Duh, why would I willingly take my parent on vacation, right? Well I was surprised how much could I learn from her, not the other way round!
1. Don't panic!
Apparently once you raise a child, you become so patient that even being stuck at 7AM on sunday upon arrival in Mumbai without accommodation, rupees nor any food or drinks and surrounded by homeless Indians doesn't freak you out. I was the reason she became patient 26 years ago, now she was the reason I learned some patience (I guess I'm ready for motherhood now! ;-)
My mom doesn't speak English and so she was talking to poor Indians in Slovak. At one point I was too tired to translate, but she managed without me. Being nice and smiling all the time was enough to make new friends, negotiate some deals (she is a shopaholic!) and have fun (try to explain stuff using just your hands!).
I always thought older people were more comfy and less flexible. My mom proved me wrong. I was so not ready to use squat toilets, that I rather didn't drink any water for 4 hours during train ride and waited until we got into Pune to use regular toilet at hotel. My mom was used to squat toilets that were all over Romania where she frequently traveled as a child for summer holidays. I was used to perfumed toilet paper, air fresheners and radio playing in bathroom :-) Good news - at my 9th day in India I actually dared to use the squat toilets!
4. Giving makes you happy
I know, nothing new under the sun, is it? I do help whenever I can, but my mom showed me another way. She spontaneously gave her stuff away to people we met. For example - we were walking around museum in Kochi, Kerala with the curator when he pointed at big silver cross inlaid with amethysts displayed among other bishop's outfit. He said he liked the stones and was saving money to get a ring with amethyst. Funny enough, my mom is crazy about stones and wears several of them around her neck and arm all the time. She happened to wear bracelet with crystals and amethysts at that moment and gave it to the curator. I thought he would cry, he was so touched!
5. Enjoying small things
I have never seen anyone so happy when collecting ugly shells on beach or enjoying flowers among river and trees in park as my mom did. At first I was like seen-it-been-there-done-that (attitude I picked up when I lived in NYC), but after some time I started to notice birds around, interesting houses or decoration local people used.
Do you ever travel with parents?How do they enjoy it?And more importantly - how do you manage? :-)