A pause in my regaling Spring Break tales, for real-time updates: my Dad is here, in Scotland, with me. This may have been swept under the finish line of my every blog, but it’s certainly not been swept under the rug in my in-person life. Would have to be a large rug. My father clears six foot five. That’s more than two meters, in the UK.
It’s been such a delight to take him around my town; we’ve had Mum’s famous bangers and mash, scaled the Scott Monument, touted about the castle, and even made our way to the summit of Arthur’s Seat today. Somehow, having a two-metres-tall chunk of the home in my heart in the home of my life now bridges the distance.
I’ve grown up wearing a sweatshirt three sizes too big (’twas made for a man three times my size) emblazoned with the APIM study abroad logo from 1989. Wearing the legacy of my father’s Grand European Tour, where he traveled with nothing more than a backpack and a man, whose name as far as i can tell, was My-Buddy-Mark. The summer he all but snuck into Iron-Curtain-covered Poland and took so many tours of the brewery in Copenhagen that, by the end of the semester, the guides made him give the tour. There was as much free beer as you wanted while walking between the pipes, so it’s no wonder he was a Friday night regular.
These tales have been the fabric of how i imagine my father. I know how i see him, but i think there is always some mystery clothing our parent’s lives before us, their children. A time when he really did understand the woes of pre-pubescent acne and amour, a time when he went to raucous college parties and took overnight trains through central Europe. Since the days of my own wars with astringents and seventh-grade-love-interests i’ve dreamed of traveling the way my Daddy did. Enduring the makings of my own outrageous hostels stories, learning how to live in Europe a world away from the other hemisphere i’ve known. It was his spark that made me first go to Uganda at the age of fourteen, his encouragement that enabled me to return for a summer internship.
This semester has been a kind of culmination in imagining my father. Imagining the man who ate tortellinis in the Alps and went to Aushcwitz with a heavy heart. Learning to cook has been its own microscopic introduction to that gaping vortex of adulthood. Imagining what my Daddy must have looked like doing the same thing enables me to understand him in the present tense more.
But it’s the adventures i’ve always loved best, be they in my mind or in the moving air around us.
So today we take off for the Great Scottish Adventure, destination: every feckin’ where from here to the Highlands. I can’t wait to fall in love with more of this country, and i can’t wait to get to know my present-tense Daddy a little deeper by making our own raucous stories together.
current jam: ‘500 miles’ the proclaimers.