Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fear of Flying

OK, I'll admit it publicly: I'm scared of this trip.

No, not Germany. Been there, love it. Not the different language, not the different culture and customs, not the different time zone. None of that.

I'm scared of traveling with my dear husband. Why? Because no difference in language, culture, or time zone can compare to the differences between us. We just approach life differently. We always have, and most of the time the balance is a pretty good thing.

But last night, as we shopped for mundane things like a duel voltage hair dryer and quick-drying socks and 8-foot ladders, I realized that we'll both need great patience with each other next month in Germany.

How are we different? Here's how:

1.) He races. I mosey. Especially when we're on vacation, he's on a mission to "see everything on his list" whereas I basically want to just "see what we see and do what we do." His pace is twice mine, so I always end up five paces behind him, throwing in a skip every few yards, just to keep up. This is infuriating. He offered to "meet me half way," slowing down if I speed up. Fair enough, but it's not just a speed thing, it's a philosophical pace thing.

OK, fine. I'll try.

2.) He's thing-oriented and I'm people-oriented. Given the choice, he'll explore things and places -- museums, buildings, historical monuments -- to give him the feel of a country. I, on the other hand would rather have coffee with a local than explore a museum.

3.) He's a night owl and I'm a morning mavin. This might turn out to be kinda funny in Germany, actually. He might get tired at 10 PM and I might stay up all night! But when we travel locally, staying in hotels, we both go through hell because I need to endure the TV at 2 AM and he has to turn it waaaaaay down so I can sleep. I really don't know how this will play out in Germany, especially before we become acclimated to the time difference.

4.) He doesn't speak the language. I do. OK, that's not entirely true. I don't speak German well, but I can muddle through and communicate. Combined with my much more out-going personality and knowledge of the country, this can only translate into me playing the role of "tour guide" and interface. I shouldn't complain, and I'll try to find a way to make that a positive, but I just have a sneaking suspicion that every interaction with every waitress or shopkeeper or hotel clerk will be mine to make and mine to muddle through. I'll come home exhausted, needing a vacation.

I know, I know. I have a bad attitude. I should look at this as a chance for togetherness and rejuvenation. I shouldn't fear it because then it will become what I fear. I know that this is a critical trip for us at a critical time. I know all that.

But I still have a fear of this flying.

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Anonymous said...

Okay, just to sympathize, my husband and I have a similar relationship which works fine at home since we're able to go our separate ways and our separate speeds most of the time.

I think on a European vacation we would just have to go our separate ways for the most part during the day and meet up for dinner and the evening. Could you do that? Maybe you could take off in the morning and plan to meet him later in the afternoon and for dinner?

Michelle said...

I can sooo relate to #1. I keep trying to remind M. that the vacation is about absorbing the experience, not getting things done. Actually, I have to remind him about that in life in general. Most of my vacation photos have him somewhere off in the distance. We walk 5-10 paces apart and when I stop for a photo, he's in the way.

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I don't have your problem; we are pretty much on the same page when it comes to traveling. My problem, however, is that I speak German and he doesn't and the constant translating gets real old real quick.

Rositta said...

WE have the same problem, my husband is up at 7 and sleep till 9, he goes to bed at 10 and I read until 2, he speaks Greek and I don't so he will be translating. Only good thing is my Mother in law speaks English, she used to live in California. I'm not taking him to Germany so I don't have to translate, as for the sightseeing, fortunately he knows my physical limitations and makes sure I don't get overtired. You will have a great time, I'm scared of flying too, it's 13 hours for us and I'm going to hate every second...ciao

Rebecca said...

sounds like you're in for a very interesting time Carol.

Enjoy yourself!!

vailian said...

Having just come back after being on tour with my girlfriend, I know what you are talking about!
I am also a fast traveller, but it works for us because first I race ahead but then want to get a good picture on my camera, which means she can catch up.
You are dead right though about the process of getting into a culture, I worked out long ago that getting to know a few people in a new country gives you a much better insight than racing around the monuments. Even though I was living in London for years, I never got around to seeing the Tower of London or Madame Toussauds... and only got around to seeing the Houses of Parliament because my father-in-law was working there.
Don'tworry about the language thing though, everyone speaks enough English that it won't be a problem for Tom, they love practicing speaking it.
It is often very useful to have different itineraries... it also means you have experiences to exchange.
This week in Scotland, I was the translator, not only for my girlfriend. Her English is very weak (as an East German, her second language in school was Russian) and she was terrified of having to cope,but we discovered that it wasn't a problem. She could always make herself understood. It is much harder for her to speak English to me, because she is constantly asking if her grammar is correct. I keep telling her that it doesn't matter if she makes grammatical mistakes, the important thing is to keep talking! But she has this German thing that you can only communicate properly if the syntax is immaculate. Now she realizes that she can speak English, just not with me! (This has advantages and disadvantages...)

Anyhow it will transpire that you will end up sitting in a cafe with your blogger friends while he and elizabeth race around seeing the sights, but this is not a bad thing.

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