The memories we have are so precious, and some of those memorable moments are made on vacation. Sometimes things don’t go the way we’ve planned. Kids get sick, the hotel smells like mold, the air conditioner breaks and your ocean view would be perfect if you could see through those trees in front of your window. We have all been there, but we don’t post those moments on Facebook do we?
I should have known that our family outing would be problematic. The plan was to go on an eight kilometer bike ride near my in-laws’ house. When we reached our destination, we would stop and take out a picnic basket and enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature around us. My first clue that this would not be the picturesque outing I had imagined, was an exchange between my son Max and myself. “Mom, when is the last time you’ve been on a bike?” my darling son said. “Well Max, I haven’t been on a bike ride since I broke my elbow.” “Oh that’s why you’re fat!”
My next clue appeared when my mother-in-law packed not one serious mosquito spray, but two different kinds. Always very positive and persistent, she smiled at me and said “perhaps there will be some mosquitoes on the way.” My final and last clue was the “road” we were going to bike on. The road was a forest path, the kind mountain bikes go on, with all of the bumps, hills and weeds that go with such a path.
The trip started out fine, Max struggled every couple of feet, he slid into a ditch at one point, and fell quite a bit. It wasn’t long before he got the hang of things and we were on our way. Ryan took the lead with his grandfather. My husband was away on business. After about ten minutes I heard this horrible sound; BUZZZ. I knew what this horrible sound was, the Amazonian mosquitoes that live in Sweden had found their prey!
When I first heard them I was only slightly annoyed, having seriously toughened up while being married into this family. Sweden is a beautiful country but when you venture into the countryside it can be quite buggy. I have learned how to mitigate my exposure by staying near populous areas, the more people, the less bugs. I have never ventured this far off the beaten trail.
Slightly annoyed turned into crazy disgust and panic. When we arrived at our beautiful destination we each had about one hundred mosquitoes sitting on our hoods, heads and arms. An old abandoned cottage stood in the field and my mother-in-law took two chairs out of the cottage and stood them in the field. “Now we shall have our picnic! Here is you chair!”
There was NO WAY I about to sit down and become easy prey! I then proceeded to run into the old decrepit cottage and shut the door. I eventually came out and kept my face down while the others ate, in an effort to keep the swarm of bugs out of my face. Don’t believe me? Count some of them for yourself! This picture is only a small section of my mother-in-law’s arm!
When we were done with our picnic, I jumped on my bike and raced back down the path. I left Max and Ryan with their grandparents and pedaled as fast as I could. The faster I pedaled, the harder I breathed, the more mosquitoes attacked me. I was literally choking! My mommy guilt (and Ryan) then caught up with me so I waited for the group at the end of the path. Upon arriving at my in-laws house we all breathed a sigh of relief. Ryan turned his back to me I could see that he had a smear of dead black mosquitoes down his back. It looked like black paint was splattered on him.
Mentally exhausted, I threw my princess self onto the couch and put Cartoon Network on for the kids. The joys of satellite TV! After a while I felt a tickle in my nose. I reached for a tissue and guess what came out?
Well…at least it was dead.