Our son came home from a friends house yesterday, exhausted and happy. He fell into his bed not long after he arrived home. I was sure he had been racing around playing for hours to warrant such exhaustion. When I asked what he and his friend did, he said they watched TV and had lunch.
After talking to him for a while, I realized things that were passive forms of entertainment in our life in the USA require a high level of engagement and participation when we travel:
- He and his friend would take turns switching the TV from Italian to English. When one would find a joke funny that the other did not understand, they would rewind and translate and then both laugh together after three viewings.
- Playdate lunch was served in courses with grandparents and parents present. There was an art to eating the fish with the bones and he had to use his power of observation to match the pace and skill of this foreign and delicious meal.
- After lunch, his friend wanted to assemble a new chair that was still in the box from the store. Together, with limited verbal communication and a lot of sign language and giggles, they successfully built a chair.
For all these reasons, he collapsed upon returning home. Every day in every way life in a foreign country is fully engaging, challenging and at times overwhelming.
The morning after our son’s adventure, we woke up to a rainy Sunday. My husband said, “I just want to watch football and not European football. Today I feel like ordering bad pizza, eating potato chips on the couch, and watching American football.”
The good news is, we couldn’t order bad pizza, even if we wanted to in Italy. The bad news is, we can’t watch American football either. Last year we tried desperately to subscribe to various “web” services that promised us Superbowl coverage in Malta, with no success. I grew up in Seattle rooting for the Seattle Seahawks for 40 years. In the two years I have been traveling overseas, they have made it to the Superbowl twice!
We love our life of travel. We would not trade it. We do, however, wish we could watch the Superbowl with friends and family. We love that rush to the grocery store for game day treats, and how the streets and malls are deserted during the game. We love that no matter how passionate people are about their home team, what everyone wants more than winning, is a great game. We love the feeling that there is nothing else to think about, or translate or comprehend. We are nostalgic today for the opportunity to just sit back, cheer and celebrate a great American pastime.
Seahawks fans, we are with you in spirit, as the crowd on our little TV in Tuscany cheers “Forza Juventus.”