A mild panic has set in at chez goalchasers. It’s now two days until my mother arrives in Edinburgh. Tomorrow is my last day at my voluntary work before going on the big trip and on Friday I am graduating for the very last time.
The biggest stress factor is obviously getting our flat ready for my mum. We’ve been cleaning the house with a fine tooth comb (sometimes literally) so as to pass the ‘mother inspection’. This is the first time she is going to be staying over night with me. She has visited three places of abode before but the first two she refused to stay over at (because I shared with a boyfriend and she didn’t approve of that at the time) and the third I didn’t arrange for her to because, you know, she did refuse the first two times. I am worrying about everything from what food to have in and whether we need to buy new towels.
I’ve also been putting extra hours in at my voluntary work. I know it’s voluntary but I can’t be casual about any work I do, so I have been doing extra to ensure that my part of the project is completed in the best possible way before I abandon them for 2 and half months. I will sorely miss my friends there as they are just the most amazing bunch of people.
My genius plan of learning the very basics of 5 languages I’ll need for the trip in 5 weeks have been totally abandoned. I managed to get through French and Spanish, but I crashed at the Italian. I don’t know if it was because I wanted to learn Italian too badly, or that it’s simply the curse of the ‘third language is always the hardest’. I am finding it difficult to keep all the words I learn for each language compartmentalised. In my brain, ‘please’ is now ‘por favor’ in any language. I’ll try and learn some more on the road.
My ‘roughly planned route’ have been changing almost daily. I’d speak to someone about a wonderful city they have been to or see a film about somewhere and I am flipping through the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable book again, finding out how to get there. Some cities have been abandoned (for example, Geneva because my entire reason for going there – the Red Cross Museum – is under renovation until 2013) and others have been added (Toulouse, Marseilles).
Even though I have spent countless hours pouring over my luggage already, I continue to waste time staring at it, trying to shave an item or two in order to get rid of 100 more grams. My backpack now weighs 4.6kg fully packed, but its weight is like that of a really bad yo-yo dieter. I keep taking things out, putting them back in, rinse and repeat. I am also petrified of seeing what my mother is planning to take with her ever since she informed me that she’s bought a 40 Litre backpack.
One great thing that has come out of this is that my mother and I are both putting far more effort into communicating with each other and supporting each other through our character flaws. I fessed up during one three-and-half-hour-conversation on the phone to her that I will very loudly implode and have a melt down if I have to make all the decisions all the time. Yes, I am a decision maker but I need a break from it every few days. I feel enormous pressure to get it right and that some how the world will end if I make the wrong decision. She agreed to make some of the decisions so as to not to overwhelm me, but pointed out that I need to a) learn to be more relaxed about getting stuff wrong and b) that I will have to suck it up if she makes a decision I don’t like. Thank goodness for the wise wisdom of mothers that sees right through their daughters.