Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Traveling Abroad--The Good, The Bad and the...Yawn...

As I mentioned in my last post, we went on a visit (for two weeks) to Germany for a family party. Su's aunt and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and just about every relative in the family made it to the gorgeous town of Buxtehude which is in the north near Hamburg. We also spent time with Su's 91 year old grandfather closer to Frankfurt which was wonderful.

I was so looking forward to this trip, in part because I was so looking forward to a break from my job. Getting all of our packing organized has become a bit more complex with the addition of our two boys, but how much extra stuff do you need for a 4 year old and a one year old munchkin? Turns out quite a lot. Car seats and many diapers, and snacks and toys/books and a DVD player for the rental car (what a blessing that turned out to by though!)  Anyway, we got to the airport with time to spare and began our 7 hour direct flight to Frankfurt in good spirits.

The flight left at 3:45 local time and with the 6 hour time difference, we hoped they'd just sleep some and then sleep some more in the rental car. But alas, one year old Benji was the squirmiest worm ever--he was only happy when he was running laps around our section of the plane (so sorry fellow travelers). He had scant interest in the movies and shows on the little screen in front of him, nor in any snack, book or toy. When dinner came we hoped he'd be happy and eat then sleep, but somehow he managed to crawl under my legs with the dinner on the tray in its locked and downright position, and I could not catch him. Slapstick comedy ensued (not). Anyway, Su finally coaxed him to sleep and there was peace. Sort of.

Danny was super well behaved, but except for a one hour nap from about 4:00-5:00, he did not sleep. So for 23 of 24 hours he was awake. And talkative. And wanting to watch this and then that. And wanting to talk some more. It was a long flight.

When we arrived in Frankfurt at 5 am local time we hung out for about 1.5 hours waiting for Su's mom to come in on another flight. Benjamin ran around in a circle approximately 750 times. He would not be stopped. Danny started crashing. It was all great fun. After a nice breakfast with Su's mom (she stayed with the boys so we could get and load up the rental car) she went to meet her sister to take a train to the festivities, and we were off on the autobahn. You know, that winding German highway with no speed limits in many places?

When the gagging started in the back seat I was not sure who it was at first. It was poor Benji. One clean up stop later we were on the road again. Then he did it again. Another cleaning pit stop and then we wisely put a bib on him too.

You know, this sounds like a real downer of a trip right? But it wasn't! We had so much fun hanging out with cousins and other relatives. The boys were for the most part well behaved. The weather was lovely. But Su and I realized that we are hardly ever with our boys 24/7. And for this two week period we were.  Everything was new and exciting to the boys and they loved, loved, loved, Patrick and Christoph and Toby and Lisa and Jonas and Jannis and Jonna and all their older German relatives too.

A friend on Facebook called vacationing with kids an "oblication". I like that. It's a lot of work. (There was also the peeing the pants incident on the return flight but who is counting?)

But I'm thrilled that suddenly Danny is interested in speaking German and wants Su to read to him in German. I'm glad that Benji charmed the heck out of everyone and that we'll hopefully see some of our cousins next year when they come to DC to visit us.

And I'm VERY glad to be home. But can't wait to go again in a few years. Yeah, I'm sort of crazy like that. ;-) -Monica

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