updated and edited after my editor found issues with my original post that was typed on my phone. sorry if you had to translate my poor thumb typing.
We are a little over two weeks into the summer and we’ve covered quite a bit of ground. We’ve slept in four different houses, two different countries and travelled through four states. It’s a whirlwind, but it’s good.
We started our summer adventures in England again this year. Many thanks to Connie and Ned for their hospitality (and assuring that i never have to hunt for a coffee mug this summer) It’s pretty awesome having friends to crash with and a bonus when they keep moving to awesome locations. The kids had an absolute blast running through the fields, building “bunkers” out of freshly cut hay and just hanging out and being silly with their England friends. It’s a cool thing to see our kids just pick up where they left off a year ago and jump right into play. Of course, they have a pretty good example to go by as Robyn and Connie start their conversation right back up as if they were neighbors who have been talking across the fence every day for years.
We headed up to York for a few days to give our friends some space and have some adventures of our own. Stayed in a beautiful B&B outside of town that again gave the kids plenty of space to run, sheep to watch and even a dog to play with. Josie got a bit of a bug and had to lay low while we were there but she recovered quickly and was a trooper. It meant a boys’ morning out for Maddox and me which was the yin to the yang. We hit the Viking museum, the castle museum and Clifford’s Tower (not the big red dog, but some really old dude from way back). I think Maddox dug the Vikings the most but for me it was the tower. Old castle stuff is just crazy cool to me. Actually it might of been Maddox’s favorite too as we finally found him and Josie some foam swords, which was probably his main objective for the day if we are honest.
Josie recovered by the afternoon well enough to join in some marshmallow roasting by the fire and to run around a bit outside. The next morning brought our first taste of true English weather as the skies were grey, the temperature dropped and it “mizzled” all morning after really “chucking it down” throughout the night. (got to love the Brits’ and their rain lingo) by the afternoon it cleared up and we headed for the train museum (thanks Iain for the tip). Awesome. Tons of trains to check out and walk around. Then we toodled over on the mini train to the Minster to wander the streets a bit more. Even though they were mostly full of Starbucks, fancy clothes shops and souvenir pushers, it was cool to wander the old streets and buildings. It’s easy to imagine horses and carriages filling the streets (that is between the begging for ice cream and pleads to stop walking and go back to the house). The old stuff fascinates me and I look forward to exploring more in the future. I’m pretty thankful for these opportunities.
We even managed an afternoon at Old Trafford. A huge unexpected bonus. We got to go to the legends game and see Man U take on Bayern Munich. It was a bunch of old guys in various states of grey and roundness, but it was still good football and cool to see some true legends of the game. Throw in the fact that my kids got to do their first stadium wave at one of the most storied football pitches in the world and that’s a pretty good afternoon.
We hit the States running, or at least Josie did. I’ll say it again, the kids are pretty awesome travelers on these long plane flights, airport time killing and making it through customs and immigration and security and baggage claims. I’m not going to say it’s perfect but for their age, they rock it. So anyway, Maddox crashed out on my lap for the last connection from Philly, but Josie was literally bouncing in her seat saying “We’re going to see my grandmama!” Over and over and over again. It’s pretty special to see her so excited. Of course a little of it dissipated thanks to the long walk through the airport, but there were some big grins and hugs once they found their grandparents.
We spent a week in North Carolina full of time with cousins, adventures with the neighbors, picking blueberries (shameless plug for an old friend, you should go check that place out if you’re in the Burlington area) and quality time playing cards, reading books and playing games with Grandmama. We even made it to a baseball game with Pops for Father’s Day. Maddox was on constant lookout if the neighbors, Callie and Micah weren’t outside, peering thru the blinds or running recon missions to their front door. He managed to put in some quality hours and tons of sweat equity with them in just a few days. Robyn and I even managed a fun night out with some of my old friends. We headed out to the old Glencoe Mill to hear some buddies play Beatles tunes and just enjoy some adult time for a bit. We made some new friends had some laughs with old friends and enjoyed some good music from Not Backseat Driver. It was good to get out for a bit with friends.
Now we’re in Alabama hanging with Sig. (currently in the chiropractor’s office waiting on robyn to get a tune up as she managed to tweak her shoulder or something. you know just the usual vacation stuff.). It’s good to be here and obvious she’s happy to see us. She’s all settled in her new house and it’s just as comfortable as can be. Plenty of room for the kids to play and a big backyard. Maddox has heard there might be some fishing at aunt Mary’s in the future too so he’s a little pumped. We had Christmas/birthdays last night and the kids are enjoying their new toys (dolls and a nerf gun topped the excitement list) They’ve headed out to the bookstore and McDonalds (kids are pumped) with Sig while we take care of some business. We’ve got a few days here before we pack it all up again and head to our next destination.
This is our expat summertime. It can be stressful. We live out of suitcases and we are always in someone else’s space. But it’s part of the life we’ve chosen for now. We’re lucky to get to see every bit of our family (and a good bit of the southern US) over the course of the summer. So I’ll take it as part of the big adventure and be thankful for each part one step at a time.