Thursday, July 24, 2014

7 Mondays

For the past seven weeks, we've been a very busy, globetrotting family.  Life and the whole world have been going by so fast that I feel like I've been spinning around and around with arms outstretched and my face turned upwards toward the sun. I've dizzily collapsed on the grass and lie in the field but everything still seems to be moving. I'm at that point where you relax and lay still, trying to recover your equilibrium while the memory of everything you've just experienced still shines brightly in your mind.

The 1st Monday: The Philippines

Manila, walled city, historic
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.


  1. Great idea... and lovely photos :)

  2. Ah that is a lovely epilogue - I've so enjoyed joining you on your various adventures, and I do hope that you continue to write about them, and have many more again in the future. I know what it's like to pack up an expat life and return to 'normal' - but the memories stay with you forever :)

  3. Wow - you really have been busy! Hope you enjoy being at home in Texas - there's lots to explore there too :)

  4. Your post gave me goose pimples. I cannot imagine your life ever being boring - whether in Texas, Penang, or the North Pole. (And I am ever so thankful that your route over Ukraine is over. We have friends from England who often have flown that same route to Australia. It does give one pause.) So keep those Meanderings coming. . .I would miss you terribly if you didn't!!! Hugs, Jackie

  5. Woah, you really have had a busy few weeks! I'm fairly certain you've visited more countries in the last seven weeks than I have in my entire life - that's crazy!

  6. What a whirlwind! I'm actually very curious about Texas, so now that you're back home, I hope that you'll be sharing some backyard travel posts. Welcome back to the U.S. of A!

  7. What a good idea - the Monday theme - I like it a lot especially when each one is in a different place. I can imagine how pumped you still feel and yet you are settled. A disorientating feeling. Before long the kids will be settled into routines. :)

  8. I've been wondering where you were, Michele, but I figured you were busy with moving and unpacking. It's always lovely to pack then travel before you get back to base. Welcome home! Although the first few days felt mundane, I'm sure that won't last. Being abroad for 3 years will definitely guarantee that you won't have a mundane life. Enjoy!!!

  9. Michele, So, is your husband now long-term in Hungary? You aren't moving there? Your seven weeks sounds fabulous!

    1. Hubby was in Hungary for just a few weeks on business. He actually beat me back home to Texas and got a few things fixed up before the kids and I arrived.

  10. Wow! What a crazy couple of months. And btw.. that picture of the Texas coast is so gorgeous that you're *almost* convincing me that Texas is the best place of all too. And I'm so happy that you were SAFE flying over Ukraine!

  11. Wow, what a journey! I love your jetsetting Mondays! Monday isn't my favorite day but if I can spend each Monday in different parts of the world, I'd be thrilled. It's great you got to squeee in a time to visit your family in the Phiippines. It's also nice to that you got to spend a "me" time in the wine country. It must have been a nice break for you.
    Now that you're back in Texas, I'm sure you're still in a journey but of a different kind. Home always offer a lot of unexpected adventures, too.
    I'm your your journeys will have a big impact on your children's future.

  12. You've had such an incredible whirlwind of travel -- one that makes me yearn to follow in your footsteps. I have to give the kids credit on the Italy choice -- it's a winner every time. Looking forward to more about your experiences -- past or present.

  13. Well, to get this part out of the way. I literally got a sock to the gut, my eyes welled up and the hairs on my arms rose that you flew over the Ukraine. Thank gawd nothing bad happened to you guys. Your family has become very dear blogging friends to Phoenix and me, Michele. I mean that. Ok, I loved the title of your post right off the bat with 7 Mondays. I clicked on The Aristocrat link to check out their menu. I will order the 2 BBQ pork on a stick entree! :) I love that the kids still despite all of their world travels love Texas so much as it is home. I like that they try local foods wherever you go too! And oh my gosh how wonderful that you got some YOU time in Napa Valley! You were literally just a few hours away and over the hill from Phoenix and me! You said sleeping in your bed for the first time was mundane but that had to still be incredible in a good way, yes? I loved this post, Michele :)

  14. Aww, love this post! SO cool that you let the kiddos pick your European destination, I love that! And jet-set the world in the course of 7 weeks! I believe that people have the travel bug/adventure gene in their heart, so even though you may be in one place in the states for a while, I really think you'll find ways to always be exploring and discovering, even within your own city!:-)

  15. WOW girl, you guys have been busy. I love the last Monday best. As much as I love travelling, I love my own bed and creature comforts best. Thanks for linking up with us for #SundayTraveler, so great to have you back.

  16. Love, love, love the picture taken of the grapes at the vineyard, I can almost feel the dew on them!

  17. I wondered and am selfishly relieved that your flight over the Ukraine was a safe one. Your spinning world encompassing seven Mondays is beautifully descriptive of your life. The timing is perfect for the children to settle into life as a Texan before school starts again soon.

  18. I've never been to Texas but just talked to some CVBs in Austin and would love to visit this area. It's always wonderful to be connected to your piece of paradise.

  19. Definitely a busy few weeks!! I LOVE the epilogue at the end - and your last quote.

  20. Welcome back to the USA, Michele! I know we have many more stories to read from your jetsetting days as an expat and I can't wait to read them (especially the Philippines). I'm so glad you made it to Manila and you got to get away solo. That's always a bonus! Looking forward to more adventures here and hope you finally get to Yellowstone soon. :-)

  21. Wow - sounds like a crazy few weeks! I'm glad you're enjoying being back in Texas. I regret never visiting Galveston when I lived in New Orleans, I'm hoping to go this winter.

  22. Wow, what an amazing past couple of weeks you've had. It looks like you and the boys had a good time though. Welcome home :)


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