Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I see London, I see France; or, priming the pump

I have always wanted to be a rich aunt who is a benefactoress. As a child, I read stories about young girls who are pulled out of their families and sent off to live with the rich dowager aunt. I identified with the aunt, even as a child. One of the biggest frustrations for me as I struggle with money is that I can't do things for other people, but I still believe that someday I will be in position to do so. I have dreamed of paying for my neice(s) to go to Europe since I was 16-years old.

Ever since my niece, Kaya, was born a little over nine years ago I have been plying her with stories of travel. I sent her postcards of exotic places long before she was cognizant, much less literate. She has gifts and postcards from the UK, Europe, Boston, New York, Austin and others with fantastic tales of all the fun I am having that date back to times when we were still counting her age in months. She fetishizes the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben in a way that makes me proud, and I know it is only a matter of time before she begins to want to see them for herself.

When Kaya and I go on the internet I take the time to show her distant lands and all the joys of travel. She is an anxious shy little thing and is timid about everyday activities. She will not talk to strangers, and most social situations can send her into small panic attacks. I like the idea of showing her that her world is so much bigger than she can imagine because I know that seeing herself as a part of something so grand, and so vast, may just make talking to the grocery clerk seem a bit easier. At least that is the theory. As a result of my efforts, she has a pretty good handle on geography, world landmarks, and folklore; at least a good handle for a nine-year old American girl.

She and I were in World Market (of course) the other day and among the items she picked out as possible Christmas presents were an Eiffel Tower snowglobe, a Big Ben paper weight, and a wall-map of the world. I said to her as we talked about her choices, "Wow, you seem to really like those landmarks. Maybe I will take you with me the next time I go to Europe." You would have to know her to understand exactly how that statement both thrilled and terrified her at the same time. She looked at me with her eyes huge with excitement, "I don't think my parents would let me do that." And I thought, well, that isn't a no now is it?

1 comment:

  1. I have no idea how I missed this post. Anyhow, Kaya and I? Oh, so similar. If I ever travel the world, maybe I'll have to take you with me.