Woo hoo! We are on a roll! What do they say about habits? You need to do something ten times to make it one? Okay then, eight weeks to go ha! Originally I was going to post on the hardships of moving and never actually having your “own” home. But, since I am having kind of a rough day I thought it would probably end up depressing everyone and that is never my goal ha! Instead I am going to talk about one of my most favorite parts of being in the foreign service, seeing the world. When Christopher and I got married we both agreed that we would never be “house poor” or “car poor” though we might be “travel poor”. Shortly after we got married Chris was activated to Operation Iraqi freedom for an excruciatingly long 18 months. We went an entire nine months with out seeing each other.
(Chris is to the right of the sign, next to his silly buddy pretending to talk on the phone)
While he was gone I worked as a writer for the National Journal in Washington DC. During this time we saved and saved (or rather Chris did, this was the first time I ever made an actual salary and I am not going to lie I think this is the last time my wardrobe was pretty cute) so that we could backpack through Europe for a month upon his return. Well, plans always seem to change and instead we welcomed Sawyer into the family 9 months after our R&R trip to Bermuda ha!
I couldn’t very well back pack through Europe several months preggers so that dream had to be put on the back burner. Then during law school there simply wasn’t money to do anything aside from sheer survival. Once Chris joined the foreign service I knew all of that would change. And boy did it ever. Chris is a fantastic planner. He LOVES planning things and figuring out how to get the most our of every situation. He planned our trip over to Timor and some how managed to get us a three day stop over in Hong Kong so we could take the kids to Hong Kong Disneyland and some other sites. This still meant we had to brave the 16 hour flight with three little cuties. When we reached the DC airport we looked like this:
Action shot on the plane:
See our logic was that we would get off the plane and take the kiddos to Disneyland and just bust right through our Jet lag. This actually worked so well we repeated it when we came back to the states this summer and went to Disneyland CA. We got to see the giant Buddha Statue:
(Ironically enough I am totally wearing that shirt as I type this post ha!)
The kids got there first dose of living basically with paparazzi when we went out:
And of course there was the fun at Disneyland. Which I must say was extremely small and rather disappointing.
But the kids had fun and that’s what matters! After three days in Hong Kong we headed to Singapore. When we arrived at the Hong Kong airport the craziness began. Evie, having been touched by half the population in China at Disneyland was violently ill. She vomited all over me several times while Chris tried to explain to the ladies at the desk that East Timor was a Visa on arrival country and that since we were diplomats assigned to said country we didn’t need visas anyway. They would not relent though (which we still can’t understand). While I tried to get myself and Evie cleaned up in a yucky airport bathroom and keep the boys from touching everything Chris somehow worked it out with the officials and we had to run to catch our plane. By the time we got to Singapore (which was supposed to just be a lay over) Evie was burning with fever. I adamantly refused to continue on to a country with little to no medical facilities until she was seen by an embassy doctor. Luckily we caught one as he was just walking out the door and he checked out Evie for us. Turns out she was dehydrated and still underweight (why are all our kids so skinny?) but aside from that he thought it was just a virus. We stayed the night and then made our final leg of the trip to Timor. So just on the way to our first post the kids visited three new countries! Now that is what I call a good start to seeing the world! Another reason we were thrilled when we found out we were being sent to Timor. Along with the additional hardship pay we were also allotted two R&R’s. This basically means that it is such a hard place to live that once a year they pay for the entire family to leave and go either back to the states or “cost construct” aka use the funds to go somewhere else. How awesome is that! At the time we were a family of five. Do you know how much it is for a family of five to fly anywhere? We were positively giddy with the options. Christopher’s parents were serving a mission to Rome, Italy and we thought what better way to spend our vacation time? Once again we loaded up all three kiddos and flew half way across the world to Rome.
This trip was absolutely fantastic. One of the best to date. The kids adored spending time with their grandparents going to places they felt like they had never been to before because of being in Timor for so long. Places like a park:
Or restaurant, mall, toy store! It was heaven.
(Sawyer and Finn in front of Hercules Shrine)
Now Evie had screamed the entire flight from Singapore to Germany (yes those around us were thrilled) so she was hoarse and pretty much silent the entire time ha!
Because our airfare was paid for (including hotels at stop over locations) Chris and I were able to do a quick getaway leaving all three kiddos with Grandma and Grandpa. When he asked me where I wanted to go I was adamant I wanted to go to Egypt. He for sure thought I would say Istanbul (where I am dying to go) or Morocco (where I want to spend a million dollars shopping) so he was surprised by this. But I reasoned that it was a place I always wanted to go and that it was not a place I wanted to take the kids until they were older. So off we went using the extra mola from cost constructing to pay for the flights and Marriott points to take care of the hotel.
( by the way the pyramids are right next to the city, not way out in the desert like you would think ha!)
I will certainly do another post on Cairo later because oh my word does that place and the hilarious adventures we had there deserve its own post. Other places we were able to visit thanks to Christopher’s job include a Thanksgiving in Bali with our close friends the Nielsens who currently live in Jakarta with the State Department:
Up to Jakarta to visit the Nielsens and get some much needed dental work taken care of where we went to the coolest zoo EVER Taman Safari.
You actually feed the animals from your car window!
We had a rather large trip home planned through Tokyo so the kids could go to Disneyland Tokyo and then when we hit up Disneyland Paris this fall they would have been to every Disneyland in the world but miss Chloe came along and changed things up a bit. Instead we went through Sydney Australia to go home to have Chloe:
Sawyer and Finn swore up and down that they saw Nemo. Mind you it was winter in Aus at this time so our poor kids were freezing. Now that we have Paris as our second post Chris has been having a field day planning our vacations there. Our first one will involve going to 8 countries in two weeks. Um, I don’t know how that will pan out ha! Once again I would like to stress that this life style is not for everyone. While it is fun to look at these pictures and think it is all smiles and fantastic hotels, villas on the beach in Bali etc. to get to these points it means airports, passports, jet lag, meltdowns, vomit covered outfits in Hong Kong airports etc. We feel like this is a pretty good trade off for seeing the world with our favorite little travelers! I am thrilled to be literally giving them the world.
PS. There will be plenty of posts highlighting the many hard parts of being in the foreign service. Today I was just struggling with some of those negatives and wanted to focus on the positives 🙂