Getting Back To It
We arrived back in Haiti last Thursday after about 6 and a half weeks of vacationing. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s always much needed respite and time to reconnect with friends and family.
We had a great time away this year. It was probably my favorite vacation ever. We didn’t have a ton of mission business to take care of, and what was needed were more informal get togethers with people we would have wanted to see anyway, so bonus!
We spent the first few days in Miami as a family, which was business related, but fun. We rented a car, stayed in a hotel and bought a bunch of solar panels. You might not be excited about that, but we are. While it meant dollar signs right now, a couple years from now we’re going to have made all that back in the generator fuel we won’t have to be buying once we move. Yep, the new Clean Water for Haiti site is going completely solar. It’s what most organizations dream of, and we feel truly blessed to be able to take this step. It’s going to mean so much saved money over the life of the mission, which directly translates to more filters for family, healthier people and well, you get the idea.
- Hearing the kids observations as we drove around. Talk about being reminded that our kids are NOT growing up in North America. We were stifling laughter a lot of the time.
- The conversations we’d have with the GPS unit. Her British accent and Olivia calling her “Mrs. Directions” helped us develop a personal relationship to the point that we were all talking to her by the time we returned the car.
- Amelia Earhart Park. If you’re in the Hollywood area and have kids definitely check it out. Free parking during the week. Acres of fun. 5 small lakes. A fabulous playground. A petting “farm” with about 50 goats. We even got to see a baby goat being born. Chris was the goat whisperer, which was pretty funny. And, the iguanas everywhere. It was some good free fun.
- Airconditioning. In the car. In the hotel. In every building. It was amazing. And Olivia was cold. She literally wore a hoodie while driving. #notfromhere
From Miami we headed to Seattle where we stayed with friends, the same ones that house our beloved VW van for us. The kids and I spent less than 24 hours there, which involved sleeping, and me quickly repacking some things for the rest of the summer and opening a billion packages of stuff needing to go back to Haiti. Drawer pulls! School uniforms! Ranch dressing packets! Dish towels! All. The. Things. The next morning a friend picked me and the kids up early, we swung by the airport to check to see if our luggage had arrived. Oh yeah, none of our bags arrived with us! Lol! Totally forgot about that until now! Everything was there, and we swung by that friends house to grab a few things that had been stored there, then headed for the train station. We took the Amtrak down to Chris’ parents house while he stayed back to finish up a few things on the van. It was the first time traveling by train for all of us and I loved it. So fun and relaxing. It’s a great way to travel with kids because you can get up and move around.
We spent just over two weeks with Chris’ parents and had a great time. For my birthday Chris gave me a few days away at a cottage at Long Beach, WA. It was our first time away from the kids in almost two years, so much needed! Good times were had by all.
From Vancouver we headed up to BC with a quick stop in Bellingham to see friends. After arriving in BC we stocked up on groceries and headed for the hills, literally! It was camping time. We spent two weeks driving and camping around the Kootenays.
I’ll be honest, I was not super excited about two whole weeks camping. We camp every summer, but two weeks would be the longest trip we’d ever done with the kids. That’s a lot of laundry and potential kid whining. But, it was so fun! We had a great time. The kids slept in a tent the whole time and did great with that. Most nights it sounded like a circus in there until they’d finally fall asleep from exhaustion. They’re at a great age for traveling around now because a) no diapers; b) no baby stuff; c) they’re super enthusiastic about everything. Seriously. Everything is cool and amazing and fun. We camped at some cool spots and they would always find stuff to do. That creek that’s frigidly cold? Swimming pool! (Yes, even Miss Freezing In Air Conditioning) Sticks? Yes! Having big adventures? Heck yeah! We just had a lot of fun all around as a family, which was much needed for all of us.
After our camping adventures we stayed with my parents for a couple of weeks and again had a good time. We finished up our time with them by going to a family reunion, which was great! Because of our summer travel schedule we’ve managed to miss every single big family get together since we got married, so this time around we asked if it would be possible to schedule things so we could attend and everyone was happy to work with that. So thankful for it because we had a great time reconnecting with extended family. Many of us now have kids of our own, and it was fun to see them all running around playing together. We left from the reunion last Monday and went back down to Seattle, spent two nights getting stuff sorted and ready to go, then flew back Wednesday/Thursday.
Great vacation, but it also feels good to be home. I think we had a great rest and are ready to dive back into things knowing that it’s going to be a very busy fall and start of 2016.
How does it feel to be back?
Honestly, there’s always this weird moment when I first walk into our house where I feel disoriented. It happens as I walk into the kitchen and just take it all in. I feel how high the ceilings are, the fans, the light from the windows and I think, “This is my kitchen,” and it takes a bit to feel like my feet are back on solid ground.
Friends of ours were looking after everything while we were away, and they did an amazing job. It’s the first time, ever, that we’ve come back and things have been in better shape than when we left! We have five running vehicles for the first time ever in the history of the mission. The workers are all happy and didn’t have or give any issues while we were gone. The house is a bit behind schedule, but things didn’t stop moving, so we’re happy about that. Overall, it’s like we just got to step out of life and then walk right back into it without a lot of stuff to deal with in the process.
This week is all about getting back in our groove. Monday we had a staff party. Yesterday our friends left for their own vacation and I did a bunch of tidying and organizing around the house. I always feel like my “spring” cleaning and sorting happens in the fall after we get back. It’s when I’m most energized and motivated, as well as needing to figure out where we’re going to put the stuff we’ve brought back. It just helps me feel like my head isn’t going to explode from all the crazy. We got back and I opened the closet that has all our linens and a bunch of other stuff like sunscreen, cough medicine, etc and had bottles fall on me. That kind of thing gets dealt with, like it did yesterday.
There are always some frustrating things with adjusting to being back, but we work through them. Time changes and trying to get back into a normal sleep routine can be a challenge, but we eventually get there. We’re having to deal with some more computer stuff, but we’re getting there. Those really are the biggest issues right now, so I’m thankful.
And the construction? Oh, you’re going to have to wait until the next post for that :) Let’s just say it’s exciting!
PS – Sorry for the lack of pictures. Since it’s been a few months since I posted I just wanted to get something up for you. There are pictures. One day they’ll get up here… ;)