I turned on the tv one evening to see that the Amazing Race was on. I like that show, probably because I've traveled around the world a bit and know the challenges that international destinations bring. I saw the teams sprinting through an airport and gasped, "They're in Maputo, they're in Maputo!" I said with great enthusiasm. My husband came running and we watched transfixed as the clueless teams tried to find the office for an airline that would give them tickets to Johannesburg. "It's upstairs by the cafe!" I shouted at the tv. Watching the familiar airport on tv brought back a wave of memories as my husband and I have explored that same airport quite a few times flying in and out of Mozambique.
I've been faced with many challenges while traveling that would make great tv if I had a crew following me around. I was stuck in deserted train station/homeless shelter in Naples. Or climbing the Ifle Tower in pouring down rain. My camera was stolen on the same train ride where I realized the back of the train doesn't always reach the same destination as the front. I took a 40 hour bus ride across Canada sitting beside a midget. And I faced Sunset at a rural African airport with no ride in sight. That's to name a few. And my husband has many more because he's traveled more that I have.
While thinking about these adventures, they don't really compare to real life now. All those scrapes I was in far away from home seem rather simple because I faced them as an independent person, not a parent in charge of other's healthy and safety. Take yesterday for example: we were trying to find the Tulip Festival. It should have been easy enough to find with clearly marked signs.... if we turned the right way off the freeway... and if we didn't have 2 children literally screaming at the top of their lungs for the same story book. I imagined the tv crew following our every move and thought of a great idea for a new show. It would be a combination of the Amazing Race and Nanny 911. Now that would be a challenge! Forget about easy stuff like lugging 50 pound cheese wedges up a steep hill in Austria or bungy jumping off the Space Needle. The real challenges in life arise when children, wonderful, beautiful children, enter the picture.
We eventually made it to the Tulip Festival. A little cranky and worse for wear, but the beauty of the flowers lightened my mood and the hay fort and slide did wonders for the children.
There are a 150,000 blooms and it was fun to walk the rows choosing our favorites. The pink fringy one above is my favorite. I don't know its name because I was taking pictures while trying to keep Mandy from eating barkdust. There's a challenge for you.
Flowers, endless flowers. Emma would have been in paradise if she could have picked them. But she didn't. She was very good.
Our perfect angel. Defiance and manipulation rear their ugly heads more and more as sweet Mandy develops her independence. How deceptive a picture can be...
Emma is in a total posing stage. She walks around finding backdrops and saying, "How about this? I look cute. Take my picture." So I do. She is going to be an amazing assistant to my photography business soon. Or extremely consumed with her own beauty. There are no problems with low self-esteem at our house.
Mandy is also a little poser, when she chooses. This is her "I'm perfect and never scream and cry and throw fits" pose. Some in our party were not convinced.
The Tulip Festival goes through the 3rd and I would recommend going if you are in the area. There is a lot to do for kids, endless picture taking possibilities, and the Tulips are really gorgeous. Just remember to write down the direction before you go and turn east off the freeway. You can't miss it. :)
I plan to do some editing on the Tulip pictures later in the week and post them on my photography blog. Stay tuned.