October 7, 2014
Australia is a very long way from Europe. Yes, we’re at the bottom of the world so it takes about 29 hours of elapsed time to fly to France. You wave them through the “International departures” doors at the airport, you drive the hour and a half home and arrive just as they take off. You do some work, you have dinner, watch TV and go to bed. You wake up, they are still in the air, you have breakfast, you have lunch and then around mid afternoon they technically arrive in Europe. Yes it is THAT long.
Four years ago I put my eldest son on a plane to France and waved him goodbye. This time, it’s his younger brother’s turn and I was a bit more sanguine about it. They go, they return, they have great experiences but a LOT has changed in four years.
There are now Flight tracker apps! The perfect thing for an OCD mother who wants to know exactly where the plane with her precious cargo is. Oh! Kazakhstan. Oh the Black Sea suitably south of the Ukraine, yay! BTW, who KNEW how many planes there are in the sky at anyone time, right? Kinda scary! Unless you’re in Australia..not so many here.
Now there is free wifi in airports so I got an iMessage from Boy Wonder sent from his iPod at each airport along the way. I woke up to ‘we’re in Hong Kong” which had been sent hours ago. I jumped on flight tracker to find they were delayed out of Hong Kong due to the riots and roads closed and people unable to get to the airport. This meant that they were going to miss their connecting flight out of Munich to Marseille, France. I really didn’t want his host family turning up at 8am on their Saturday morning to collect him when he wasn’t there. But it was 1am in France. Hoping, she had her phone turned off, I iMessaged her as she conveniently has an iPhone. She replied saying she’d go to the airport anyway. Uh-oh! I tried to explain in French there was no point.
Then I worried…did we go to the tree planting in the afternoon as planned which would be over the period of when he landed in Munich and had to sort out flights. I wasn’t worried about him; although it is Boy Wonder’s first trip without us, it is his 9th overseas trip and he was with four other students. No, I was worried about the French mum!
But we had an iPhone so we went coastal tree planting where we camp each summer. Things don’t grow fast in this environment–salt, wind, sandy soil, a diminishing rainfall– and after the huge drought of four years ago, many trees had died so we’re replacing. The first hour was uneventful; dig, plant, hammer in the tree guard, water, mulch and move on to the next one and then we checked the phone because BW was landing in Munich.
There was a message from France…’What flight will he be on? We haven’t heard from him.” (that would be because he was still in the air. Did I mention how far away Australia is 😉 An email from Lufthansa, “The flight to Marseille is now this…”
So commenced a lot of iMessages flying between Australia, Germany and France and I was stuck by the fact I was sitting at the beach looking up flight times and texting around the world and HOW DIFFERENT that is from when I was an exchange student way back in the day when there was no contact at all until a very expensive international phone call when you finally arrived.
Even four years ago, there wasn’t free wifi in airports. I had no clue where The Lad was until he’d arrived.
So Boy Wonder had four hours in Munich airport…we finished planting trees, came home, had dinner, watched TV and at 9pm our time, we got an iMessage and photo. He was in France! It only took him 35 hours from our front door to his new French front door!
Now I have to rein in my texting to a letter on email once a week so he can fully enjoy his time without his hovering mother. Did I mention I have the France time on the computer? The Aix en Provence weather? Google Earth where he’s living…
So now the challenge as a parent is to give your kids the space they need to mature and learn so how do you juggle the ability to be in constant contact with the need not to be?
Oh and book news?
Montana Actually , Book 1 in the my new Medicine River series is up for pre-order now at ALL online bookstores. Both the print and the eBook version are currently reduced. Buy Links to all stores are here.
What’s it about? Take one sexy but uptight city doctor, one country woman who knows her way around a tool-box, throw in a hunky cowboy, a lot of cows and the spectacular scenery of the Montana rockies and that’s some of Montana Actually.
New York Times bestselling author, Catherine Anderson said, “This is a funny, sexy, and heart-warming novel that I feel is a must – read and a keeper. It made me laugh. I loved each character, and wish I could visit Bear Paw.”