A Gift To Share

I’d spent roughly six hours at the Ataturk airport in Istanbul which culminated in many glasses of cheap white wine and a 1.00am boarding time; it was fair to say I wasn’t looking my best by the time I’d made it to the immigration line in Doha.

The line was long and listless. As we shuffled along one by one, I readjusted my overstuffed carry bag from shoulder to shoulder. I’d been gifted two monstrous Turkish Airlines airplanes that were sitting heavily in a string bag that was cutting off the circulation in my fingers. In my other hand I held my passport, waiting to hand it over and answer the usual questions. I’m Australian but I live in Doha. I travelled directly from Istanbul.

I noticed something familiar ahead of me. The khaki pants of the little travellers school. I looked at the group, thought I recognized a teacher and then began to scan the faces for recognition. There was a group of girls and what seemed to be one solitary boy, they must have been about sixteen or seventeen. It was small group, they were talking quietly, giggling amongst themselves, they all look fresh faced, perky, young. Each had a different coloured passport, but they all shared the same non specific, gentle American accent.

They were third culture kids in their natural habitat. Passport in one hand, luggage in the other.

The first little traveller is off to Sir Lanka tonight. She will hike, trek and spend time with children who live in not only a different country but a completely different world from her. We’ve been and done some last minute shopping today. Gardening gloves, water bottle, a present to give to a child. She’s about to see something that I didn’t really see until I was twice her age, people living in real poverty.

I know that she’s written me a letter and planted it somewhere in the house for me to find while she’s gone. So this, my Lizzie, is the letter I hope for you to find in your backpack while you’re away.

This is what I hope you’ll receive this week. I hope you laugh until you cry from the dumbest thing that will never translate into a story because ‘you really had to be there Mum’. I hope you learn from those around you, not just the children and adults you’ll be working with, but from your fellow travellers. I hope you take photos in your mind and keep them forever. I hope you stay warm, I bought you some red socks at Gap when you weren’t looking today, please wear them. I hope that you stay dry – I know the Disney water breaker is naff but I promise it will keep you dry. I hope you wonder at least once what we’re having for dinner – because we will talk about you at the dinner table every night without fail.

But most of all, I hope that you introduce yourself to someone new, because being around you is a gift my darling. A gift that I unfortunately have to share.

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