At home, we always leave a key in the inside lock of our front door. That key has been there since we moved in 4 1/2 years ago. It’s an old door, and that’s the only way to lock it when we’re home. It’s also the only way to lock the door from the inside of our apartment in San Sebastian. But here’s what we learned on this rainy evening at 9:15pm, after we’d left to go to dinner, and I’d run back upstairs to retrieve my phone: If you leave the key in the inside lock of THIS front door, you will need a locksmith to reenter the apartment.
Being stuck outside in the rain when it’s just you and your husband could be kind of romantic. It could lead to a night of adventure, something you’d tell dramatic stories about years later. Being stuck outside in the rain with two young children is an absolute catastrophe.
And thus we re-learned a lesson we sometimes forget: Travel is hard. Travel with two kids under 5? It’s even harder.
I’ll admit it: The trip over here made us cocky. The kids slept through our flights like angels. They delighted at each new plane. All three of them. They dozed in airport waiting lounges, charmed fellow passengers, shared their airplane snacks. They were thrilled with the color (silver!) of our very Euro rental car. They oohed and ahhed with us at our oceanfront apartment.
“Why would anyone think this was hard?” we asked ourselves. “It’s downright blissful.”
You know what’s not blissful? Dealing with two jet-lagged, off-their-routine children when you’re in the same situation yourself. Derek just wants to nap. And all I want to do is complain about the fact I’m currently mostly deaf in one ear because I flew with a bad head cold and it still hasn’t popped.
But I can’t languish in self-pity because, out of the ear that actually works, I hear Harper refusing her gourmet Spanish pintxo (that’s Basque for “tapas”) in favor of a PB&J, despite that the fact that the PB portion of that sandwich is largely unavailable on this side of the Atlantic. And when I realize we’ve forgotten Walker’s swim diapers and go to the Pharmacia to try to buy some, the pharmacist replies with something along the lines of, “That’s a stupid American custom we don’t abide by over here, you high-maintenance idiot.” (My Spanish is terrible, but that’s definitely what her expression read.) “Look at that ancient church!” we say. “We want to watch Curious George,” they reply.
Every family has their rhythm, and we’re going to find ours. But for now, I’ll just be happy that we were able to find an after-hours locksmith.