The trip back to the States was really good, excluding the terrible circumstances causing us to make this trip and that we all got some sort of sickness or another. Flights went REALLY WELL with the girls (a couple other passengers actually commented how well the kids behaved and said they were impressed). I was surprised. Flights over were better than back, but I think a lot of that had to do with me being so tired and run down from being sick I just didn’t have the reserve to handle the girls as well. There weren’t any screaming fits and I didn’t notice any bad looks from people around us, so I’m calling it a success on all three legs of the trip!
Minnesota was wonderful. It reminded me a lot of Germany. The girls woke the first morning at 2:30am and increased about an hour each day. We were all tired and jet-lagged, but good. It was so good to see my family, but utterly sucked that we had to get together for my uncle’s funeral. It’s hard to reconcile those 2 vastly different emotions — joy and sorrow — during the same trip. The services were really nice. There were so many people.
People highlights: cousins, aunts (great and regular), uncles (great and regular) that I haven’t seen in years. One I think it’s been at least 10 years. [[How am I even old enough to have NOT seen a cousin in over 10 years?! I don’t feel like I could ever be old enough for that much time to pass without seeing someone. Crazy.]] Grandma, old family friends.
Funny MN story…
We jumped on my Grandma’s neighbor’s trampoline in their yard one afternoon. The neighbor’s grandson was out jumping, too. He started talking to me and asked where we were from. I explained that we were from Phoenix but that we currently lived in Germany. He did a double take and said, “Like Europe Germany?” I said yes. He asked me if there were kings and royalty still ruling in Germany. I told him not in Germany, that there was a chancellor that was similar to our president. I also explained that the royal bloodline still existed but they didn’t rule the country anymore. Then he asked me why I would come to this small lake outside of this small town in Minnesota if I was from Germany. It was really funny. He totally understood that this small town is not much and he could not understand why I would choose to go there. It was a really cute conversation with a 9 year old boy.
Arizona was nice, but not so much fun. I got a nasty cold while in MN and it just lingered along the entire time I was in Phoenix. I had all of these plans to go and do things and see my friends and family back home and most of it didn’t happen.
The girls and I made it to our old church Sunday morning (after we got in at 7:30pm on Saturday). We miss our church family and community a lot. We had a family and friends get together at my grandparent’s house Monday. And then we stayed at my parents house in between running errands and going to the doctor for everyone. I made 3 doctor visits that week. One for Big Ive (dry air and climate changes are hard on a red-head’s skin), one for me (a bugger of a cold) and one for Little E (pink eye! and a double ear infection!). Little E ended up with pink eye. AGAIN. Ugh, have I mentioned how much I HATE that illness. And then Big Ive started to get it. I think we’re finally over it (it’s only been 3 weeks…); no one has had goopy crusty eyes in about a week.
Oh, we did go to Tuesday Night dinner with our community downtown and that was a fantastic highlight of the AZ portion of the trip.
And the zoo on Friday morning with my dad and sister was a lot of fun. I had never taken either of the girls to the zoo before then. It was a hot day so we hung out at the splash pad in the zoo for quite a while. The kids LOVED running through the water and getting wet.
It was all very familiar and didn’t feel like home at all. Driving around was strange after driving in Germany for the past 6 months. Having store clerks speak to me in English caught me off guard many times. Walking into my house that our friends are now living in was strange. It was mine, but it wasn’t mine. I may own the house but it’s not my home.
Once I get the photos organized and uploaded I’ll put up a post about our trip to Switzerland and Italy.