Thursday, September 12, 2013

American summer in review

Now that I have almost recovered from the trauma of not being allowed - and then being allowed - to board the flight home from the US, I've had some time to think about our summer.

Last year, Jeremy and the girls stayed for almost two months; I stayed for six weeks. This year, the girls and I were there for almost exactly a month; Jeremy joined us for the last three weeks.

Somehow, two months last year was just a bit too long, even after a two-year absence. And yet, one month this year was too short. This summer, I felt like we were racing around trying to fit everything in, without a lot of time for leisurely evening walks to the park with Grandpa or whatever.

Still, we were quite efficient with our time this summer and even though it took some racing, I think we DID fit everything in. This includes the overnight hike at Ramona Falls with the girls that Jeremy and the Walker grandparents did the penultimate night before we flew out. It was an ambitious plan, but successful.

For me, some of the shine was taken off this American summer's activities because of my delicate condition. I was so paranoid of going into labor in the US that I sat out of a lot of the fun bike rides, hikes, dune climbs, etc. that I normally would have participated in. Then again, it was nice to have other people take my kids to do those things.

One thing we did better this year was shopping. Jeremy signed up for an Amazon Prime membership trial (free 2-day shipping), and before we even arrived in America we were having things shipped to my parents' house. This cut down on a lot of running around town for shopping purposes. I hardly even had to go to Target...which was kind of a disappointment.

So what is the sweet spot when it comes to the length of time to spend in the US? It looks like somewhere between a month and two months - maybe six weeks? Furthermore, the fun factor is increased when back-and-forth travel between the grandparents is minimized. We did an open-jaw (DXB-LAX-SLC, then PDX-SEA-DXB) in 2012 that helped in this regard, but open-jaws come with their own annoyances.

Speaking of itinerary-based annoyances, I think the jury is still out on our choice to have SEA as our terminal flying destination and then driving down to Portland. It certainly saved us money, and the direct flight was a dream, but the inconvenience of having a 3-hour drive tacked on either end of a 14.5-hour flight was more than I expected. I think this is a decision we'll have to re-make every year, depending on the fare difference.

Anyway, more than you probably ever needed to know about visiting the Motherland during the summer, I'm sure. These notes are more for my own reference for the next time we visit the US, I suppose.

Two lessons from our American summer:
 Reed's Dairy (in IF) makes a good Playdough-flavored (?) ice cream.

And Costco sells really, really big pizza slices.


Jen said...

ahhhhh, Costco pizza. Welcome to America.

Kathy Haynie said...

You know I'm THRILLED that the grandparents, Jeremy, and your darling girls got to have an overnight backpack trip. Perfect.

Frank Pellett said...

One month might not be too short when you're not pregnant and a little more able to do things with the family.

Also, for the SEA-POR trip, have you considered taking the train? I've never done it, but I know there is one - it might be faster than the 3 hour drive.

Liz Johnson said...

That Costco picture made me salivate. Om nom nom.


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