Many of you may be wondering what on earth I did during my time at home... well I'll fill you in;)
The day I arrived home, I tried to relax as much as I could. I arrived around 6am local MD time, so needless to say we were tired. We went to Panera on the way home and I was treated to a BAGEL and some awesome strong coffee. Then we went home, the parents went to sleep, I had Jordan and we watched lots of movies and things and just enjoyed eachother's company and took little cat naps. After a while, I made my way to Starbucks. All I gotta say is I'm not a gold card member for nothing...I went therre.... a LOT!! In the evening, my sister joined us and we went to Carrabba's for a FANTASTIC Italian feast of calamari, mozzarella sticks, bruchetta, Iced tea, bread with olive oil and spices, and an amazing angel hair pasta with a champagne sauce and scallops, shrimp and lump crab... A MDer's dream! Oh man was it great. For those of you saying "that doesnt sound all that fantastic or much different than normal... but for me it was like being the queen of the universe. Try not having all of that amazing food for a year and tell me what you think;) I stayed up as long as I possibly could that night.. I was dying to go to sleep around 6pm but stayed up successfully until 10pm and was falling asleep in the living room, so pulled myself down to my GREAT BIGGG bed and had the best sleep I'd had in a LONG time.
The next day I got to take Jordan to see Adventures of Tin Tin. I think I would've enjoyed it better had I not been so tired! We got kid packs to munch on(popcorn, fruit snacks and a drink). I decided to be the aunt for real that day and spoiled him with a slushi. I didn't anticipate them giving us a great big one... we each got one... talk about crazy! Sizes in the US are MASSIVE!! Some Smalls are too big for me even... :) At one point, Jo climbed into my lap and we both dozed off... thankfully the movie then picked up in speed and had us awake in no time:)
Christmas quickly followed my arrival home, so there was not time wasted on getting things together and wrapped. I brought 2 bags home, neither full... each about 30 lbs and over 3/4 of that stuff was Christmas presents, gifts to friends, or something for my silent auction. Within 2 days of my arrival, our house was hopping with family and some friends.
Christmas Eve was pretty normal for us. Thankfully this year Heather and Jeff were with us- they spend one christmas with us and then one with Jeff's family, but we had them this year:) We went to the Christmas Eve service, then came home to a feast of Shrimp, dips and chips. Some may say that doesnt sound much like a feast... but we don't eat dinner before service, and we had clam dip(my FAVORITE), French Onion, and Ranch dip along with Fritos, kettle cooked ruffles and tortilla chips... its a feast...;) It was incredible because I hadn't had shrimp bigger than a quarter that hadn't been previously frozen in a year. Carrabba's is indeed an exception, but these were at least 2 times bigger than the ones in that dish. AMAZINNG!!
That night before Jordan went to bed, he set out cookies for 'Santa'.... and I got to eat them;) Then I was truly a 'parent' type because I had to help lug all of the presents up out of the basement and lay them out nicely... my mom had fallen asleep and so we were helping my dad out a bit:) It wasn't fun per-se but it was nice seeing the end result... beautiful:)
The next morning, we decided to get up by 7;30 and have everyone show up around then because my parents were certain they couldn't wrange Jordan much longer than that. To our surprise he woke up around 7;15... very late for the boy. I made mini monkey breads and we just enjoyed the company of everyone- 4 generations... and just had a great day. Later in the day, family friends came over and played wii with Jordan and we all had CHEEESECAKE!!! :) It was a picture perfect day.
