Wow. How does one actually update after being away from the blog more than a month and part of that (3 weeks) being vacation?
I’ve thought all week about what to post but I’m still a little lost. So how about we just start at the beginning?
We actually left on the 9th of July to fly to Phoenix via London. We had quite a long layover in London and since I’m still on my gluten-free experiment, prior to leaving the Netherlands I went to a crunchy shop to buy some stuff to snack on that would keep me on the straight and narrow. One thing I didn’t want to do was use vacation as an excuse to eat whatever came into view, so I was fully prepared in case I became hungry. This actually really worked well so I’m glad I thought about it and planned ahead.
After a long day of travelling, we arrived in Phoenix, waited in the godawful queue to get through customs (this is something I don’t get; I have a US passport, my family are Dutch, but we all come in together. Why do we have to all wait in the NON-US line? Last year in Atlanta I was told to bring my family with me. Different rules everywhere. Make up your mind people!), picked up our rental car and drove the 2 miles down the road to our hotel. Within about 3 minutes of checking in, we dug out our swimsuits and jumped in the pool. It was HOT in Phoenix, about 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
I won’t recap the whole vacation, I promise :)
We took a couple of days to drive to Albuquerque, going immediately the next day to the Grand Canyon. My second visit. Still Amazing!
We also went to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Dessert. I’ve never been there before, even though I’m from the area. I guess that’s always the way things go. It was nice to just drive, stop when we needed, get an ice cream, listen to Sirius radio all 80’s hits :) Very relaxed. I felt a sense of real relief and joy when we saw the “WELCOME TO NEW MEXICO” Sign; finally I was HOME! About an hour before we got to Albuquerque, it started to rain. Trust me though, the rain in NM is wonderful! It’s cold and it’s huge drops and it comes down completely out of the blue and makes everything smell and feel clean. I miss that so much. Even the kids said they really loved the rain. So different from what we have in NL.
So we arrived at my dad and stepmom’s place and basically we stayed there for two weeks :) We did also see my mom and stepdad, my brother, his wife and my nephew, but it was easiest to stay at dad’s in Albuquerque; more room and the use of the car, plus my grandmother is now in a care facility there and my dad brings her over every Tuesday and Thursday so I was able to spend time with her as well. I was able to see also two of my best friends from school, Tammy and her husband Brian and Shaun and Shaun’s husband Tony (who were even at our wedding in 2009 :) ).
I loved that I could go to the Sunflower Market (like a Trader Joe’s I guess) and buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and gluten-free products to keep me on my program. While we did go out for breakfasts (easy to get something NOT pancake related) a few lunches and some dinners I just stayed away from wheat as much as possible. I ate well. I even over indulged at times (hey, life is short), I had beer (not Paleo, I know!), margaritas, wine, ice cream, other deserts and you know what – THE WORLD DIDN’T END!
We went back to Phoenix during our last week, on a Tuesday, but it was really sad to go. Even my little guy started crying when he said goodbye to my stepmom. The kids did so well speaking English. My stepson helped my dad with all kinds of things and my dad taught him some things about photography. Luckily in Phoenix we were right next to the Fashion Square Mall (ok, technically Scottsdale), but I was also able to see an old school friend of mine again. It was HOT HOT HOT in Phoenix, but we dealt with it by hanging out at the pool. Tough life, eh?
The trip back was LONG but we managed. Everything went smoothly until of course we were back in NL and we couldn’t get directly home by train, there was construction and we had to take a bus partially. At 11pm no one was really interested in doing that, but yeah, what are you going to do?
Jet lag has been hard to get over. Then I got sick and I NEVER get sick, so that was really annoying (I’m still a little bit chesty, I don’t know what it is). I took Wednesday and Thursday off sick because I had fever as well as this chesty/cough thing going on. Friday I had no more fever so it was time to go back. Still trying to get into the swing of things again.
It was great being home. Things change in life and we are going to definitely start talking about and planning on eventually going back. My parents are getting older and I don’t want to be too far away anymore. Of course it’s all early stages and the kids need to be a bit older before we go, but it just goes to show you that you NEVER know how life is going to turn out – you just have to be willing to LIVE life and be OPEN to changes or opportunities.