Friday, May 3, 2019

Holiday Guilt

Sunburst from the Chihuly exebition at Kew Gardens
Believe me, it's a thing. It starts before the holiday with things to get done before we leave. Be up to date with work commitments (prep and grading), paperwork (taxes, paying bills, filing, etc...) and cleaning the apartment. The time gets shorter and shorter and we leave for our holiday with work unfinished, paperwork in a pile on the desk, and a whisk round the apartment with a lick and a promise. I should have managed my time more efficiently.

There is also the social media dilemma. I don't want to announce, even in emails, that we will be away for two weeks and thereby implying that the apartment will be empty. Of course I could mention my sumo-wrestler cousin who will be house-sitting with his two mastiffs, but that's like protesting too much - a transparent ruse. So I keep quiet and feel terribly guilty that I'm going to disappear from the blog and people might worry that I've been run over by a bus, or worse, lost interest in writing. Thank you Margie from Toronto, for your concern. I do appreciate it under my guilt. And sorry, sorry, sorry.

The truth will out of course and friends write on facebook, "will you be in London for Passover?" I try to ignore these questions but I feel guilty.

And then my friend's mother suggests we meet for coffee over the festival and I would love to see her. I was the recipient of her hospitality, kindness and wisdom as a teenager and it would be fabulous to catch up. I PM her that I'll call her daughter when I get to London. And other friends whom I'd also love to see, message me and I get all future President of America and I cannot tell a lie. But I arrive in London and I don't call them because I remember that I have a 10 year daughter who doesn't want to catch up with all my old friends over coffee and also doesn't want to spend her whole holiday playing on Gandma's computer while I'm doing said catching up. It's a sad situation - guilty if I do and guilty that I don't.

I get lazy about blogging sometimes but I vary rarely miss a Reasons 2B Cheerful post. A week before the holiday I wrote on twitter to the regular contributing bloggers, that I'm sorry I'm always late with mine but I don't usually have time to get to it before Saturday. A couple of the others also said they preferred Saturday and so it was decided to change the R2BC day to Saturday. Then I disappeared for two weeks without telling anyone even though the move to Saturday was mainly because of me. Guilty.

Whilst in London we went with my cousin to see the Chihuly exhibition in Kew Gardens. It was absolutely stunning and deserves its own blog post. Later that day my cousin posted her photos on facebook and tagged me. I accepted the tag without thinking of the consequences and the cat was out of the bag. "Oh, I see you're in London," wrote Mich from Mummy from the Heart (one of the two R2BC hosts). "I wondered where you were?" Sorry, sorry, sorry, I should have told you.

Of course I did intend to write some location neutral blog posts while I was away but with limited computer access and the fact that it's much more fun playing kalooky and watching endless recorded episodes of Escape to the Country until 1 am and then getting up too late to accomplish anything in the mornings, I didn't blog. Moving back into my mother's house brings with it a certain amount of teenage behaviour and the associated guilt about wasting all that time.

About wasting time. We love being in London. We love the weather, we love the parks, we love the supermarkets, we love the tv, and we love shopping in Watford. We also love a day in London proper (as opposed to the suburbs where we live) and other outings like Kew Gardens, Legoland, the theatre, etc... But we don't have a driving urge to visit loads of museums and monuments, or even to be out and about every day. This holiday involved celebrating Passover which revolved around delicious meals at my sister's house with all the cousins and other guests (including two Seder nights), and a lot of going round to people's houses for tea, coffee, or a light supper. We're a bit grounded as we don't eat out at all during the eight days of the festival. But we're in London! Just visiting for a short time! I feel so ungrateful and lazy that we don't make the most of all that culture and entertainment on our doorstep for a short time only. But we don't. This is why I will probably never be a travel writer and another source of guilt.

We travel home on the early morning flight from Luton that requires getting up at 3 am on Sunday to go to the airport. I don't bother going to sleep the night before. We get home at about 5 pm because we're just in time to hit the rush hour as we enter Jerusalem. I then have to go out to the little supermarket around the corner because we've no food in the house. I make some supper for DD, tell her to put her dishes in the sink when she's finished and to turn off all the lights when she goes to bed. I go to bed at 7 pm and leave her to it. She hates it when I do that. Guilty.

I wake up at 11 pm with a dehydration headache. I take a paracetamol, drink coffee, and then drink a large green tea because the coffee didn't seem to work. I can't sleep. I read until 3.30 am, sleep for 3 1/2 hours and turn up for my first day of school exhausted and, actually, late. Guilty.

That night I fall into bed at 7 pm again. Now I've done this to DD two nights in a row. Guilty. I ignore the phone when it rings at about 10.30 so my mum doesn't get to tell me that my brother is engaged. I read it on facebook the next morning. Guilty. I still haven't unpacked and it's now Tuesday. But I have four hours of teaching at college on Tuesday afternoon so I need to prepare those lessons rather than unpack. Guilty. On Wednesday I after school I should have graded all the papers that came in from online courses over the holiday. But it's Holocaust Memorial Day and I want it to be meaningful so I make DD watch a movie about Anne Frank with me. Then I tell her that it's not appropriate to play on the computer or watch You Tube on this night so we both go to bed. On Thursday after school DD has gymnastics until 7.15 pm. We get home at 7.30 and there are three weeks' worth of emails to deal with so no grading tonight. Guilty. Today is Friday and I have to do some grading before Shabbat comes in as we don't work tomorrow. But I will unpack tomorrow - only six days after we came home. Guilty again.

Such a little word yet it generates so much anxiety.


  1. Dump the guilt! There's only one of you and you do what you can. I hope at least some of your time here was throughly fabulous and guilt free. Mich XX

    1. Thanks Mich. Writing it down is like dumping it - same effect. And yes we had a lovely time. xxx

  2. I had a feeling you were away - so glad that you had the sort of vacation that suited you and that you had a great visit with family.
    Chihuly had a big exhibit here in Toronto about 2 years ago - I went to see it twice - just amazing!
    I too love London - so much to see and do - but - I try not to overdo the scheduling. One major thing per day and other days just to wander. And since I no longer do a lot of shopping that also frees up time (all I have to do is load up my tote bag with British chocolate & my friends & family are happy) - I've had some very strange looks from Border Guards when they see what I'm carrying! :-)

    1. LOL, I had a chunk of Stilton cheese for a friend, an already opened and started jar of Marmite and a packet of English teabags in my suitcase. Food is a major cultural issue that has to be satisfied. xxx

    2. OMG - anyone would know where you were born just by those 3 items!! Too funny!
      There is a British series on Netflix - I think it's called "Very British Problems" - it's a bunch of famous people - all Brits- talking about certain subjects and on the program about TRAVEL the two main items that they carried with them were "proper tea" and MARMITE!

    3. Hahaha I believe it. Now I feel like that older couple in the movie Shirley Valentine. They're in the taverna struggling over the Greek menu and to their utter relief, she offers, "chips and egg?"