Arab Spring/European Summer


The other day, my son passed by the television and said, “What is that?”  I had the news on.  I sighed and replied, “That’s Athens.”  “Oooh, we’re going to Athens soon aren’t we?”  As I watched protesters lob rocks at the police in riot gear, I cringed.  “Yep.”  My son looked closer at the screen. “Mom, is the Acropolis burning?”

Greece:  riots in the face of financial ruin

London:  today, tens of thousands march in the streets protesting further cuts in public sector pensions

Ireland, Spain & Portugal:  who’s next?

What is happening to our world?

And, if I may be so bold as to ask, why is the world falling apart just when we’ve planned a lovely European vacation?  Mind you, we are not exercising financial responsibility by going on this trip.  We will have to employ austerity measures of our own upon our return.  However, we deemed the sacrifices worthwhile in order to show our kids some history and culture and, it was thought, a good time in Europe.  Now, I’m not so sure.

In spite of my fear of flying, my loathing of large crowds in tight spaces, and my unabashed adoration of large North American bathrooms, I love Europe.  It has always been my intention to live there some day.  I love the depths of its history.  I never tire of looking at old crumbling buildings.  I am very grateful not to have lived in the ancient times (see above adoration of large bathrooms) but I love walking the narrow, twisting streets built back then.  I want to show Europe to my kids.

I don’t want to be ducking rocks, Molotov Cocktails, and have to wear a gas mask while doing it.

We have been dreaming of this trip for years.  My husband has long talked of taking a month off, renting a villa in Italy, and driving all over the southern Med region.  Sadly, no time ever seemed right; there never seemed to be enough money.  Finally, we said, “Screw it!  Let’s go!”   We booked  a 12 day cruise where we could give the kids a taste of a lot of places.  Frankly, that’s all they would want anyway.  Now, languishing in a pool shaded by olive trees in Tuscany might’ve been the way to go.

Oh, there is also the threat of a strike by Air Transat flight attendants.  We might get to Europe; whether we can come back is now in some doubt.  Ordinarily, the prospect of being stranded in Europe would not bother me in the least.  This year, I feel a bit differently.

Come on, Europe!  Hang in there!  Let me bring my tourist Euros to you.  Don’t scare me and the rest of the tourists away this summer!


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