When I was 8 years old, I was in love with the Little Mermaid. My two best friends had VCRs (we did not) and we watched it nearly every day.
After age 9, however, the first time I saw the film again was in San Francisco last summer. It was on the big screen, in the Castro, round the corner from a bunch of naked men protesting new nudity laws and other tourists in town for Leather fest. We were in the company of young girls in costumes. Everyone had a swag, replete with anything a mermaid fan could want: a clicker to make Sebastian sounds, a dinglehopper for a fun hair-doo, a necklace, a crown, bubbles.....
While watching the film I was transported to all of those feelings I'd had as a child while watching it. When the film concluded, I remembered my confusion at Tritan's sadness. He's worried about "how much I'm going to miss her." As a girl I thought, "but she can always come visit!" Sure, they'd need to hang around near the surface, or she'd need an air tank, but she can still swim around to see her family. As a 30 year old who was living and continues to live 3,000 miles from my family, I experienced the film differently.
Returning to Switzerland left Ivo as wobbly as the newly-legged Ariel. Now that we've settled in we're enjoying all of the beauty of being part of this world. Ivo's been getting career cousnseling of sorts and exploring his options and getting the encouragement that he needs to weather the doctoral storm. We've both been jumping into every work opportunity and have become expert at accepting every social invitation and generally maximizing our here-ness. I'm taking the advice of not giving in to the instinct to tread water and prepare my parenting self and living life childless, knowing that parenthood will come when it comes, but we need to be us until then. That said, we're also shutting out the notion that we may relocate in the next few years, if only temporarily, if Academic oppotunity knocks.
So we dived in and the water's fine, walking around on those - what's that word again - streeeets of Zürich