This week, we made our way from Greece to Lille in Northern France. Talk about a change of scenery! From 90° to 65°, from sand & white to red brick, from Mediterranean to northern food. As good an opportunity as any to share with you some thoughts I’ve had on adaptability.
Traveling with a 16 months old has definitely been a lesson in
adaptability for everyone involved. I should say I am very lucky and grateful to have a
toddler that falls asleep in 3 minutes in any bed, takes naps in the car when convenient,
and will eat, or at least try, just about any food, which has made me incredibly proud.
Adaptability has got to be
one my top priorities for Pablo. I think it’s a key component to becoming
a happy, flexible adult. Being adaptable is another, less poetic way to
say open-minded. It means accepting the world around, looking at it, letting it
in, as opposed to trying to bend the world to what we already know. And nothing
like traveling, to teach open-mindedness and adaptability, whether it is with
food, environment, people, weather, activities, schedule. And as much as I expect Pablo to adapt to this new life while
traveling, starting with Greece (a place where rhythms are very different than
in the US, eating dinner very late, napping mid-day), I have also learned to
adapt to a different schedule and a different type of vacationing with a
toddler. I have been more lenient with table manners (oh how I missed the high
chair in Greece…), Pablo wandering around with his 18 months old cousin Margarita, eating
a piece of tomato here, a piece of bell pepper there… There was way more
snacking than I would allow back home. But I adapted, because I didn’t want to be
stressed and spoil both our time. What kind of lesson would I be teaching him
in adaptability if I couldn’t myself be open-minded and flexible?
I think young children can be incredibly resilient, and we may often times underestimate their ability to handle change and transitions and new environments. Perhaps it is us adults who sometimes have a hard time with change and pass on our discomfort to our children. Just like many foods, if we expose them to it very young, it will become part of their world. And when you think about it, life is nothing but changes and transitions, isn’t it? The world is there to be experienced, and home is where love is, and I think this is one of the essential lessons Pablo is getting out of this trip, as we go from friends to friends, all with different styles, and different lives, but all with the warmth of friendship in their smiles as they welcome us into their homes.
I would like to share a specialty dish from Northern France, made with a local cheese called Maroilles, which may be substituted for another strong cheese in your area. I still remembered this wonderful dish from a few years ago when my friend Linda made it for me on my last visit to Lille. And Pablo had to have a taste this time as well. It is ridiculously easy to make, and just delicious, though admittedly not the lightest of meals… But once in a while, you’ve just got to succumb to cheese and cream… Pablo certainly did, and he loved this dish.