My regular reader and critic, has warned me that my articles have correct opinions, that are useful but seem quite preachy and that it would be better if I gave examples, not ready-made conclusions.
The critic is my daughter and since I trust the most the opinion of my children, I accepted the criticism appropriate, so I am going to give you example on the subject, and you can make your own conclusion.
Serbia was a dark place in 1995. The country was under embargo, the day-to-day life was very hard and a trip abroad was nearly impossible.
Thanks to my friend, my children and I managed to join a school trip, going to Italy for the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Venice.
My daughter was 12 years old , my son was 11. All I had was them and 800 DM savings. When I paid the travel expenses I was left with 350 DM for our stay in Italy.
The children found the exhibition very exciting, there were many art installations and they were flying from one to another. But ....
The travel arrangement included only breakfast. Still the three of us were supposed to have lunch and dinner for five days, shop windows were enticed children and me, but we had little money.
I pondered for a long time how to explain to my children that we must be very, very frugal. They were already reasonable and I knew that they would accept to act in accordance with our modest budget without question , but I did not want the trip was remembered for denials.
I noticed that the pizza sold on the street was a lot cheaper and then I suggested them:
"Now we have a chance to see the sights of Italy that we’ve read about, and also, to try many kinds of pizza, which we can’t find at home. Let`s try as many kinds as we can"
They accepted the proposal enthusiastically as a challenge. They was visiting the monuments of Venice and Verona with enthusiasm, and then ,as little researchers, were finding new and new types of pizzas. Every new type was a small victory. With the money we saved, we managed to by a pair of Converse, on sale of course, and a Murano glass vase.
By the end of the trip, both of them beamed with pleasure. They were one of the few who have traveled abroad at the time, saw an amazing exhibition, visited the monuments from photos in their Art book, tried more than 10 different types of pizza and got their Converse sneakers, which were too expensive for us, and largely inaccessible to ordinary people like us.
Later, my daughter and my son, have traveled a lot, but my daughter still says it was the greatest travelling experience in her life.
If I had told them that we did not have much money, that we had to eat cheap food, that we couldn’t buy anything of the things in the shop window , what the trip would have been remembered for, you decide by yourself.
Of course, we did not eat pizza for next 2 years, but all three of us are still very grateful to our friend who made this trip possible.