I had a very relaxing week and was a little disappointed I didn't get friend time until later in the week, but then boy did I. A friend took me to sushi and we watched HP 7 pt 2, 2 friends took me to On the Border(one of my more frequent haunts on the trip), and one took me out for high tea which was quite incredible for the girl lacking 1st world food and fun for that long:) On New Years Eve, I decided to throw a dinner party. So many of my friends had plans already when I asked if they'd be interested in coming for a party, so I decided if I did a dinner party, everyone could eat amazing food for free and enjoy the company then go when they're ready to their next party. Ellen came over after we went to a music making party, and she helped me make appetizers and this amaazing bow-tie pasta with sausage, wine sauce, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and amazingness. I also tried out an herb and cheese pullapart bread... I'd make it a little differently next time but good for a first attempt, and we just enjoyed eachother. Later we had ice cream sundaes to top off the evening. This began my week-long obsession with ice-cream sundaes, which sadly ended as soon as we ran out of whipped cream... probably best. Once everyone was gone, I got in my jammied and curled up and watched whatever it took to keep me awake, then once the ball dropped got hooked in with Les Mis in concert and had to force myself into bed:)
From then on, things seriously calmed down. I saw friends from time to time, but mostly was just absorbing the time I had to relax. Most mornings included me getting up at a semi-decent hour which was hard because my bed was so comfortable. though somehow I wound up going to bed at 1am most nights despite my extreme jet lag... I blame netflix... then I'd make some yummy eggy thing that included not fully cooked eggs since I dont dare with our local African eggs. Then I'd chill out in my dad's comfy chair and watch some Grey's Anatomy, which I fell head over heels for once again... oh dear... :)
I really think the last week was one of the most exciting weeks and fun... mostly;) We went out to PA to celebrate my grandparents 60th Anniversary, the same day Jordan had to be put under to retrieve 4 objects from his ears... which was interesting. Poor Kid. He did well on the trip, we got to go to the CRACKER BARREL, which was AMMMAZING. When we got to my Grandparents house though... it was SO COLLLD!! About 20degrees, and blustery.... raining when we got in... not sure how because it was so coldd, but alas. We just had a great time. It was a blessing to stay with my Grandparents. At first I was a little jealous of my parents hotel room the way they talked about it, but I realized I got some grandparent time I needed very much. I had Jo the first night so my parents could get some sleep- they'd been up for nights and nights with a screaming kid... he was great, though did really odd things, like rub my back and come up to my face with his face in the middle of the night... didn't sleep well but glad the parents did.
The party was flawless. Great food, they renewed their vows, they even had the original wedding party beside them... incredible. A friend of theirs even made a wedding cake which was absolutely STUNNING!! A knockout event in every sense. Us cousins got to catch up and just hang out and be goofy, and it was just wonderful. Afterwards, a bunch of us headed back up to the apartment(the party was down in the banquet room of their apartment building- stunning!) and just talked and laughed and had a great time:) Great trip all in all. The ride home was a bit tougher as we were all tired and Jordan wasn't having it. It was nice to be back to my bed. Then we went to soccer. The boy is a BEAST in soccer:)
Anyway.. The next day, I flew out to Rhode Island for 3 days to see Ellen. We had only gotten to see a little bit of eachother while she was in MD, and I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to her- only seeing the girl for 6 hours out of 2 years isn't okay with me... so I checked and Southwest was flying to RI for 41 dollars each, coming to a total of $103 for the whole purchase. It was an AMAZING time... I got some time with my greatest friend, got to see what her life is like first hand, explored a brand new city(I discovered I am in LOVE with cities while I was home), had incredible food, cupcakes, went to a brewery, spent time at her work and with the interns she works with, met with a ship friend... it was stunning... a great trip. :)
The night I flew home, however, I learned that Jordan needed emergency tonsil surgery, which was extremely stressful and heartbreaking. I was so glad to be home for that though and I was able to help my parents out through that. My Aunt came my last day with my Cousin and his girlfriend. We had pizza, went to target and just hung out...oh... and more SHRIMP! :) Then I went out with my closest friends bowling, which was HILARIOUS. I would either completely strike out for multiple turns or get 0 points at all...:) Then we headed to Pubdog and just had a blast with eachother. I headed home sad but excited for getting back to the ship.... then the next day happened.... see the previous blog for that saga:)
Overall it was a BLAST being home. It helped me realize I do love America, which is good. I'm glad I can hopefully come back one day and live there again and do great. I did notice a lot of things though.... the waste was the biggest thing that struck me. In some ways I never even realized how much it affected me. For example, mom was going to throw out some bottles of water that were opened during the party and I got really upset... so she watered plants...which were actually fake.. haha... but stilll... it really bugged me. Also, the waste of money in the US is absolutely ABSURD. But, I do hope one day to live in a city where I can walk most places and just enjoy the talllll building and hopefully it'll have a great art scene and I'll thrive:) One day. But for now... I"m here:)