NYC

We are in New York City, the love of my life… I had a work meeting, which Lucero attended, and now, nothing really… enjoying ;).

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How to live out of a suitcase?

Lucero and I have been traveling since May. We’ve had few days to rest in between long travels, but they were spent mostly getting over jet lag.

I hate jetlag. Hate it! Never been good at it. It paralyzes me, and the moment I think I got over it, I have this full nighter with zero sleep! Of course, for some cosmic evil powers conspiring against me, jet lag never affects Lucero, so you can only imagine how wonderful it is with our sleep schedules switched. 

I obviously never unpacked our suitcases. They are resting in the bedroom right now, fully packed and ready to roll again. At least we have couple more days before we hit the road.

If you are living out of your suitcase for an extended period of time, your secret weapon (it’s you against insanity) is organization. Make a list with all the traveling items you need. All of them, including that little tiny Lalaloopsy that pops into your child’s mind out of the blue and makes preventing a four year old meltdown while driving on the expressway completely dependent on her appearance. A list is crucial because you only have to do it once and never think about it again. You’ll love having all that mental energy saved up to enjoying your travels.  

Put the items that you need everyday on top, like dental stuff and hair care, and the moment you arrive to your destination, unpack only these items. Never unpack the others. You can use them then put them back neatly into your bag.

Teach your child to drag their own bag and tell her that her mess-making machine is never allowed near that bag. 

Finally, and this is key, since we never really need that much items to survive anyway, be a minimalist. It’s way better to be under-packed than overpacked. Way easier to handle less stuff while hustling around between cars and airports. 

Meanwhile, here’s some beach photos. We spent a whole week at the Outer Banks in NC. We rented a house near the beach with our friends, and had a very beautiful and relaxing time. 

I sat on the beach and wrote in my diary… about… someone from the past.

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#Distractinglysexy

Women, we never have to stop being women, to do science. We can think, we can love, and we can cry. In fact sometimes we can do all these at the same time.

We do not have to become a man to do our job. We never have to overcompensate. The goal is getting a job done, and if a woman is doing it, it will be done, in a woman’s way…

Chasing the boarding pass

Our flight from Helsinki to Copenhagen was leaving early in the morning. 

In Finland, at this time of the year, there is almost no night. There is only twilight. When we were in the airplane returning from Belgium to Finland, at eleven before midnight, I could see the sun just hanging there, being pale, but not going anywhere. It rotates in the sky but sets no where. I had never seen anything like that in my entire life. It was beautiful, and poetic.

Back to our Helsinki-Copenhagen morning flight. We were boarding a small jet, so we had to walk on tarmac to get to the plane, and it was windy and chilly. Right at the moment I was stepping on the airstair, with Lucero and a line of people behind me, our two boarding passes flew off my hand, in the open air. To my dismay, they kept going farther and farther, and faster and faster, between the busing planes. We needed these boarding passes to be able to get back to the States, as we didn’t have enough layover time in Copenhagen to get new ones! 

 Lucero immediately ran after them, uncaring to the busing planes all around. I put all the five items I was carrying- I usually count the pieces of luggage I have at any time, so as not to forget anything while Lucero’s keeping me busy- near the steps, and started chasing Lucero, who was chasing the boarding passes, which were accelerating away from everything. 

 I caught up with Lucero, but now I was too invested to give up on the boarding passes.  

 I said to my daughter, “let’s get them!”. We sprinted fast and far, got both boarding passes, and hurried back to our plane, in triumph, adrenaline and loud laughters. What was surprising is that people who were behind us in the line, stayed in the line and did not get on the plane. Were waiting for us, or watching us? Or both? 

 We got on the plane and all the passengers were smiling and congratulating us! They got quite a show I guess! I and Lucero were still in the rush high, as we’d never been that long on tarmac before, running randomly between planes.      

Now that I reflect back on it, I wonder how no personnel from the airport came out to chase us, as I am pretty sure that was dangerous. And fun…

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(Photo: In Brugge, Belgium)

Shared Bathroom?

