|Sunset over the River Ouse in York, England|
Vacations are supposed to be a break from the ordinary. A time to escape everyday life. A chance to do something different. Sometimes, that different thing isn't big or grand. It's not always diving with sharks or sailing through the sky in a hot air balloon. Sometimes, it's the small details. It's the altered way of approaching everyday events.
Lately, life has been a whirlwind. The after school hours are a blur for me as I chauffeur my three kids between school, activities and home. On Tuesdays, I spend two hours in my car continuously driving around but never going further than 10 miles from my house as if I'm running my own private bus route. My legs ache as I exit the car, glad to finally be able to stretch them out straight. On Wednesdays, I shuttle my kids around, dashing into the house for a few minutes before setting off again in my car. Whichever kid happens to be home at 5:30 PM is assigned the task of doing the final steps of cooking our family dinner that night. Other days, I reach home, and no one has taken on the dinner prep task. That night's meal becomes a smorgasbord of various microwaved leftovers. Whomever shows up in the kitchen last gets the least desirable morsels.
That's why I find joy in how we dine when we travel. It's so much more relaxed (unless I'm yelling that I am HANGRY and need to eat immediately). Someone else does the cooking. Even better, someone else does the cleaning up. Yay! No one at the table is rushing off to do homework or take a conference call. Whereas we rarely order dessert while dining out in our hometown, being in a foreign country is the perfect excuse to explore the local cuisine via something sweet and decadent.
Afterwards, we stroll back to the hotel. If luck is smiling at us, it's timed perfectly so that the sinking sun sends out its brilliant last hurrah for the day as we cross a Gothic style, Victorian era bridge. In other words, the experience of our nightly meal is transformed into something utterly different and out of the ordinary.
Long after the trip is over and done with, I hold onto these memories. That's what gets me through the regular, the mundane, and the whirlwind.
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