Days 2 – 4

Chaperoning a school band trip to Disneyland Paris.  Seven-hours on a bus with rambunctious teens.  Oh joy.  To my credit, when the bus stops at the base at the N.A.T.O. Base (SHAPE) in Belgium, I beg off the long lunch line at the bowling alley/burger joint and go for a walk instead.  Choosing to walk instead of eating something greasy feels good.  Choosing to strike out on my own, even for a short time, feels good.  “Mercy Me” plays on my iPod, as their song “Goodbye Ordinary” has become my anthem.  The lyrics just flow through my veins and energize me. 

“Wonder when we first bought into this, so satisfied with status quo.

Have we convinced ourselves that this is all there is?

Well, all that is within me says we were meant to break free.

Live like there’s no tomorrow.
Love extravagantly.

Lead a life to be followed.

Goodbye ordinary,
Goodbye ordinary.”

I walk mostly on grass, circling a huge area of soccer and softball fields.  I am passingly familiar with the area, having attended an AFNORTH Lions soccer game there last spring.  It was windy and cold then too, if memory serves.  So not impressed with the weather in Belgium so far. As the cold wind gusts, I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  Every now and then, I remind myself to look up.  And I wonder, when did I begin walk with my head down, as if to tune out the world?  I didn’t used to.  When I worked outside the home, I had a confident walk; eyes forward; a smile at the ready; filled with purpose.  Back in my days in uniform, I could walk into a room with a camera crew, feel all eyes on me, and feel perfectly comfortable under that scrutiny.  Now, I seem to have gotten used to feeling invisible, and I think it shows in the way I walk.   Why do I feel invisible?  My weight?  My age?  My status as a stay-at-home mother instead of being in the working world?  Maybe all of the above?

I walk for a full half-hour today, ten more minutes than I was able to do yesterday.   Later in the day, I add another half-hour of walking when we hoof the kilometer or more from the Disneyland Paris Parking lot to Planet Hollywood and back again.  A whole hour of walking today. Not bad at all.

The next two days, I spend at Disneyland.  Gobs of people, far too many smokers, insanely long lines, overpriced food, hyper teenagers:  do you need to hear more?  Suffice it to say that there are plenty of great walking opportunities, as mostly I opt to walk around instead of standing in line going on rides.  Weaving in and out of the sea of humanity, getting clipped by strollers, dodging carelessly held candy-apples and cotton candy…I found myself channeling Finding Nemo’s Dori: “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”  

When all was said and done, I calculate that I walked at least 6 kilometers every day.  I was happy that my back and knees held up well on the pavement.  My debit card, on the other hand, was a little worse for the wear by the time we returned home late Saturday night. 

Sunday is a day of rest.  Mass.  A two-hour nap.  A yummy salad for dinner.  Watch a little Star Trek with the family.  Aaahhhh.  Now THIS is the happiest place on Earth.

Cathleen Booth Author

Cathleen Booth


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