I booked, in an extreme rush, a roundtrip flight from D.C. to Helsinki, a hotel room in Helsinki, a roundtrip from Helsinki to Brussels, and two hotel rooms in two different cities in Belgium. 

It was so stressful to maximize savings while minimizing booking time. Well, I did it with $200 less than my budget. Until…. I printed out the reservations, and realized, that the room I booked in Helsinki had a shared bathroom! I looked the hotel up, and it really has a whole-floor shared bathroom! We have to walk all the way down the hallway to bathrooms that have little doors and gym style showers. 

I would be totally fine with that if Lucero was not traveling with me. But, can we stay a whole week like that? I am thinking about the logistics: Would I leave her in the room alone sleeping while I travel to the bathroom at night? Would she be standing with me in the shower, while all the other women shower, for six days? I usually leave the bathroom door open while I shower, so I can hear her playing in the safely locked hotel room. 

I still have not cancelled the reservation, because I haven’t gotten time to. Right now, I am thinking about taking up the offer of a friend of a friend. An old lady, who lives in Helsinki and speaks no English, has offered for us to stay at her place, and she can babysit Lucero while I go to the conference. I still have to figure out how to communicate with her via Facebook. Google translate might help with that..

How does a single mother feel?

Year 1: Lost. Develops a sleeping disorder. High and low. Hesitant to ask for help, even when she’s in desperate need. Not because of her ego, but because she’s at loss, and doesn’t know that asking for help in desperate situations, like when both her and her child have the flu, is an option. It’s totally normal to sit in the hallway after the child goes to sleep and cry it all out. The hallway has to be narrow and dark.

Year 2: “Do children actually grow up, and when exactly do humans become reasonable people?” Because this seems like an infinite stage, especially if the child is strong willed and throws many, many tantrums. She still cries, but in the bedroom not in the hallway. Most of these tears are those of exhaustion, not of loss anymore. 

Year 3: “Oh my child is becoming a little person. Here’s a tantrum. Forget the first sentence.” It is becoming easier, but the single mom is too scared to feel that, lest it becomes extremely difficult again. The reality that the child is growing is setting in, but the mother’s feelings have not caught up yet. She is still traumatized by the previous years. 

Year 4: The mom wonders about her sleeping disorder, and whether it will go away someday. She looks at other two parent families, and thinks, ‘oh these are such whiny parents’. She hasn’t realized yet that she and her child had just survived infant and toddler years, and her child will soon be at school, happy and healthy, she hopes. She is already an expert both on finding competent babysitters, and on taking her child everywhere she goes. She feels sorry for the child’s father, to having missed such precious years of the child’s life. 

She has a fantasy, that when the child is six years old, her role as a single mother will be completely done, because the child will magically become extremely reasonable and independent right on their sixth birthday.

The single mother also realizes that she is exactly in the middle, between being a family and a single person. Most probably, during the past four years, her life as a family has been developed well, through play dates, daycare and preschool. Her life as a single person has been on put on hold. She is starting to realize that she is different. She has made a family, where she works, cooks, cleans, arranges play-dates, and invites other families over for dinners, while still single. She is still trying to figure that out, as her mind wanders the world like a single person, and her child comes along. She’s working hard, for a wonderful future for her child. At the same time, life is settling down, and giving her some space, to fantasize, about her own future life. 

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My bucket list: 12 fun things I want to do before I am 39

1) Have my career set and my life stable.

2) Go to India, Peru, South Africa, Australia, with Lucero.

3) Take a picture with my hair frozen in Canada.

4) Forget the man I loved when I was 32.

5) Meet someone I love more than the man I loved when I was 32.

6) Spend a week on a sailboat, in the ocean, away from everything.

7) Watch surfers in Hawaii.

8) Run Paris Marathon.

9) Have the most romantic date in Paris (dance in a beautiful evening dress under the stars, or at a hotel bar.)

10) Tour a bike friendly city on bikes with Lucero.

11) Swim at a wonderful beach in Italy.

12) Ski in the Alps and in Lebanon.

I can’t bring myself to writing ‘buy a house’. Will I always want to be on-the-go? I really hope not..

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