Since I have decided to be more consistent with my blogging, I must do a post about an extremely important event of my life.

I traveled on work to Germany in the last week of February and stayed away from my little son for two whole weeks!This was my first time away from my son(if you discount the single night away on a team building  related trip to Mysore). I knew that he would be fine. I was more worried about whether I would be fine!

The irony of my work life is that when I was willing to travel, travel opportunities never came my way.I have been working with the same company for 8 years and in the first few years ,I eagerly waited for my turn to travel and see the world. Finally after 4 years, I got to travel to the the Bay Area for 2 months. Then a year later I was offered a new role and I was asked to travel to Germany. I accepted.The very next day I realized that I was pregnant with BB and I had to refuse the new role. 10 months after BB was born, I went back to work and I was asked to travel to Brazil. I politely refused . A year later I moved to a project where there was constant pressure on me to travel to Germany. I kept evading it for almost a year and then this year after BB started school and seemed to have settled in, I decided to take up the travel plans.

The 2 weeks in Germany has been a mixed bag of emotions for me.

  • When I planned the trip, I knew that BB would be fine without me as long as long as his Papa was around .PP was told very strictly that late nights at work was a an absolute no-no for the next couple of weeks. But how was I going to survive the  2 weeks away from my son?I bawled my eyes out looking at a peacefully asleep BB just before I left for the airport. Just before I boarded the plane, I called home and BB asked me to not go. I almost abandoned the trip and went back home.But once I was on the plane,  I left behind all my tensions and felt a sense of calm. I decided to  take PP’s philosophical advice and just ‘Live in the moment’. I watched a couple of movies on the flight ( something I haven’t done in a long long time) and just relaxed.
  • I landed late at night in Germany. Next morning, I opened the curtains and looked out to see the hotel backyard and nearby rooftops draped in snow. Apparently it was the first snow after almost 4 weeks and so was totally unexpected.
  • I just loved the cold weather in Germany. I guess it helped that I was there at the fag end of winter and didn’t have to deal with the extreme cold of the peak German winter. I loved the nice brisk 15 minutes walk from the hotel to the office. The cold, crisp air just refreshes you and wakes you up like nothing else does. Since I didn’t have  car, I walked everywhere.
  • The first few days when I called home , BB refused to talk to me. It was his way of conveying that he was upset with me. But other than that he seemed to be have had no separation anxiety or didn’t even ask regularly where I was. He knew that I was away for a few days and I had been explicitly told to come back with toys and chocolates .
  • I enjoyed the leisurely mornings where I had all the time to get ready, have a hearty breakfast, walk the 15 minutes to office and still be in office before 8. Mornings in Bangalore are such a frenzied affair and I never reach office before 9 ‘o clock. After I got back to Bangalore and had to deal with some hectic weekday mornings, I almost wished I was back in Germany enjoying those calm, cold and crisp mornings.
  • A friend R who used to work with me in the Bangalore office moved to Germany a few years back. She lives in the same town with her hubby and 2 kids.So I almost pitched tent in her house and I used the hotel only to get my laundry done and store my clothes :). Most evenings after work were spent at her place catching up on the old days, spending time with her kids, having proper Indian ghar ka khanna for dinner ( with no contribution in the kitchen from me :)) and even staying up late watching movies . R and her family being the perfect hosts dropped all their weekend chores and took me sightseeing and shopping  on Saturday. I think I stayed sane during the 2 weeks because I was so busy having fun with R and her family that I really didn’t have any time to mope .
  • Lesson # 1-I  realized that I am so much more be patient and understanding with others kids than with my own. Simply because when they have a tantrum, I don’t have to deal with them 😉
  • I fell in love with the quaint and romantic city of Heidelberg and for for the first during the trip really missed the hubby.  Its a lovely city surrounded by mountains, set  on the banks of a river, with a famous university and a castle and has the most charming narrow cobbled streets .The main street of the city which also seems like a typical small town cobbled street astonishingly has outlets of some of the most modern and trendiest brands.

The streets of the quaint town of Heidelberg

 

  • To make up to BB for my absence( not that he seemed to care) and to ease the guilt of being away, I shopped like crazy for toys, clothes and chocolates for BB.
  • On Sunday, another ex- colleague who has also moved to Germany took me  hiking up a mountain in the Black forest area and then we visited this beautiful lake called Titisee. Titisee is further south in the Black Forest region and when we visited, there was still snow and the lake was frozen.  We walked around the little touristy town and even bought a couple of cuckoo clocks that this region is famous for.We then stopped at a cafe for hot black chamomile tea and a slice of the original Black Forest cake .Frankly I think I like the Indian version of the Black Forest cake better :D. ( Later on I googled this and realized that the mandatory liquor was the part that I disliked).It snowed on our train ride back and the sight of the swirling snow was beautiful as we sped back to our destination.

The view from the mountain we hiked up

The frozen Lake Titisee

  • The first week was fine, but by the middle of the second week I was dying to hold my son and cuddle him. I was to fly back on Friday and be back in Bangalore on Saturday.I landed in the Bangalore airport and took a office cab back home as it was too early for PP and BB to come and pick me up. I reached home and the MIL called out to BB and PP who were upstairs.BB came running downstairs with PP in his arms. PP was shivering with excitement and could hardly speak. I took him in my arms and gave him a tight hug and a kiss. He resisted all my hugs and kisses, calmed himself to speak and spoke the golden words ‘ What you got for me from Germany , Amma?’. And refused to let me hug or kiss him or kiss me in return till I opened up my bag and showed him all the goodies I had bought for him 😦 And to add insult to injury, he wanted to know where the remote controlled car was. When I told him that I had not bought him a remote controlled car, he insisted that I return to Germany and buy him one. 😥
  • Lesson # 2 ( and the most important one)-As I type this post almost 2 weeks after I returned from the trip, I realize that I am officially dispensable to my son now.Sigh! He asked for me a few times during the 2 weeks, but seemed very content when he was told that Amma is in Germany and would return with loads of goodies for him.
  • Lessson # 3 ( and another very important one)- PP and I have decided not to write all our worldly possessions in BB’s name ever. The materialistic, greedy ladla of ours  like the typical evil Bollywood sons of pure, sacrificing parents will throw us out of our only house  in our old age leaving us to fend for ourselves. 😀
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for me is when the very hungry son wolfs down his lunch leaving me enough time to leisurely have a relaxed lunch.Then we both head up to the terrace where we splash around for sometime in the little puddles of clear water left behind by the pre-lunch showers. BB is a little confused because I am usually the strict disciplinarian parent and he does not know what to make of this cool, fun-loving mom, but slowly he comes to term with it and he displays his joy by yelling  everytime he jumps  into a puddle.We follow this up with some reading and lazing around in bed.Finally  BB relents and succumbs to his pending mid afternoon nap while I catch a movie on my laptop.

I was just wondering why such wonderful afternoons are restricted to the weekends. Shouldn’t I be enjoying all my afternoons in the company of  my son instead of spending my whole day sitting through endless, meaningless meetings or staring at a computer screen?

Yes, yes the never ending guilt of a working mother. 😦