26 April 2009

Some of our kids' favourite travel memories

The other day we were talking about eating icecreams. Bendy piped up about visiting an icecream factory. We were surprised, as we visited the Ben and Jerry's icecream factory in Waterbury, Vermont in 2006, when Bendy was just 2 and a bit. Bendy still remembers it. The other strong memory that Bendy has from our America holiday is eating a SpongeBob icecream in Central Park in New York. Bendy actually has no idea who SpongeBob is, as we have no TV, and therefore the only thing she knows about SpongeBob is that he's an icecream character. However, she liked the goofy look of him and obviously its highly memorable for her.

The Bookworm remembers the same day, but not so much in the context of eating icecreams (although she does remember eating the rest of the SpongeBob, because even though it was obviously so exciting and memorable for Bendy, she didn't want to actually finish it!). For her, it was more about learning a bit about the Beatles and John Lennon, in the Strawberry Fields part of Central Park. When they were there, there was a jazz band busking, and the kids really enjoyed listening to it. It took them quite some to get up enough courage to go and put some money in their collection. The Bookworm really didn't want to, but eventually did.

Of course, their other favourite travel memories would have to be from our visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. That will be burned onto their brains and they will never forget it. Indeed, Bendy's new life quest is to visit ALL the Disneylands around the world. Aim high! Just what the Disney corporate executives would want...

When The Bookworm was 20 months old, we visited the UK, Ireland, and Singapore. For a long time afterwards (until the memories eventually faded) her strong memories of that holiday were of the Jacobite steam train on the West Highland Railway in Scotland (also famous as the Hogwarts Express), men on horses in London (the Horse Guards) and a piece of troublesome rubbish that was stuck to the play equipment in Singapore airport. At the time she found this piece of rubbish extremely distressing, and we think that is why the memory stuck with her for so long.

Interesting that all of these memories have strong emotions attached to them. Most were obviously of extreme happiness and even ecstasy, but the distressing ones were equally emotive.

Sometimes people wonder why we take our kids with us on holidays when they are so young. We know that not all the memories that our kids have of their holidays - especially from when they were extremely young - will stay with them forever, but each has a part in shaping who they are. Of course they won't remember things from when they are tiny, but that doesn't make the experiences any less important.

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