ll be able to get into a routine, get some time away from each other and return to our focus on volunteer work. Hallelujah! Norway has been amazing, but we’re ready to move on to the next phase of this trip.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go break up a fight over whose crumpled up piece of paper it is. Sigh.