LAURA CARTLEDGE: Forget meeting the parents – it’s time to introduce you to a country...

Laura Cartledge.
Laura Cartledge.
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HOLIDAYS are not just about the time you spend away, are they?

There is the pre-departure panic and the waiting whirlwind when you return.

After whiling away last week nestled in the fir-tree hills of rural Germany, I don’t feel like my feet have touched the ground.

Don’t worry – I am not after sympathy. It’s just hard to explain.

But all I know is the result is this might not make much sense.

Cut off from everything, it was the perfect escape.

However, as a result I am still plugging back in.

Television seems so flat when you have spent evenings wrapped in the pages of a good book.

Driving is an overlooked luxury after getting almost everywhere by foot.

And there is an invisible sense of urgency, making phones ring and emails ping and clocks tick faster.

Despite having lost count of the times I have been to Germany – I’ve been travelling there since before I could walk or talk as my granddad used to live nearby – this was different.

And there is only one things I can put it down to as, in a way, I took new eyes to somewhere so familiar.

Some people might introduce their partners to parents, friends and even pet goldfish that have one eye bigger than the other and like doing headstands.

But having done all that, I decided to introduce mine to a whole country.

Places can have an importance which is hard to put your finger on. This means sharing them is strange.

I’ll admit I was more nervous than at our the first joint-family dinner.

Niggles of ‘what if he doesn’t like it?’

Quickly followed by ‘he better like it!’

I was feeling a mixture of protective and selfish at the same time.

But there was no need to worry. Unless you count our German friends now referring to him as the ‘son-in-law’.