Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bad Day 322--Wheels up!

Wheels up parties are somewhat of a tradition in the Foreign Service after a big (or difficult) visit. They are usually hosted at the Marine House and involve lots of liquor and can be quite raucous  or so I've heard. I myself have never been to one because I have never actually worked on a big visit. In China, we had too much work, and in Korea, I was always "essential" and by essential I mean available to answer the phone. The only time I ever got to work on a big visit was when I volunteered to take a shift at the control booth. Late at night. On a holiday. Totally not kidding about that, but at least I was answering the phones for a real reason for once, not just to tell people things they could and should have read on the internet.

I have worked on a couple of visits, but they were very low key. My favorite was the one very senior officer who said she didn't really want a control officer, but would like someone to take her to Starbucks and chat with her while she waited for her next meeting. Then she showed me around her suite in the hotel because the hotel upon hearing who she was upgraded her and she thought it was funny. And she told me she liked my jacket. I liked that visit a whole lot, so there was no need for a wheels up party. I have decided that if I ever become that senior (which is unlikely, but a girl can dream) I would definitely be that kind of visitor.

We don't have wheels up parties exactly when Husband leaves, but we have sort of made a tradition of going shoe shopping and then out to eat. Listen, whatever it takes to keep the children distracted so they stop sobbing is OK with me. AND today's outing (after dropping Husband off at the airport for what we hope is his last ever trip to Afghanistan) was suggested by Child 2--she of the 100 pairs of converse. You know, the tomboy. She is the one who wanted new shoes. She has a new yellow seersucker dress and she needed white eyelet shoes to go with it. Like these.

So we all went shoe shopping and she found the perfect pair. Then we tried to find something at the craft store to help Child 3's beluga whale model have moving parts and we were completely unsuccessful. I will try at the hardware store tomorrow if I can't find anything on Amazon tonight. And then we all went to Red Robin and had the usual. We all always order the same thing each time (not the same as each other, but the same thing we each ordered the time before) because we like it and it makes us happy, but Child 1 says from now on she is getting a mint-brownie shake because she tried Child 2's and it was delicious. I will take her word for it because you know all about me and brownies and how I can never ever eat them again. Not even one.

This teenager in China is having a worse day than me. His parents took him on a dream vacation to Egypt where he visited Luxor and did this.

If you can't tell, those are the Chinese characters for "Ding Jinhao was here." Yes, he actually carved his name into the facade of a temple that is thousands of years old, and apparently his parents did not care or didn't pay attention. Well, they are paying attention now because someone else saw it and felt ashamed and posted it on a social media site in China where it promptly went viral because people were outraged that some bratty kid would do such a thing. Then someone recognized who it was and now his parents have made a public apology, as they should. Because when it comes right down to it, if you have the kind of child who likes to destroy public property when he is bored, then you had better keep an eye on him when visiting ancient monuments. And honestly, why is it that he didn't know this was a bad thing? Obviously he wasn't very excited to travel to Egypt or very respectful of its history. I know Child 1 is dying to go there and if I ever take her, I can promise you she would be so in awe of the beautiful carvings that she would never, ever think of defacing them. So thank you, Bratty Teenager, for reminding me how lovely and respectful my children are of other cultures. May you take a lesson from your countrymen and women and be more grateful the next chance you have to partake of someone else's history. And may your parents never pay for another trip because you really don't deserve it.

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