Summer vacation

A lot has happened these past few months in case you thought I had disappeared down another social media rabbit hole. For starters, I am now a real-life officially trained and certified yoga instructor!

I re-discovered yoga last fall with a fabulous teacher and after taking multiple classes every week, I learned she also offers yoga teacher training courses so we drummed up a fantastic group of women to learn all there is about yoga. It was wonderful, exhausting, and exhilarating and yes, my body was sore for the first few weeks.

Just when I finished training, the school year ended and then it was time to hop on a few planes again and head back “home.”

Just me and the kids.

Yes, that would be about a total of 50 hours of solo parenting while traveling halfway around the world and back so the kids could re-Americanize, spend lots of time with family, and oh yeah, have those medical check-ups that originally started this whole “yes, I can totally deal with a 13-hour time difference and transit through Korea in the middle of the night while waiting 7 hours for our next flight.”

And you know what? It was awesome – the kids were excellent travellers all around. They both pitched in with schlepping suitcases and used their little brains to navigate airports and find the transit hotel that was actually open (3rd one was a charm) so we could sleep a few hours before boarding a 14-hour flight. The trip there was remarkable – they slept when they were supposed to and we strangely had almost no jet lag.

One minor hiccup – please note for future reference in case you’re traveling through the Incheon airport transit hotels: the bathroom locks firmly from the inside and in case a child should be sleep drunk and lock herself in and cannot get out, the hotel security/front desk will not be helpful in opening the door from the outside. Fortunately, Luca and I were able to talk a panicked Juliana through some door opening techniques and a few tears later, all was well and we made our connecting flight.

Our first stop was Texas to visit John’s parents who clearly got the memo about re-Americanizing their grandchildren because our first stop on the way home from the airport was here:

Yes, fresh donuts for us while John was busy working away in Mongolia.

Project “let’s re-Americanize the kids” continued smoothly with reality TV shows, a very necessary introduction to “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” American candy and bubble gum and proper ice cream sundaes that necessitated at least one brownie at the bottom, and shrieking excitement in the grocery store when the kids realised that fresh fruit and produce were not only affordable but also fresh and very tasty.

We also became re-introduced to the concepts of “rain” and “thunderstorms” that may have startled one or two kiddos (“Mom, I hear people watering the plants outside” “No, that’s rain.” “What?” Insert completely shocked and surprised face). Clear sign of what desert living is like.

Another American highlight was the kids’ first Major League Baseball game. We surprised Grand-Dad with tickets to see the Texas Rangers and Luca was thrilled to learn that they were playing the Toronto Blue Jays since he was born in Toronto (and despite the fact that we moved out of Canada when he was teeny tiny, he feels very connected to his Canadian beginnings).

It was a fun evening despite the hot, hot, hotness. Did I mention it’s really hot in Texas in the summer?

Despite the heat, the kids loved watching the game – so much in fact that Luca decided to learn to play himself (indeed a project “re-Americanization” success!). Following numerous shopping trips, we now have a pretty impressive baseball accessories collection.

After a week in Texas, we hopped onto another plane for a very short 2-hour flight to Florida to visit Oma and Opa. We swiftly moved from project “re-Americanization” to “German language immersion” – things you do as a third culture kid/parent where borders, languages, and trips hallway around the world from one home to another are the new norm.

In Florida, we spent lots of time in the pool and at the beach, ate tons of sushi, and surprised the kids with a trip to Buschgardens in Tampa.

Juliana added to her Pokemon card collection and lost her first tooth.

And then it was time to start our travels back “home” again but not without another few days in Texas this time with John’s siblings and the cousins. It was safe to say there was even more laughter and silliness and noise!

And finally, a few shout-outs are not to be forgotten:

  • Thank you to all the grand-parents for housing us and putting up with our noise and laughter and for driving us wherever we needed to go and for making sure we were all having a blast.
  • Thanks to Opa and aunt Jennifer for letting me work on my teaching yoga skills.
  • Thank you to the fabulous cousins for the gazillion hours of silliness and playtime and for teaching my kids such wonderful life lessons like how to move up to yet another level in the never-ending iPad game of “subway surfer.”
  • Thanks to John for not complaining that we came back with twice as many suitcases than we had packed initially and for keeping his sanity while we were away (whom am I kidding, I am sure he loved every moment of peace and quiet! Don’t worry – we are back home now to remind him just how loud and silly we can be!).

And that’s a wrap. Now “only” 6 more weeks of summer left in which we improvise to find entertainment and activities at home. I did mention we brought back a lot of books? I hope the kids are ready to start their “summer” school next week with me 🙂

 

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