The first time we decided to go on a family holiday, a real, conventional, thoroughly bourgeois, package-deal family holiday, the boys must have been about 7 and 9. When we explained to Christopher that we were going to book a week at a hotel in Greece, he was so excited that he ran straight out onto the balcony and started shouting to Paddy, who was in the garden below: „Paddy, we’re going on a holiday! Do you know what a holiday is, Paddy? It’s when you go to a different country, and you don’t have to take any instruments with you!“
According to that definition, our trip to New York next week is technically not a family holiday, because we will be traveling with an instrument that Peter has to deliver to a customer in New Haven. Nevertheless, when Lufthansa announced a special „two for the price of one“ offer a few months ago, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up – a chance for the four of us to go to New York together. Peter recently suggested that we might have rather different views of this trip, as he and I are thinking of it as a family holiday, whereas the boys are thinking their parents are simply paying their way to New York, but both Paddy and Christopher have denied thinking about it that way. I suspect that we all feel more that this is probably our last opportunity to do something so enjoyable together as „a family“ in the traditional, narrow sense of two parents and two children.
Before we leave for New York early Wednesday morning, Paddy has to report to the Austrian army for inspection on Monday and Tuesday. Unfortunately, yesterday he received the very disappointing news that the „service to society“ position in Graz that he had been counting on is now unavailable to him after all. He still has some time, though, since he won’t be 18 until February, so I’m sure that he will still be able to find a good position for himself, where he will be able to make a valuable contribution to society. In the meantime, Christopher has been assigned a date for his first audition at one of the three acting schools he has applied to, on 5 February at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Since it seems that they only take 14 out of well over 2000 applicants, we are not quite panicking yet over the question of how Christopher’s further education might possibly be financed. For now it is enough to just enjoy dreaming and imagining Christopher doing what he most loves to do – even though Christopher, of course, still has a lot of work to do to prepare for the audition and those that will hopefully follow.
So while the boys are technically still at home at this point, emotionally they are already leaving. That being the case, I feel deeply touched and very grateful that they are willing to take a week off to spend with their old parents – in an exciting place, of course, that we are all looking forward to visiting.