Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Visitors

Living 4000 miles away from family is tough enough during the year, but the holidays often times can make it even more difficult.  While I love our Spanish Thanksgiving each year with all our ex-pat and local friends here, I was especially excited to have some family visiting with us too!!

Whenever I go home, my aunt and uncle always make the time to see myself and the kids - throwing a family bbq to get everyone together.  And it's such a great homecoming to see them and everyone else. But part of what makes it even better for me is that before their visit, I actually didn't feel like I knew them very well - so for them to go out of their way for the boys and I each year when we are home has been especially sweet.  And it is always a great opportunity to spend some time with them and get to know them better.

So when Meghan and I were talking about visits and looking for flights for her, she brought up her parents visiting and I told her absolutely - I want them to come visit us!!  And right around the same time my parents' trip was booked, so was theirs.  That meant a family visit in September, October and November - not to mention Josh's parents visit earlier this year.

Their timing for me was perfect.  With the Thanksgiving holiday that week, I knew that work would be relatively slow, enabling me to focus my time and attention on them.  It was their first trip to Europe so I wanted to make it fun, not overwhelming and full of memories.

We did all the typical tourist stuff that I do with all our guests - The Cathedral, Casa Battlo, Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.  We walked all around the city backwards and forwards.  We even did La Pedrera which I personally had never done before (and honestly of all Gaudi's works, it was the one I really didn't like).

Janice and Richard in front of the Cathedral

At Parc Guell

Sagrada Familia

La Pedrera

And while we walked non-stop all day, we also talked non-stop.  Like I said, I didn't really feel like I knew my aunt and uncle well before they came, but this trip changed that.  I feel like I bonded with them more than I ever had and that time to me is precious.  I'll admit I was a little worried before they arrived for fear that we wouldn't have enough to talk about and that our time together would be awkward but in the end, nothing could be further from the truth.  Everything flowed better than I could have imagined.  

Evenings were the same.  We only got out one night for dinner and it was a fabulous meal at Can Recasens.  During the week I tried to introduce them to local food as much as I could.  We had tapas, jamon and all kinds of cheeses and so much more.  But anyways, back to the evenings.  The nights passed by so quickly - after a day of touring all around, we would talk well into the evening as well.  

Our last day together was our traditional Thanksgiving.  After prepping all day on Friday where they got to join Josh and I on our shopping excursions to prepare for the big day.  And as you probably know, that means several stores - the mercado for meats and cheeses, the fruit and veggie stand, the supermarket. But once again we were able to immerse them in our lives here and show them how differently we live compared to home in the States.  

On Thanksgiving morning (which for us is Saturday, more on that later), while Josh and I ran last minute errands and took the kids to tennis, Janice and Richard ventured out to the Christmas markets which started that morning.  Thanksgiving was fabulous and I was sad to see them leave on Sunday morning - back to reality for all of us!  Thanks again for visiting!!

Aunt Janice at the Christmas market


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