My daughter saved her money and asked her relatives for cash for her 12th birthday in June 23. She broke her first one dropping it on the sidewalk (more than once).
She carried it through Paris, in its brand new puppy protective case I bought her last week. She snapped photos of IM Pei’s pyramids.
Six flights. Two different airlines. Four hotel rooms. Eight days. Multiple continents.
She filmed video of trees in Russia. She recorded herself in airports making silly faces under time lapse.
She played her video games recklessly and typed notes in the Pages app and listened to music.
And as Air France flight 0054 between CDG and IAD landed, I suggested she put it away. I didn’t want her to miss touch down of the huge A380.
In the car, halfway to DC, she gasps, “Mom, I left my iPod.”
She searches her bag. I search her bag. M searches her bag.
We email Air France’s lost and found. It bounces. We try tweeting to Air France US. “My daughter left her iPod on 0054 between CDG and IAD 8/20. Email to lost and found bounced.”
My husband then tweets her ticket info. We also get the number for Dulles.
We make the child call. The voice menu suggests using the Internet and directs her to a different number if she wants to talk to a person. She doesn’t have a pen ready so she has to call again.
She gets the number. She calls that. It’s an answering machine. She leaves a flustered message but she can’t remember her phone number. She gives mine rattling it off so quickly I can’t understand her.
I make her repeat it.
It will be a miracle if the iPod returns. But perhaps some good soul will find it. Perhaps someone will restore some of my faith in the human race.
In all fairness, my daughter may be a kid and an American but she is an amazing traveler. So here is a list of ways my daughter has impressed me:
- She has lived for a week out of a very small carry-on suitcase and her school backpack.
- She has dragged that baggage through airports, train stations, subway tunnels in two continents when she had never even been in an airport before.
- She has kept up with two active adults, walking 8 to 10 miles a day. Often dragging the suitcases.
- She has tried really really hard to eat new things and not react poorly to them.
- She has been so open-minded and suddenly understands that the world is small, the media is not always accurate, and that cultural difference can be lovely.
- She started the trip shy towards other language speakers and she’s opening up. She’s repeating phrases and trying to communicate. And I think she might be motivated to learn another language.
- She has not complained. Even when exhausted and hungry.
The travels have commenced. I’m successfully boarded on Amtrak’s 6:55 a.m. train, the Northeast Regional, my regular hook-up between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
My day started early, with a random phone call for the second night in a row from Pakistan. Don’t ask me who it was, I didn’t answer. Normally I don’t take my phone into my bedroom but I thought it easier to use it for an alarm rather than change the real clock. Even though I had the ringer silenced, the vibrating phone woke me at 1 a.m.
And because I am traveling today I had trouble getting back to sleep. Part of it may have been the cats hogging the bed.
At 4:11, I got up. Husband got in the shower. I went down for a glass of juice. I hear movement upstairs and sure enough, my eleven-year-old comes down the stairs.
To tell you the truth, I was happy to see her. I hate the idea of leaving those I love without a final round of hugs and kisses.
We left the house at 4:30 so we could stop at Wawa for coffee. Child was thrilled to get a hot chocolate. I was disappointed they hadn’t started making egg sandwiches yet.
We arrived at Gayle’s house. Gayle drove me to Philly, as I laughed at her stories of errant students and she laughed at my tale of my daughter helping me pack and her reaction to my many styles of underwear.
And now, after 20 minutes at the gate next to the business class dude who couldn’t stop talking for 30 seconds (“My father fought in WWII and was recalled for Korea.” “Did you know Jersey Mikes has hundreds of locations?”), I am on the train with a 20-something girl silently listening to her headphones.