looking at meraki, you see an RV with its universal patented look: curvy streaks across the body, maroon and gray with the Dalmatian dog panting above “Coachmen Freelander.” The ass of mer sticks longer from the rear tires, giving you indication that it’s bigger than 26 feet long. The only sign of character you would see is “yes, I am the cat lady,” magnet stuck on the cover case of where propane releases when using the heater.
That pretty much reflects the outer part of who we are. If I had it my way, there wouldn’t be a sticker of some curvy sorts. Fuck conformity. There wouldn’t be that out of breath Dalmatian hovering over the word “Coachmen” (sexist much?). The only thing I am okay with is the term, “Freelander.” Otherwise, it’s just a manufactured crap telling us its sticker price’s worth. She’s far more storytelling than that uniformed look.
She’s our home and inside that manufactured body, she holds hundreds, if not, thousands of memories that will last forever.
Now, as I sit outside with my coffee and enjoy this gentle Texan breeze, I just thought of an idea. I want to find a decal to add a cape on that dog (that breed is known to be Deaf, did you know that?), with a tiara on its head and to add two letters “w-o” in between the h and m. Then whoever notices those slight creative adjustments would definitely get insight of who I am [we are].
As a liberal Californian mother of three boys who have Jewishness in their blood, going into the Deep South had some reservations from me. Especially when the majority of them voted for Trump. Not just voted, they believed in him. When doing so, they believed in so many things that basically decry on the very humane aspect of love and humanity. When one goes against it, how is it possible for them to have a speck of iota of spirit in kindness (when they are extremely conditional and selective)?
Needless to say, my judgment and reservations toward the people of the Deep South is harsh, filled with bitterness and resentment… and disbelief. Trumpets, I call them. When I call someone a “Trumpet,” consider it the deepest level of offence I can offer, with such disdain. To this day, I still hold them accountable for the hatred we have in our society, especially to the people of color, to the people who want to love equally and ultimately, personally close to my heart, to the women.
We were knee deep into the south the past few months. I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s with profound sincerity when I say this, the Deep South has the heart of the country, but it’s so flawed. They were the friendliest, sweetest, kindest and charming bunch. They were patient, they were helpful, they handled our Deafness far superior than those people in the blue states. It shocked me to the core. Everywhere I went, be it a drive thrus or at a general store in the middle of nowhere, they all somehow knew sign language. They all called us “honey” or “sweetie.” They did not make me feel inferior, but rather treated us as a revered novelty. They welcomed us as if we were family members and offered us kindness even if we were complete strangers.
But, how in the world can they be as heartless as my label, “Trumpet”?
The other day when Oisin made a new friend with a complete stranger, I sat and watched them play and chat together. The boy’s mom was also watching. We waved at each other and I went over to her and we started talking. It was beautiful, us getting to know each other, and my son getting to know hers (they were talking about the book titled, “wrinkle in time.”). She asked me if Oisin’s name was Irish and I almost started telling her that my kids’ names all had both ancient Gaelic and Hebrew names because they are of Jewish descendant. I hesitated and decided to jut say, “yes, we chose ancient gaelic names.”
She smiled and looked at our boys, the sun was descending, it was super warm and you could see both boys laughing as they were trying to communicate.
It was beautiful, but my fears in telling her that my boys are also Jewish disturbed me. I don’t think that the mother realized that she made me feel uncomfortable in the fact that I would have potentially endangered my boys if I told them that they were not just Irish, but also Jewish. To be fair, she probably is a kindred soul and not deserving of my assumption.
That’s how it is here, for me, in the Deep South. As sweet as their iced tea are, they coated sugar over their self-serving steeped beliefs into what makes America Great. Being sweet and all, but totally going dark on what really matters and that is, being a humane human.
One year isn't even enough. With such a limited time frame, we are pressed to move upwards, into the cold zone. I am trying my best to be appreciative of the fact that we are living as a full-time family, but honestly, the weather was such a crappy friend on most of our trip. I mean, we had deep freeze for most of our stay at our beach resort (this never happens they claimed), then we had the wacky cold weather that started snowing out of no where when we were in DC (that is such a weird weather!! they said)... oh and the south carolina farm? "It's been raining and so cold, which is unusual for us." *eye rolls* Apparently, the cold front pretty much followed us throughout the entire trip.
And now? We are following it because we have to go north. If you hear a frustrated growl emitting from a lady, it's from me.
Well then, if this trip taught time one thing, it's that planning ahead can be a bad idea and not planning well pretty much has the same result. I know that seems confusing, trust me, it's the truest way I can describe the rv-planning. Best thing we can do is to shrug our shoulders and try and make the best out of it.
We headed into eastern parts of Tennessee, fully aware of 20's-30's temps for the week. I've pretty much given up on having any hopes of us sitting outside of Meraki and eating our meals at a picnic table with an idyllic weather.
I knew it'd be cold and that there was a possibility of snow at Crossville, Tennessee. What I did not expect was the beautiful snow that graced us this morning. I was thrilled when I saw thick snowflakes floating down and everything looked so clean and peaceful, so excited that I woke my boys up (Eitan, being a tween he is, went right back to sleep). I am glad I did because it was short-lived. Literally, within an hour the snow was gone.
Then new problems came up.
My boys noticed water dripping from the window frame in my bedroom. We never had that issue with all THOSE rain and cold weather we've had lately, today was the first time it happened. I realized that the snow on top of Mer melted and pooled into one specific area, which obviously got right into a crack in the window frame. I went up on the roof and put a towel there, a very redneck DIY approach, and the leaking stopped immediately.
I thought to myself, it's official, it'll always be a "Today's weather is a 100% chance of Be Shitty to Meraki."
It looks like I gotta take out the window frame (Fulltime Families on Facebook said it's easy to do) to dry it, putty it and caulk it, but I cannot do it because I need someone else to "catch" the window as I pop it out. Errrrmmm. The "resort" we are at (laughing so hard) is in the middle of nowhere and we're the only ones there. Guess I gotta wait until the next resort, as it's much bigger and sorta fancy. I'm sure there will be someone who will help. This will add another notch in my belt of being a handy RV Lady.
Anyway, I bid thee farewell to the south, to any possibilities of warmth, thanks for a fabulous time. And now, onwards to our other half of the journey up into north pole.
And so, just like that, half of the year just arrived. Are we wiser? Travel worn? Wanting more experience? Ready to go home? Not ready to go home? We're all of that.
A dear friend of mine asked me a question in a way that nobody else ever did. I mean, people have asked about why I am doing this trip, how did I think of this trip, etc etc etc. But when he asked me with an emphasis of "you" as what did I REALLY want out of this?
I found myself rambling an answer and finally replied, "me. I want myself, me out of this."
And so far, I think I am succeeding with that.
just a mother who fled from society's constraints and is super excited to wake up to the outdoors, remain braless daily and teach her boys the art of boredom and discovery.