Sunday, January 13, 2013

R & R

For every post that we do abroad, Phil's job will fly us back "home" for a bit for some rest and recuperation from our "so stressful and over-hardship-ed" lives.  Our turn was up and we signed up for three weeks in the US during Christmas break.  As with everything, many lessons were learned during our first trying-to-fit-everything-and-everyone-in triumphant return to the homeland.   First of all, our itinerary was overly ambitious.  In three weeks we went to DC, NY, Puerto Rico, Orlando, FL and Cincinnati, OH.  Second, some of the flights were at ungodly hours of the day/night and included getting up at 3 AM.  Needless to say, we were exhausted for about 90% of the time. We also over packed and under estimated the amount of things we would buy, resulting in over sized, overweight, baggage and the two of us looking like two beasts of burden everywhere we went.  But overall, it was an amazing trip.

Here's a countdown of the highlights:

5. Food, food, food
From Ben and Jerry's two scoop waffle cone sundaes to tostones and mofongo in PR; Phil and I indulged ourselves non-stop.  I think Phil averaged 3 Starbucks a day and I was able to score Chipotle at least three times.  Bottomless fries at Red Robin were a close contender.

4. Weddings!
We love weddings, and a good friend from college invited us to her right-on-the-beach ceremony and after party at probably the fanciest resort I have ever been in PR.  We got to see a ton of great college friends and re-connect with people we hadn't seen in 10 years!  There was great food and dancing and a great time.

3. Harry Potter World
Lucky for me, one of Phil's sisters lives in Orlando, which meant we could kill another bird with that stone and visit this magical land that I have been yearning to go to since its opening.   What a fun place, complete with a Hogsmead villlage, Hogwarts Castle and many little gimmicks from the books.   We were able to get some butterbeer and ride the signature ride (where you are basically flying through the air escaping dementors and playing Quiditch and going through the castle at top speeds) twice.

2. Six hour Target and TJ Max run
My shopaholic self came back alive and with a vengeance in Cincinnati, where stores are larger than life, aisles are wide, and the possibilities endless.  I could have easily stayed there from 9 AM till 9 PM just going through the enormous variety of products; from cereal bars, to lotions; 90% clearance Christmas decorations to school supplies that make you want to go back into teaching.  When it comes to mass consumption, the mid-west can't be beat.

1. Friends & Family
There is a reason people say "there's no place like home" and as much as I have an identity crisis on where home really is, nothing in the world holds a candle to spending quality time with people you love; especially those who love you just as much.  The best times of our trip were probably spent talking on the couch with parents and childhood friends during Christmas dinner (s), playing LIFE with nieces and nephews, watching a brand new baby roll over on a princess mat, heated discussions at dinner over the validity of teacher's unions, laughing hysterically over brunch, dying someone's hair in a hotel room, and the delivery of earth-rattling news in the middle of NYC traffic.  These are the moments that fill you with joy and happiness and these are the moments that make 14 hour flights over the Atlantic more than worth it.

Happy New Year to all, and may 2013 bring you many, many of these moments.  


Ellen said...

I love this post. Especially the notes about Cincinnati and love of friends and family. It is true that the midwest has the lockdown on bulk shopping and giant box stores. Miss you!

rabbitrd_HZ said...

My husband is a complete Harry Potter nerd. He is so envious... :) I, on the other hand, am jealous of your Target shopping spree.