Posted by: Anna | April 28, 2011

Vacation from My Vacation

I would guess that some of you reading that title at work are thinking how lucky I am. I completely agree with you. As many of you may already know, I took a spontaneous trip to Dallas for two weeks and met up with Tommy again in Singapore (our next stop after
India/Nepal). It was great – hot showers! clean bed! driving on the right! good deoderant! bagels! friends! family!

One of the truly novel parts of my trip home was the flights – since I flew miles, and booked at the last minute, I ended up in Business Class, on British Airways on the way there and American and Japan Airlines on the way back. Let me just say, Business Class rocks! I was the most grungy Business Class passenger, but the staff treated me very kindly. I flew Delhi – London – Dallas on the way home, and Dallas – Narita (Tokyo) – Singapore on the way back. British Airways definitely wins the award for best overall – the seat reclines 100% flat, so I slept really well. The lounge has a serve yourself wine bag, and a food buffet. American wins no awards – 2nd best seat, 2nd best food….Japan Airlines had the most amazingly gorgeous food. My meal started with 8 different tiny works of art, made of luxurious foods like foie gras. Amazing. However, the seat on JAL was crap. Enough on the reviews of business class – it was such a novelty for me to be treated like a queen and be living luxuriously…it was so fun!

I really enjoyed my time in the States. I had a lovely brunch at the Dallas Arboretum with my family. I had a delicious and fun lunch with my sister in law Jenny on my birthday. I ate Mexican and Barbeque. My mom and I prepared a Bon Appetit Southwestern Thanksgiving dinner; I’ve always wanted to make one of the elaborate menus in the November Bon Appetit, but I would not want to deviate from our traditional Thanksgiving meal. This gave me the perfect opportunity to indulge a long running fantasy….especially since my mom told me  I could do “whatever I wanted for my birthday”. It was really fun. I stocked us up on American medications and toiletries (we have way better stuff!). I even grabbed a couple of treats for Tommy – a copy of the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview, a new Longhorn t-shirt, a pound of Skittles, and a new frisbee.

Being home gave me the chance to see America with fresh eyes, and I am more grateful to be American than ever before in my life, for simple things and big things. Simple things like clean running water, which I have never appreciated before. Big things, like freedom of speech and (reasonably) fair elections. Most of all, I appreciate the freedom to start and create a business; all of the other rights we have are dependent, in my opinion, on our economic strength. I believe America is the best country in the world for entrepreneurs. We are so lucky that is true – even for those who never start a business. The
American dream is alive and well.

Of course, the best part of being home was seeing my family and friends (there is nothing like the first hug from each of my parents!), and the chance to put a period at the end of the first (approximately) half of our trip. Here are some of the most common questions I was asked and my answers. Perhaps you have thought them too, or
maybe not.

What is your favorite place?

So far, I would answer India, which seems to surprise everyone. Since I just wrote the wrap up post, I won’t restate my experience here. I guess reading the blog, everyone forms their own idea of what the “best” place is. Truly, the reality is travel is an incredibly personal experience, shaped by the people you meet and the weather, and a million other factors that are never the same. When you go to Rome, and I go one week later, we each have a different experience. It’s why you can revisit a place, as long as you don’t expect to recreate what happened the last time you were there.

Where are you going next?

We spend six days in Singapore, then on to the Philippines for a couple of weeks. Our next countries are Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. We will meet my parents in Australia at the end of July, and finish our trip with them in New Zealand. After that, we don’t have anything booked.

What foods did you miss?

I was surprised that I didn’t miss certain foods all that much. Food around the world is quite good! Not to say I didn’t enjoy eating at home – I did. Mexican, BBQ, Mom’s home cooking, even Thanksgiving dinner! But it’s the people I miss more than anything – food is pale in comparison.

Did you learn anything “big” about yourself?

Okay, only one person asked me this, and I couldn’t answer him in the moment. Of course, the biggest lesson I have learned came to me later, as I knew it would. The biggest lesson is the incredible difference that being present in the current moment makes. When I contrast that strategy for living with the constant future and past dwelling I usually do, I
realize that peace with God, happiness, and life are found right now. Not in some future where I am a better version of me, or where I have the thing I’m waiting for. I certainly have not mastered this, but at least I know the road exists.

Do you get tired of Tommy?

Again, surprisingly, no. He’s really quite good company. Okay, sometimes I do, and he of me. But really, I cannot imagine a person I would prefer to spend time with, in any circumstance – in a car surrounded by a pack of lions, cashless in Moscow on our first day, on an un-airconditioned bus for hours, or any of the other myriad of strange and unexpected situations in which we have found ourselves. He is easygoing, funny, and
a good conversationalist. Pretty much a perfect travel companion.

Are you tired of wearing the same clothes all the time?

Unsurprisingly, yes. I really enjoyed wearing OTHER clothes at home, and I even splurged and acquired 3 new tshirts! It is much simpler to decide what to wear, rather like elementary school when I had to wear a uniform. I wish I had a little dress so I would have something nicer to wear sometimes, but perhaps I’ll find one on the road.

What are you going to do when you get home?

I don’t know. Next question…..

When are you going to get home for good?

I don’t know the answer to this either. We have plane reservations through August. After that…we will definitely be home in time for Christmas. We have a vague plan (no more than a thought at this point) that we will follow NZ with Indonesia, China, South Korea, Japan, Guam, Yap, and Palau. But who knows?

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Responses

  1. What was it like for me to have Anna home? Pure heaven. Absolutely, pure heaven. I didn’t want to go to work but I did. She was BUSY during the day and really my working gave her the freedom to do lots of things while home! So let me fill in some of the parts that she left off.

    When she got off the plane she was seriously jet lagged. It was quite a trip. But the next day I dragged her to my women’s club benefit and she came cheerfully. God had a hand in that day. Three of my closest friends were there as my guests and two are very devoted blog readers, Patty and Vicki. They relived several of her memorable experiences with her. They are lovely people and Anna was so touched that they had such an interest in the blog. They were the perfect people for her to see that day as was Jan who she has known since birth.

    Anna made sure she connected with all the family she could while we were home. She and her grandmother Irma Ruth designed and made pajama pants together. She and her cousin Courtney had a evening gabbing on our Mexican porch together. (This was after Anna had not one but two Happy Hours with friends earlier that day) Anna planned our fun outing at the Arborteum she mentioned, to gather all the family locally together for Dallas Blooms. Shelley, Marcus, Sandy, Teresa, Irma, Miranda, Megan, Jerry and I were there.

    Anna cooked and cooked. She and I made casseroles for our friends who were having babies and delivered them. She opened a mountain of mail and took care of a ton of personal business. She had long chats with her grandparents in Amarillo and with Tommy’s mom in Houston. She had lunch with her sister in law on her birthday in town on business. We made the infamous Southwestern Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun to be in the kitchen all day with her like we love to do. It was truly great accompanied by only one family Thanksgiving classic – Anna’s crescent rolls. They were amazing as always.

    She spent lots of time with her mom, which I really treasure. She is the best kind of daughter and I have missed her terribly. I had to get used to her being gone all over again but it was worth it.

    With all the time she has spent with Tommy she missed him so much while she was gone. I am so proud of the partnership they have built. They have a great marriage.

    Miss you sweetie but know what an adventure you are having!


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