After leaving the dreary grey of Chicago behind us, even a little color was a welcome site.
Our plan: No planning
Our lives are like that of so many other busy families – over scheduled, very little free time, running from one activity to another. So why is it that when we arrived in Scottsdale, we were so compelled to fill every minute of our time with activities? The whole point of this trip was to go someplace warm that the kids had never been to before where we could just be. We thought about a Cubs pre-season game, horseback riding. It turns out, though, when we asked our kids what they wanted to do, they were perfectly happy just hanging out at the hotel.
That’s what we did. We hung out, just let the lazy hours go by while we spent time at the pool. Turns out the biggest decision we made during the day was googling where to go for dinner.
So you may have heard me mention a time or two in previous posts that our mantra, if you will, is “It’s an adventure!” It’s our way of reminding ourselves that we need to roll with it, the good and the not so good. Traveling together as a family is so important to us. We really want our kids to see the world outside of our wonderful little community; for them to be aware that they are truly global citizens and to learn to appreciate the differences among people, within a country and around the world.
Traveling also provides an excellent opportunity to teach our kids to try new things, to be flexible and accommodating, thus the roll with it part. For this particular trip, we had to remind ourselves of this even before the vacation began. Two months prior we had booked the plane tickets to Tucson, the car, the hotel. We were ready to go. Why Tucson, you ask? Well, it fulfilled our two main criteria: 1. the kids have never been, and 2. It’s warm. We found the hotel, largest water slide in Tucson and all. By the grace of God, Eric happened to be on the hotel’s website one week prior to our trip, and in very small print at the bottom was a notice about the pool being closed for renovations, which included the week we would be there, which was spring break, which was really crazy that NO ONE from the hotel contacted us.
So let me get this straight…we were going to get away from the achingly long Chicago winter and take our kids to the dessert with NO pool?! My quick-thinking and problem-solving husband immediately started searching online, and before I knew it we were booked at a fabulous hotel, water slide, lazy river, laser tag, ping pong….done and done. The only thing is that the hotel is in Scottsdale, and no changing our tickets to Tucson with days to go. So, we roll with it, all the way from Tucson to Scottsdale.
Reading material, check.
Coffee for Mom, check.
Electronics and snacks for the plane, check, check.
Ready for wheels up!
These four boys and a girl will forever be grateful for the truly amazing experience we had on our adventures in China and Malaysia. The best part by far was the time we spent with Uncle Stew and Auntie Kim. They were incredibly gracious and generous hosts, and sharing these wonderful experiences with them was the greatest gift of all. Another highlight was getting to know Kim’s family. They are such lovely, warm and kind-hearted people. We will look forward to spending more time with them in the future. We hope to be able to host them in the U.S. sometime!
Stay tuned for more adventures. We must admit that discussion had already begun about where we would travel to next before we had even landed back home:).
Return to Shanghai
JUNE 20, 2012
We board our plane for our return trip to Shanghai, flight number 6 for us. The kids have become remarkably patient and adept travelers.
We have lots of good food and great fun back at Stewart and Kim’s place, and we do a whole lot of careful packing before we take our final flight home to Chicago.
Last night in Malaysia
Farewell to our family in Melaka
June 19, 2012
Before we head back to Kuala Lumpur, Yvonne feeds us the most delicious meal she so lovingly prepared for us. It’s similar to moo shu, but everything is so incredibly fresh and flavorful. We stuff ourselves, enjoying the meal and our last moments with our family there.
We say our goodbyes for now, and load up for the two hour ride back to KL.
Evening in Malaka
We enjoy a delicious meal in an open air restaurant in Malacca called Aunty Fatso’s.
Our wonderful hosts in Melaka, William and Yvonne, have ordered amazing food and wine for us to enjoy, including huge crab claws and sweet-as-candy dragon fruit and watermelon.
As I mentioned, truly one of the most special parts of this trip has been the opportunity to get to know Kim’s family. Until my trip to Malaysia, I had never met her sweet mother, and although she does not speak any English, we connected in the most meaningful way. We both understand how much we love Stewart and Kim and therefore we are connected.
One more stop before we call it a night…foot massages for all! We settle into our leather recliners and watch European Cup soccer while we have our feet massaged. Life is good.
JUNE 18, 2012
Our next adventure takes us to Malacca, home to Kim’s sister Yvonne and her husband William and their son Zhiming. He has not been home since the previous summer when he left for his first year at Purdue. We are all very excited to see the place he calls home!
Who knew ice cream with red beans and corn in it would be so delicious?
We go back to our hotel for a swim and to cool off!
We explore some more and visit St. Paul’s Hill with the ruins of a Portuguese fortress. There are some wonderful views from this location, as well.