The 1st Monday: The Philippines
|Riding a horse-drawn carriage through Intramuros, the old walled city built by Spaniards in the late 16th century.|
The whole time we lived in Malaysia, I always planned on visiting my parents' family in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Ever the procrastinator, I left it until the last few weeks. We spent our days hanging out with cousins and did like the locals do. We hit the malls to escape the heat, went bowling and played Minecraft. The perfect vacation according to the kids! I laughed when both my mom's family and my dad's family separately took us to dine at The Aristocrat which is famous for its barbecue.
The 2nd Monday: Penang
|This Monday, my fearless girl plunges off a 20m high platform at ESCAPE Ecopark|
Returning from Manila, I dove right into packing up all our belongings to move back to the United States. We squeezed in a few more fun Penang activities and favorite restaurants, too. After three wonderful years living in Malaysia, it was tough to say goodbye.
The 3rd Monday: Rome
|An idyllic Monday at Rome's Villa Borghese began with a row around the pond.|
Knowing that hubby and I would be happy visiting almost any place in Europe, we let the kids propose destinations and put it up to a vote. Italy won! We always encourage the children to try the local food when we travel, and my younger son knew that pasta, pizza, and gelato would definitely be pleasers. His hope that the warm temps would permit him to go the entire trip only wearing shorts instead of pants was thwarted by the modest dress code at the Vatican. We began the week in Rome then continued on to Sorrento, Pompeii and Venice.
The 4th Monday: Amsterdam
|Another Monday, another city. A layover in Amsterdam|
I have such mixed emotions about this photo. On the 4th Monday, the kids and I headed for the USA while hubby went to Hungary for work. We had a layover in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport which felt huge and enormous, requiring an eternity to walk from one gate to another. I only had a brief moment to pause and snap this picture of the kids which is why it's less than optimal. Ten days beforehand, we had also passed through Schiphol on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam. Yes, we flew over the Ukraine.
The 5th Monday: Texas Coast
|Spending a lazy Monday on the Texas coast taking turns with cousins being pulled behind the jetski.|
Despite all our worldly travels, my kids favorite place to be is in Texas which they have called home for most of their lives. Our Italian vacation was specifically timed so that we could be back in Texas for the 4th of July, the USA's Independence Day. The entire weekend was spent at a reunion with hubby's extended family. We dined on Texas barbeque, a Cajun shrimp boil, and homemade gumbo. Playing in the waters of Galveston Bay was by far the most popular activity. My parents live near here, too, which makes visiting them at the same time so convenient.
The 6th Monday: California's Wine Country
|Grapes on the vine waiting to one day become fine wine.|
This trip was monumental because neither hubby nor kids came along. Yes, this mama got away solo. One of my best friends lives in California's Wine Country, and I have been longing to visit her. I left the children with my parents and flew off to relax in the midst of the vineyards, gardens, and fabulous foodie heaven that is Sonoma and Napa. Every meal I had was fantastic including the homemade fettuccini that her 9-year-old daughter made to welcome me on this Monday.
The 7th Monday: Home
On this Monday, I woke up in my very own bed in my very own Texas home for the first time in months. Perhaps what is so remarkable about this day was how utterly mundane it was. I think that's why I don't have a photo. We went grocery shopping. Whereas previous Texas home visits while still living in Penang were marked by a ridiculous amount of gorging on foods we couldn't get in Malaysia, this grocery trip showed a great deal of restraint. We no longer have just a few weeks to satisfy our cravings before returning to Asia; we have years.
My memories of travel still whirl around me. These thoughts buoy my spirits when I begin to worry that life will once again become boring now that I am no longer an expat jetsetter. Because how can anyone who has seen this much be boring? The effects of our worldwide journeys and life overseas will imbue my family's future, perhaps in ways that I cannot begin to predict.
I am at rest, but the world keeps spinning.
This post is part of the following link ups. Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.