So my mother is currently on a Danube River Cruise with her boyfriend. Yes its December, just a few days before Christmas, and the Eastern European winter is very cold. My mother is the kind of person who calls me up on a random Tuesday afternoon and announces that she will be journeying to Afghanistan the next day to work at a humanitarian aid project. She once called me to tell me that she was going to climb Mt. Everest, and did I want to join her? I didn’t bite, but my little brother did, and indeed, the 2 of them journeyed to Kathmandu, Nepal, for the adventure. The next month I received an email containing a single photo my mother took while flying in an Alaskan bush airplane on an aerial tour.
My mother was born in 1950, and lived a life of Midwestern conservatism. An unsatisfying marriage, the toils of raising 5 children, and the shackles of suburban motherhood left her yearning to see the world and have her own life adventure, instead of waiting patiently while others had theirs.
So now here we are, she’s in her 60s, divorced, and travelling the world, mostly alone, but sometimes with a companion. Somehow she ended up in the very same far corner of the world that my in – laws live in: Belgrade, Serbia. Unfortunately, my mother didn’t realize until the 11th hour, that her river cruise brought her agonizingly close (100 miles) to my husband’s parents, who reside in Belgrade near the Tesla Museum. Why she didn’t make this connection until it was almost too late is beyond me, but nevermind the rational thought process here, this is my mother, who will probably show up in a blizzard wearing nothing but cruddy sandals and a jersey knit above the knee dress. Perhaps if we’re lucky, she’ll have thought to bring a scarf. I can only imagine the tongue lashing my mom will get from Mama Z if she showed up at the door without the proper winter apparel. Nevermind the fact that she bought a ticket from Vienna at the last-minute to spend the day with them, nope, what’s important will be the footwear. But I digress.
So my mom sends me an email this afternoon essentially saying that she wanted to fly from Vienna to Belgrade for 1 day and then fly back that evening to catch her midnight cruise departure. This would have been great, had it not been a mere 8 hours prior to her proposed arrival in Belgrade, and she contacted me in the evening over there. The in-laws are of course, sleeping and would in no way be prepared to entertain a foreign visitor (their son’s mother in law, no less), immediately upon waking. The in-laws are older and not exactly mobile. And oh yeah, they don’t speak English.
My mother, being penny wise and pound foolish, feels its justified to purchase last-minute airfare to see the in-laws in Serbia, show up practically unannounced in the dead of winter, but tells me that “it’s too expensive to call me”, when I email her to call me, so that we can discuss currency exchange, phone numbers for the relatives, address to the home, what to do in Belgrade, etc. Ahh…mom…
So now, after exchanging a storm of emails back and forth (her on some cruise ship internet port on the Danube river, me in Los Angeles) in which she tells me she can’t open my emails, she can only read the subject line, she’s on her own. It’s 7 AM in Belgrade, and her flight should be touching down within the hour. Dobro Doshli u Beograd, Mom, I hope you have a great day. 🙂