We went back! 18 months in Europe and then we boarded a plane like it was no thang and flew to Detroit. And frankly, it was hardly a thang, with our kids old enough to use a toilet, carry their own back-pack, and generally keep their cool until the next eating break. We had a 10-day trip plan and every German said, “Oh! So short!” I love their vacation expectations here. (Side note: 10 days is short for a 6-hour time difference.)
We woke up at a reasonable hour on the morning of our flight. George woke up not long after us and yelled up the stairs, “Gooooood moooorning! We’re gonna fly on an aaaaairplane!!” And then, as the plane got going, Rowan said with wonder, “We’re about to flieg!” Her faced flashed from nervousness to joy as we lifted off.
We landed in Amsterdam and discovered that Rowan’s at the perfect height for the metal lane divider of the customs line to be juuuust out of her view, while being juuuust low enough to whack her in the head. Let’s just say that the security guys in line had mercy on my spirited and wailing three-year-old and our family was escorted to the very front of a line of over 50 people… Thanks, kiddo.
As we neared our gate, “Michigan” sweatshirts started popping up everywhere. You could almost taste the impending tortilla chips and and random interactions with strangers… in English. Then we saw pilots who waved to our kids and then one turned around to give both of them Wings to pin on their shirts. They were proud as peacocks. And yes, those proud peacocks were so happy as they sang “You better watch out… Santa Claus is coming to town!!” in the airport for all to hear.
When we arrived, I’ll admit that there was some charming confusion on the order of events as George waltzed into my sister’s kitchen upon our jet-lagged arrival and inquired where the presents were… Sorry, man. It’s still the 4 more days to Christmas… He recovered quite well.
Our time was really spent soaking it all up: slow mornings, family time, Christmas movies, grocery shopping in English, and American football. Watching our kids learn how to play charades (kind of) and delight in participating in a family game reminded me so much of the joys of my own childhood. So many Saturday nights with family friends and various ages all playing charades or pictionary. A highlight of my (and now their!) childhood.
We really enjoyed reinstating the tradition that Brian grew up with: Santa arriving on Christmas Eve. Brian’s cousin did the honors and you should have *seen* our kids’ faces. Santa definitely brought gifts under the Christmas tree, but he was really only credited with the items that Santa handed out (one of which was actually from Grandmommy–but details!). It was pretty funny. Seeing the joy was… a joy!
We lingered and enjoyed friends and family and the icing on the cake? A little snow to cap it off! The last day we were there, we enjoyed a delightful snowfall at the park where Brian and I had our wedding photos taken.
It was a lovely trip away. We crawled back, exhausted from travel, but welcomed back into Deutschland with fireworks lighting up the sky for New Year’s Eve. As we drove the streets of Hamburg to our now-home, we were delighted to feel so very at-home and happy to be back. 18 months away, with a very exciting and exhausting beginning, and a very lovely and happy landing.
Hoping your holidays were also filled with love, laughter and joy… and that your new year is off to a great start!