Life’s a journey, not a destination

Whenever someone comes to visit us, I’m always anxious about making sure we plan outings that our guests will enjoy doing.  With our 14-yr old visitors, I found it especially challenging as what a 14-yr old would enjoy verses a 38-yr old can be somewhat different. Before their arrival, I tried to get them to give some input as to what they like to do and what cities around us they would like to see.  The only reply I got was “Paris would be cool.”

The trip to the beach in Rostock seemed to be a hit, but we got the feeling that touring cities weren’t as thrilling as they may be to old fahrts like Hubby and I.  Although, Paris seemed to be a hit, not so much due to the beauty and charm of the city, but instead the thrill they had in renting bikes and trying to bike as fast as possible down the Champs de lise, and later playing with the 3 lighters they managed to buy from a street vendor before he fled.  But, I have a sneaky suspicion that they enjoyed the sights from the Eiffel tower.

What also seemed to thrill these two boys were taking our bicycles out in our village to collect empty bottles to collect some cash.  They would be gone for an hour or more, often coming back in between to drop off their purchase from the store.  On other occasions they would hang out with Little T taking turns playing video games to help feed his Webkinz pets. 

Having the boys here a big bonus for Hubby and I, as we got to enjoy a late evening walk, dinner out, and an afternoon at the gym. And, with all the playing they did with Little T, that too was a very appreciative break for us.

Many evenings were spent playing cards, soccer with each other and with little T (we’re missing one ball as a result of a hefty kick, but considering it only cost a buck we’re not concerned), then later they would catch up on their Facebook updates, listen to their iPods, and then settle in on the couches for a marathon viewing of movies.  Every morning our living room appeared as if we had a party of 20, but as long as they were having fun, that’s all we cared about. We did have to shut down the lighting of gummy bears, as the smell from the air fresher can they continually sprayed to try covering up the disgusting charred gummy bear smell was even more nauseating.

Even the trip to our local swimming pool was a big hit. For me too, as I got to do a bunch of laps while they played with Little T, and later lounged on the side of the pool while they continued throwing him about (even though I told them they were welcome to hang out in the other pool with the diving boards).  After that, we headed downtown to view a castle, with a stop at a café for some ice-cream (another hit!) and a playground across the street where all 3 boys played, and played, and played at until I suggested we go view the castle before it was dark.

Along the way to the castle, I noticed the two boys were deeply engrossed in a serious conversation, which I discovered was about religion. It was heartwarming to watch these two develop a friendship over the last few weeks, as they didn’t know each other prior to arriving here but seemed to enjoy the time they spent together (at least I hope so!).

 I tried to point out the castle in the distance, which they appeared to see but I wasn’t convinced.  Upon our arrival at the castle, either boy didn’t seem to notice, even after my attempt to announce that we had arrived at our destination.  

As we walked through the castle grounds, I pointed out different things like the following:


Even Little T excitedly showed them the “jail” where the dragon lived.  Around the corner we came upon a tree – the religious discussion took a pause while the 3 boys climbed it (and didn’t seem to notice the young couple off to the left trying to smooch).   We then walked through a church attached to the castle and arrived back outside in front of the castle gate.

At that moment the one boy turns to me and asks “Are we going to see the castle now?”

Maybe this vacation for them wasn’t all about the destinations, but instead just living a few weeks with another family and experiencing different countries and cultures and hanging out with each other.  

We are honoured to be given the opportunity to spend the journey with them.

2 thoughts on “Life’s a journey, not a destination

  1. Heather/Ralph,

    It was two weeks of new experiences and new friendships. I know Ben was really appreciative of you guys doing so much for him and Michael. How many 14 year-old boys get to have that much fun and in Europe? Thanks again for everything.

    Now that Ben has been to Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and now is visiting James in the UK (all in the same year), how can we possibly top that next year???



  2. Very thoughtful story Heather, and one that inspires me as I take time away from work to vacation and focus so much on what our destination might be for those weeks off…I will try and remember to enjoy the journey, every day! lyl


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