Friday, June 11, 2010

My training blog

It was only a decade ago that blogs did not exist. Al Gore hadn't really put the finishing touches on the good ol' internet. There wasn't anything to do online. A few sites existed, but basically they told you in a very boring way to call if you really wanted to learn anything. Email, now email was something! The cool people were emailing. Once a day, never more because we paid by the minute, we went online to get our mail, a process that took about 5 minutes of listening to screeching as the modem "connected". What was that sound for anyway? Was the computer using bat signals to communicate? My parents had a computer that was slower than snot, I tell you. Once the screeching stopped, the machine roared like a tractor pulling a rake up a hill. All that to get maybe one email. It was SO exciting.

Western EuropeIn the midst of this computerized revolution, I was planning a trip to Europe. If it were now, I would get online and look at Travelosity for airline tickets, Trip Advisor for hotel reviews, Lonely Planet for hostel recommendations, and for train tickets and schedules. I would be done in about 2 hours. As it was, planning the trip consisted of talking with people who had been there and spending hours and hours at the library looking at books about different sites that I didn't want to miss. The books had the latest prices and schedules supposedly, but the majority of the trip was left to, "We'll see once we get there."

"We" was my longtime friend Janelle and myself. This whole trip was Alaythia's doing. If you don't remember that story, click here. It was Alaythia me who got a message from the Lord and she I made a series of phone calls: 1) to my boyfriend to break up with him, 2) to my parents to tell them I broke up with Mr. Perfect and I wasn't going back to college to finish my degree, 3) to my college to tell them I wasn't going back as planned, and 4) to Janelle to convince her she needed to go to Europe with me. She agreed. Whew. So, after months of planning, we had our travel guide books in hand, a tentative schedule and an open-jaw ticket arriving in London and leaving for home from Rome with almost 2 months in between.

London to the English countryside

London to Paris

Paris to Berlin

Berlin to Austria

Austria back to France to Toulouse

Toulouse to Italy Switzerland

Switzerland to Italy






Rome to home

Even though we had a Eurorail pass and it didn't matter how/when we used it, Janelle and I still chose to take night trains whenever possible. At the time, it seemed logical because a night train saved us a nights lodging as well. Youth hostels were about $16 and included breakfast. So of course we should risk life, limbs, and any sort of comfort and take night trains. It was from Toulouse, France to Italy that we accidentally got on the wrong end of a train that happened to split in the night while we were both sleeping... soundly. Instead of the warm Mediterranean, we woke up in Geneva, Switzerland and a thief had taken off with both of our cameras (secured around our necks). The rest of the journey was documented with a disposable camera and I also wrote down details in my journal.

It is this journal that got me reminiscing. I hadn't looked at it in years, but Emma found it and wanted to color in it. Are you kidding me, that's my first blog. I had it with me and wrote about the happenings of my life in Europe. Europe, child! I was young and free and had acid washed jeans! (I gave her a color book she forgot she had and she was happy.) How interesting my first blog would have been. No one reads my journal, yet I wrote as though I wished someone would. I've always known the blogging world needed me -- er, or I needed it. If Al invented the internet, then I'll claim inventing blogging. Strange that I haven't received a royalty check from Blogger.

It is as though I had Janelle take this picture with the express purpose of blogging about it. I didn't though. I have no idea what this picture is about.

I wrote about other strange things:

"Monday we left our temporary home at Schlossburg and caught the SKIBUS to Kitzbuhl, Austria where we intended to be on a train to Toulouse by 1pm. A usual, our plans didn't work out and we arrived an hour later to the train and couldn't get another train until the next morning. We were tired of Kitzbunel already so we journeyed on to Innsbrook, an equally enchanting town. We stayed at a mental hospital/youth hostel. Crazy.

Email was a phenomenon that had caught on all over the world.  Internet cafes were here and there, but we had to pay for every minute online. It was our main communication with our parents and friends back home. It was worth the $5 for 3 minutes. There was always the "work off-line option." That really saved my bacon. It was at one of these internet cafes in Austria that I received an email from my happily married parents:

"I read my long list of email and found that mom had written last week. She said that Black Lake camp asked her to be the head of housekeeping. She accepted the position starting June 1st. It's in Olympia. Olympia! I guess dad is going too, either that or they are splitting up -- unlikely since they are both partial to the canoe."

(I always felt like my head was too big in a literal sense when I was standing next to Janelle. She has a beautiful, small head. She also managed to take 5 items of clothing in her backpack and somehow come out every day looking exotic. That's why I don't have many pictures of us together. I was a little irritated that she was so cute... and that I had such a big head).

Venice Italy was one of my favorites spots. Everyone says it stinks, but it doesn't. I wrote about how it was unlike any where I had ever been, "It is quiet, yet bustling; serene yet exciting." I also wrote this:

"There are three big restaurants in the Piazza San Marco. I am sitting on the steps near one  of them and a string quartet is playing. Beautiful. Guess I should have let that guy take me to dinner. It is the perfect night for it. But I think he was a little short [always in tune with the important things] and a little bit of a stranger. Sometimes I wish I was more adventurous. Not every man is out to rape me or take all my money. Who knows, perhaps I could have made a friend."

Now as a mother to girls, I think adventure is over-rated. No strange Italian men. No traveling to Europe without me. No night trains. And again I say, no traveling to Europe without me. I have high hopes of returning to Europe. Jeff is even on board with the idea. We want to go in another decade or so and travel-school around Europe. Who knows what will exist by then, blogs might be a thing of the past. But I know I'll want to share the experience and I'll make my children blog about it too. Stay tuned....



Janelle said...

Europe. That was ages ago. So fun to read about our trip from your perspective. Funny how we can have the same experience with completely different impressions. I always thought, "Why do I have to look like a boy while traveling in Europe? I wish I had long beautiful hair like Alysun. She wakes up from a long night in a train looking so feminine and pretty." :) I'm so glad we have this memory together. Nate and I dream of taking our family back someday too.

Sara said...

Travel-schooling around Europe sounds incredible! Kevin and I have already talked about travel-schooling around the US in an RV someday....not near so ambitious or exciting. :) What a great idea to have the kids blog about it. We will definitely have to incorporate that into our plans as well (IF our "travel-school" ever happens :). It was fun to hear a bit more about your trip to Europe. It sounds awesome, but I am so surprised your parents ever let you do that! ;o)

Sherri said...

I'm glad you rediscovered your journal! Fun memories. In a file folder somewhere I have printed out your emails from that trip Someday when I'm old and bored I'll find them and read them again:) Our lives have changed a lot in the intervening 9 years...

Linds and Manda said...

Love hearing about your trip again. I love that picture of you and Janelle in Venice...and you don't have a big head! I think a travel-school trip to Europe would be wonderful. What an amazing thing to actually see what most of us have only seen in textbooks. Sign me up. Do you think it would be okay if I took those years of school over again and come with?