Travel Abroad

Travel's an exciting prospect and one I wish I had taken advantage of as an undergrad. I received an email today reminding me to go check out the Fulbright Scholarship meeting and to apply for one of these fabulous scholarships that funds research and education abroad for one year. Once upon a time I would have read the whole thing and thought about it. These days, it was almost instantly dismissed. I had the brief thought of "I could totally do that. Stuart and Emma could come too, it would be awesome!" However, I'm pretty sure one Fulbright Scholarship is not enough to feed and clothe a family of 3. I may be wrong, but it doesn't seem likely.

This brought me down to the reality that most parents eventually come to: I have a lot more to worry about when it comes to travel than getting my passport in order or a language barrier. I am not an undergrad that would willingly live in a youth hostel for a year and love every minute of it. I have a baby to care for, a husband, 2 dogs and a cat that all require my presence at home very nearly every day. However, there is no scholarship in the world that could entice me away from my ridiculously chaotic and often noisy household for an entire year. I do look forward to traveling abroad at some point but as a family. This is no longer a one woman show, or even a duet. This is an entire 3 piece band, and I can't imagine it any other way. I no longer have any desire to travel alone. I want to see my little girl's face when she tries a foreign dish, or sees an exotic animal for the first time. I want to experience all of that as our crazy 3 piece band.

It seems like many people have the view that once you have kids your world stops spinning. While I was pregnant I hated having people tell me to "enjoy it while I can because once the baby gets here you won't be going out to dinner anymore!" Yes, a baby is a game changer. You go from playing a fairly simple game like Candyland where you think you've finally got all the rules figured out, to playing RISK in a foreign language. You have no idea what you're doing but just sort of go with it and mimic what you see others doing. However, we still have lives, we still go to dinner. We just do all of that with a baby in tow. I don't crave a night away from her. I like going to dinner with Stuart and Emma. I like being a family and doing things as a family. Stuart and I have never been very good about strictly following the rules of the game. We play Monopoly where you get money for landing on Free Parking. We also realized that when it comes to babies, everyone says they know the rules, there are thousands of books that tell you exactly what those rules are. But the reality is that no one knows the rules. You make up a set of rules for your lifestyle and your family. Along the way you make up new rules and break a few. It's like kids playing in the back yard, you just make it up as you go along.

My favorite quote from my father-in-law is "fake it till you make it." I have been applying that principle since I got to graduate school and I am now applying it to raising a child.


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