As many of you know, Husband and I - did I ever come up with a pseudonum for Husband? I do not remember, which is a sad indication of how long I’ve neglected this whole blogging business – anyway, we generally spend two months each summer in Husband’s Home Country. This is absolutely wonderful in that it’s a place that I love, with excellent food and museums and culture and friends, and also the archives where I get all my research done.
But it is also trying in that its culture relies on a much higher degree of mutual interaction and obligation than I’m accustomed to. The most relevant element of this is that we are expected to stay the entire time with my in-laws in their 700-square-foot apartment, which is uncomfortable for us and inconvenient for them, but anything else would be a Public Insult on our part and a Grave Failure of Generosity on theirs. I’m not well prepared for this – as a little kid I rattled around alone in a big house with my parents, since my older siblings were mostly out on their own by the time I was old enough to notice, and I lived alone for most of the 13 years between when I left home and when I got married. So all of this Living with Other People business isn’t a bad thing in itself, but it’s something I don’t have a lot of practice at. My sister said over email that this was a situation best managed by engaging in plenty of long walks and heavy drinking, which I think she meant as a joke, except that unbeknownst to her it’s been pretty much my MO for the past several weeks.
Don’t worry, I do smack myself every time I get too whiny about having a free place to stay in a gorgeous European city. I steadily lose little slices of my sanity over the weeks we’re here, but they grow back. It’s more than worth it, and for as much as I dream of getting back and lounging around in my big quiet peaceful house, by the time we get back, it seems awfully dull and empty without the sports news on at full volume and my father-in-law snoring in his armchair and my sister-in-law gleefully repeating everything she just read on Twitter.
Besides, here are things we have seen and done over the past couple of months, the things I will miss the most when I’m back to my quiet lonely peaceful house: striking landscapes, very very old churches, tasty food, and curious creatures of all sorts.