Straighten Up

We hired a kayak for the last few days at the beach. The second little traveller wasn’t able to put her head under water after her ear operation and the kayak was a lifesaver.  G and I went out in it together, we argued about how far was too far out while my paddles awkwardly banged into his. We are not a shining example of team work when it comes to water sports. It all came to a spectacular finale when we tried to elegantly glide into shore and ended up sideways. As G yelled at me to “Straighten up! Straighten up! a huge wave came crashing in behind us and dumped us face first into the sand. I still have the bruise on my thigh where the kayak and I collided. It kind of feels like it shouldn’t be here, that bruise belongs in Australia.

I stood in front of the mirror this morning inspecting its progress, it has now transformed from a juicy purple to a stretched black and yellow, it will be gone soon, as will the hint of sunburn on my knees. As I moisturized I listened to the announcer on ABC Adelaide talk about the heat and the maximum temperatures reached for the day. A ball-boy had passed out at the tennis. It was late afternoon for her, yet my day in Doha was just beginning. Having a Sonos radio allows an expat the greatest of geographical schizophrenia indulgences, close your eyes and you’re just about there, but you’re not really.

I turned to grab my warmest winter tights, new boots that I’d purchased half price in the summer sales, and cable knit from the wardrobe. Jetlag had had us out walking the dogs as a family at 5.30am. As I pushed the smallest little traveller’s hood over his head I winced at the glaring example of my poor parenting, grateful that our new location meant that I’d be able to hide the skin peeling on the back of his neck – I’d missed a bit in the sunscreen application.

In a couple of days my tan will be gone, Henry Hotdog’s skin will have heeled and we’ll talk about last summer with less regularity. Every day life will resume.

This morning at 4am I listened to G tap away on his laptop.

“Shit!”

“What?” I murmured trying to convince myself that I was actually still asleep.

“I’m the soccer coach. I’m just reading through my emails, I’m Fred and Annie’s soccer coach!”

I giggled. The holiday was well and truly over. I wondered what surprises my inbox had waiting for me.

Over breakfast we talked about plans for the day. The first little traveller is staying late after school to complete a math test, the fourth traveller has baseball practice, the first traveller has softball, the second and third will have their first soccer practice.

“Did you sign us up for Cricket?”

“Oops, quick grab my computer!”

“Muuuuuuuum, what if we don’t get in? How did you forget?”

I bit my tongue. Sign ups were at 6, we were all in bed at 6.30. We’d been back in Doha for less than 24 hours. How did I forget? I thought about the wave of jet lag that had hit us all at dinner, the second little traveller unable to keep her eyes open as she’d spooned the green chicken curry into her mouth.

How did I forget?

We’re back in business. Back at work. Back at school. Back at baseball practice. Back at the blog.

The holiday is over, but if I just push my bruise hard enough I can feel the kayak hitting me in the leg as I tumbled through the surf.

Close your eyes and you’re just about there.

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