To the Highlands!

On the way to Fort William we stopped at the engineering wonder of Falkirk Wheel and walked back in time to what was briefly considered the boundary separating the civilized Roman Empire from the uncivilized heathen Picts further north. I’m not sure how much has changed, but we can’t wait to eat more smoked salmon, oatcakes, seafood and hopefully something green. I secretly hope to get Kurt in a kilt, but I don’t think he is very adventurous when it comes to fashion.

The genius of the Falkirk Wheel can be seen by clicking here. I still can’t get over the efficiency of this amazing engineering feat–it only takes the amount of energy required to boil 8 kettles of water. The children were mesmerized until they found the nearby water park that not only was great fun but also taught a few engineering lessons in the process of playing. AND, no one got wet! Phew.

We walked up to the Antonine Wall and thought the kids were going to have an apoplectic seizure with all the whinging on the way there and back. My theory is that allowing electronic devices in the car has them anxious to return to their dopamine fix. Why else would my kids be begging to return to another 3 hours bottled up in a car packed with luggage? Just doesn’t make any sense after watching them frolic around the old Roman fort like wood nymphs.

After the ‘strenuous’ walk, all 4 kids were rewarded with a go in the four available water walking balls. Unbeknownst to them they expended more kilocalories trying to stand up in these PVC bubbles than on their little hike, but that just meant that they were going to be subdued in the family wagon as we made our way up to Onich.

We did stop off for dinner in Balquhidder at Mhor 84. If Kurt and I didn’t have children with us I would have insisted we take time time to eat and stay for a respite at Monachyle Mhor, but alas,  we are 6 and our behemoth of a self-catering house on Loch Linnhe awaited our brood. Maybe someday we’ll be able to return to Monachyle Mhor without children to have some venison neck, nettle crust, skirlie and wild sorrel for dinner and lazily sleep in on a dreich Scottish morning with a fire roaring…. someday. maybe.

Redefining “Home”

Besides a roof over your head and a place to hang your hat, what does “home” mean?

This school year we won’t  have a “home.” No apartment or house that we regularly return to after being out and about at school or work.  We will likely have a roof over our heads for the majority of the year, but it will be ever changing as we move from city to city and cross the borders of many countries. Transitions are challenging for my 6 year old son, so I was expressing my concern about this the other day with a dear friend. I opened my Pandora’s box of fears.  I’m  not a good enough parent. We are doing the wrong thing pulling the kids out of school. It’s irresponsible and impulsive and will damage them by taking away their support systems. I said out loud that surely ‘Kurti’ would be irreparably damaged by the year his parents yanked him out of school and  traveled like gypsies. My friend, being the wise woman that she is, noted that getting up and going to school everyday was a huge transition with which he would not have to  deal this year. Instead, what he was going to get was the gift of being together with his family ALL DAY. Actually, ALL YEAR with his mom, dad and siblings. After all, isn’t the family supposed to be the most important support system for children?
I begin to imagine how comforting that will be for my young son to sustain our connection when normally he would be at school and we are physically separate. Wow. No calls from the nurse, teachers, or other parents. He would have a direct line to me all day, every day. I  felt my fears evaporate immediately as the lid slammed shut on my Pandora’s box. What became clear is that home is not just a building filled with furniture and walls painted sailor blue and bubblegum pink. Cliché as it may be, “Home” is where your heart is, and we will be traveling with all six of ours together this year.