After months of searching for reasonably priced flights, I finally gave in around March and booked our flight home. It was painful to say the least, primarily because I know I could have gotten them cheaper had I done it earlier like I normally do. But given we didn't know our future living plans, we had just been waiting and I could wait no more. I try not to mention money often on this blog but let's just say that what I paid was close to double the highest I've ever paid to fly home and almost triple what I paid last year. Yes, painful. But it had to be done and aside from the fact that we've already paid for summer camp for the kids in Maine, I couldn't deny the kids a trip home nor did I want to deny myself a trip!!
And I certainly didn't expect to have to change those flights. But as I mentioned before, the kids' new school starts much earlier than we anticipated and rather than start off our new lives in a new country on the wrong foot, we've had to change the flights to reflect their new school's first day. It means cutting our trip home short by a few days and having to re-arrange some plans we already had on our calendar. And now it means that our trip will be more travel intensive than we planned initially. But it will be worth it.
So now the flights are booked and re-booked... now what? Well, now the scheduling begins. Every single year I tell myself, I will not overschedule. Every year I completely and totally fail at this. I'm going to try it again this year. I'm actually going to schedule in free time just so I don't schedule every single moment like I normally do. Truly I go home every year and am miserable. No, I'm not miserable about seeing everyone - that part I love. It's the fact that every single moment is taken up and it's stressful and overwhelming. Oh and don't forget that I also have to work in between everything. Out the door around 8AM each morning with plans each morning, afternoon and evening and then work when I get home around 10PM. And I become totally manic and it's not pretty... at all. My friends last year even commented "do you know your eyes are bulging out of your head?". Yeah, I'm not surprised.
We still have 6 weeks to go before we are on American soil and I'm already stressed and overwhelmed. Is this an American trait in me or is this just because there is so much to see and do in such a short period of time? I'm trying in vain not to put too much on the calendar. And to really spend more time with family which I feel always gets shortchanged in the chaos of our schedules.
And this year, we need to add a move into the mix. Now that we are moving to Amsterdam we have decided we will bring our things with us that were left behind 4 years ago when our journey was only supposed to be for 2 years. Four and a half years later, we want those things - wedding photos, memorabilia, our nice furniture (sorry IKEA but I'm just done with you) and more. But not everything can come, so it means going thru our storage unit and separating out "Amsterdam", "sell" and "donate". More things to add to my list of things to do. At least with that, I'll get some quality time with my mom and dad sorting things out in their garage ;)
This year the kids will be in summer camp for 3 weeks in Maine. It's their first year going and I'm excited for them - it will be a whole new experience in independence, nature, making new friends and having wonderful adventures. I think they will love it. Though now that our trip was cut short by a few days, I feel badly short changing them with time for their friends and family which now will be for 2 weeks instead of our usual 3. And so my focus on those first 2 weeks will be 100% on them and their needs. That includes 2 trips to NYC - one for each of them. Trips to the Cape to visit with family. And trips to visit friends in our neighborhood.
So as our move is slowly coming together and our countdown to leaving Barcelona is on. In addition to preparing for our move, finishing up school and getting organized for our new adventure, I'm also planning out the details of our summer. It's fun, it's exciting, and it's overwhelming. One thing is for sure though, the kids and I can't wait to be home. Despite the chaos of it all, we love being there. I think it makes us appreciate the precious time we have with everyone when we don't get nearly enough of it. The anticipation of our trip gets us through that very long flight home.
And with Nana and Papa meeting us at the airport upon our arrival, armed with pizza and my favorite salad, coming home is always a happy reunion. And while we are always quite exhausted after the long journey, just being back on American soil gives us the second wind we need to take in everything around us and it reminds us of how much we miss home. No matter where we live over the coming years or where we have been, home will always be just that... home. And in 6 weeks we'll back and can't wait to see everyone!!