If life doesn't come with a handbook; where does the advice come from?

There you are. Warm and fed,and cozy and---HOLY MERDE--someone turns on the high beams---and with a scream of surprise, you are born. Welcome to the world Ethan and Theo. It's 2033 and you are my strapping six feet plus tall grandsons with a grandmother who has no advice for you. What a clueless Grandma C am I.

All I can tell you is what worked for me. To follow my bliss, to paraphrase Joseph Campbell. And by the way, that does not mean to follow your sugar bliss point from gallons of gelato or bars of chocolates. No, it means to find what rings your bell. What makes you miss lunch. And pudding, i.e. dessert. And going to the pub.

Born and raised as you were in England, you might wonder how your American parents ended up there, dual nationals with American AND British passports. Wanderlust, that newly discovered gene on some strands of DNA. Some in our family have it, some don't. Or perhaps, it just isn't clicked on.

It all began with Leo, who wanted to get out of the NYC of "West Side Story" schmatta rag trade during his mid-life crisis in the late 1950s; moving his wife and 5 of 6 of his children to Peru. No job. Not much Spanish. And no, the stories of his being the accountant for the Mafia are not true. At least I don't think they are. He did live in Long Beach, next door to the Mafia of "Godfather" fame.

So long story short--Leo took the family south and your Grandfather Goofy was raised in Lima, Peru. He and I met and he brought his blue-eyed gringa down from Texas and made me a legal woman, we got married. At least I think we did. It was in Spanish and involved the Mayor of the area of Lima and a big official book we signed. Years later your mom Jennie was born in Canada. We moved every few years, living in 7 countries in 18 moves.

(Maybe that Mafia story is true?)

When your Daddy Dan said yes to marry Jennie, he also caught a case of the wanderlust. And what's an itchy footed pair of wanderers to do? Get thee to an airport! Jennie and Dan clicked their heels together and wished themselves into a work transfer from Washington DC to the UK.

That's where you two boys came in, or entered. And we are so very glad you did. As children, you traveled with us around Europe or just into London. The 2012 Olympics and so much more. The world is your oyster, but you'll find your Oyster travel card for the Underground and Buses won't take you very far. So think bigger.

Of course, as you know your Uncle Josh didn't get his wanderlust gene activated. He settled with Aunt Christine in Brooklyn. As he has said over the years, when you live in NYC, you live in a foreign land, with a new culture and people just down the block.

So enjoy the voyage of your life while you can, it's a bit like a 3-day CTA pass from our Chicago days. Has an expiration date.

And I guess I am going to break my rule NOT to give advice. It's about dark chocolate. Every so often, eat one piece only--two if you went for a run today, at a time. Try it with a glass of red wine. Just nibble and sip. Nibble and sip.

Just like life.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: London, NYC, Peru

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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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