So… originally we planned to go to Scotland – since my father in law was from there and because it is gorgeous and culturally rich. Unfortunately, the housing prices in Edinburgh are incredibly high, so we can’t go to live there, just to visit perhaps. Instead, we considered other places, from going back to Turkey to exploring Eastern Europe. Because of the political instability in both, we decided to go to Ireland instead. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t know that Ireland was not the part of the UK. Well, Northern Ireland is but not the rest of Ireland. It makes a difference for visas and things.
Generally, all these times in history and geography classes in middle school spent doodling instead of paying attention, resulted in many gaps in my education. But to be here, in Europe, to go from country to country, from city to city, to look at the ancient buildings, to read about the history, talk to people, learn about the cultures, it’s been the best education there is. As kids, we are force-fed information which is irrelevant to our lives. But if we were playing in a little park in suburban Sevilla and the park has arabic name, we would wonder why. We would, hopefully, ask and learn. We can walk around the Spanish streets and see Jewish stars on buildings or arabic elements in the gardens or patios. We can be in the French or Turkish castle and wonder what the people were afraid of to build such monumental defense structures.
I think our kids are just playing around in the castles and the parks, without questioning or learning much. But hopefully some day when they read about Spain or France, or Ireland, the picture painted in their minds will be more vivid and real, and less bookish and abstract. When Phillipe was seven, he visited Europe for two weeks and some things were firmly imprinted on his little brain: the opera house in Vienna, the wooden toy swords in Krakow, the bee house in a natural history museum in Austria. We are ready to bring the kids back as many times as it takes to have them learn about this part of the world. And others.