And lucky me, it happens to be my house where everyone is converging.
June 22nd is the start of summer. This year, by default we are hosting a mini-family reunion of sorts. What started as a my sister and her children, quickly adds up to lots of people when you count the growing brood of children, attendant grandparent, aunt and uncle.
Even though I woke up at 6:30 a.m. working on five hours of intermittent sleep with a newborn, I’m the first to admit, there is something special of five generations of a family gathering together. Specially designed to drive you insane, you might say.
We are in day one and so far, so good. Mostly giggles as we picked up an aunt and uncle from the airport, the two of whom had made it on their own across the oceans. I had to assess how much we take for granted as people who have grown up with air travel when preparing the travel arrangements for two people in their 70s.
I was on my first transcontinental flight when I was five years old. My nieces were one and two years old. My eldest son was six weeks old.
Living on a peninsula means taking a flight is like hailing a cab.
Wherever your travels take you this summer, I hope they are filled with laughter, giggles, and perhaps the vantage point of a few generations.
That’s right, despite the dire reports on the news of heightened security at Indian airports (the threat level at U.S. airports has remained at orange for several years running), and the recent macabre events in Mumbai, we are going for a week to one of the most famous beach-tourist spots in India.
I was ambivalent about this particular choice of vacation spot in October, when the choices included other places in Asia.
But now our choice has become a part of global politics – should we or shouldn’t we change our plans based on what a militant group plans? Given a choice, knowledge that something might happen, which those people in the Taj didn’t have, what should we do?
Its ironic that living in Qatar, in the seat of the Middle East, across from the shores of Iran, none of these questions have previously been brought to bear on our daily lives. In an abstract fashion maybe: as we watched the ex-pats evacuating Lebanon or heard the stories of friends fleeing the bombs of summer 2006. We nodded and said to ourselves, yes, life is precious, nothing is guaranteed, and that could be us.
In fact, just the opposite has been true for the last three years here. Questions of "what if" are soon buried under piles of work and the mass commericalism of new Versace or Gucci shops opening up.
But these recent events in Indian have made me consider avoiding tall building or hot vacation spots. Is this a way to live?
Instead my husband and I have decided to put into hyperdrive our constant travel policy: get your house in order, kiss your loved ones, and go. Call it fate or destiny, we’re moving on with our lives, in support of the Indian economy and the right of civilians everywhere to do what they had planned.