It’s been exactly 30 days since my summer vacation began and I’ve been living out of suitcases ever since. It started with my first solo trip, to Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen is just about a halfway point between Qatar and the U.S.A., so it was a good stop over point for this girl who didn’t want to fly 12.5 hours straight alone. Click here to read all the details about my trip. I spent 4 days 5 days there. It was supposed to be 4 days but due to flying a budget airline and a day long delay for a flight out of Copenhagen, it turned into 5 days.
I’m staying with my sista/girlfriend Michele while I’m in Philly, which is about a total of 3 weeks in all, a few days here, a few days there, a week here, a week there, in between my travels and trips.
A few days after I arrived, my oldest son graduated from high school. This was the whole point of leaving a week before the official end of the school year. I can’t believe I am a mother of a high school graduate. He will be going on to attend my Alma Mater, Temple University in Philly to start our legacy. Words can’t express how proud of him I am and blessed I feel that we’ve made it this far.
Three days after my son’s graduation, I took him on a 8 day cruise along with my niece whom graduated college. We cruised on the Carnival Horizon cruise line. It’s a new ship to sail from New York. We sailed to Turks and Caicos were supposed to sail to Turks and Caicos but due to an unfortunate event missed that port of call. However, we did stop in San Juan and the Dominican Republic. D.R. which is where I zip lined for the first time and absolutely loved it. D.R. is also where we had the most fun. We spent several days at sea where I gained many pounds from eating and sitting around being lazy and it was glorious. LOL! Read about our fun on the water and to find out how I got my scary ass on that zip line and more by clicking here.
I will spend the next 7 days relaxing, visiting, shopping and enjoying Philly before the boys and I go on to our next vacation spots. I’m enjoying my summer so far but missing my husband and the comforts of home.
See when you teach overseas and summer comes, there is so much to do. You try to cram so much into two months, visiting friends and family, doing the things you don’t get to do in your new home, traveling, relaxing and unwinding. You also spend a lot of time being uncomfortable because your new country becomes home and some things and people change while others remain the same in your native country and you start to wonder where exactly you fit. The more time I spend overseas, the less I feel connected to my home country. I’m starting to understand how some people have difficulty with repatriation. Check back later for Part 2 of, What Summer Breaks are Like for an Expat Teacher.
What has your experience been when you travel to your native city after teaching overseas for a few years? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment.
Super anxious to return to America after a full school year of living a dream, my 17 year old son and I buckled our seat belts, got comfy and prayed for a safe flight home. After a mild flight across the Atlantic, avoiding the long custom lines, and quickly proceeding through the global entry kiosk, we were met with a welcome home sign by my nephew and husband. It felt good to be home, in his arms (my husband that is) and in my familiar space.
My summer break back in the states was basically broken up into 3 distinct parts: The First 3 weeks, When new Friends Become Family and My 40th birthday celebration. Yes, you heard me right, 40th, and proud of it.
The First 3 Weeks
...was spent loving my husband, shopping, and chillen. I visited several of my favorite American stores either in person, online or in catalogues, (Macy’s, New York inc, Venus, and Marshals) and shopped for clothes, shoes, and other things to take back to Qatar with me. I ate at some of my favorite restaurants and bars including (All the Way Live, The Pod, Chickies and Pete’s, The Raw bar, Chucks Alibi, Bonefish Grill). I spent some time catching up with family and friends and we drank a lot. I also purged, cleaned and got rid of a lot of items from my house since I would be renting it out to my sister for year 2. Medical, dental and vision appointments also took place for me and the boys.
When new Friends Become Family
Darryl and I met up with my Qatar bestie, Jennifer and her boo Jermaine. They drove up to D.C. from Florida and we drove down from Philly to D.C. to meet them. They had never been to the capital and since we were both on the same coast we thought, road trip. Together we visited some historical sites and grabbed some grub. The next day we drove back home.
Me and hubby in front of the White House-home of the U.S.A. President
The Washington Monument
Protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
All these lost soldiers
Hubby at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Me and Jenn at the White House
A week later we boarded a plane to Las Vegas to attend their wedding. We arrived just in time for me to attend the Bachelorette party, a party bus full of jovial people, bar hopping and plenty of spirits. Darryl attended the Bachelor party the next day. The wedding was on Friday and it was short and beautiful. The reception was just the way I like them, good food, good music, fun people and good vibes. The next day we enjoyed the Sunset hotel resort amenities like casino, restaurants and pool before packing up.
My 40th birthday celebration
I am a big birthday celebrator. I usually like to spend the entire month of August celebrating my birthday, that is on the 8th but I only had 9 days in August to spend in America since school starts so early this year, so I didn’t have much time to do this.
My sisters Ericka and Michele kicked it off with a wine tasting at a Vineyard in New Jersey, then more drinks and snow crab legs (my second favorite food) at Chucks Alibi. We were supposed to go out dancing and some more drinking but one of us had a headache and two of us were tired so we called it a night. This happens when two of you are over 40 and one of you is approaching 40. I remember when I could party all day and all night but those days are few and far in between now. It felt good chatting in the gazebo, listening to live music, man bashing, downing two bottles of wine after tasting 9 other wines, eating a block of cheddar cheese (which I don’t eat anymore, but it was nostalgic and felt good to cheat at the moment), telling them about my adventure overseas, taking pictures in the vineyard and pretending that time stood still if only for a few hours. They get on my nerves but I love them.
A few days later, my hubby and I hopped on a plane for a trip I desired for some time. He was taking me to check CUBA off my list! We flew into Miami, spent two nights there, then boarded our Norweigian cruise ship for 4 nights. (Stay tuned for a more detailed post of all the adventures on our cruise) We spent the first night in the middle of the ocean sailing the open waters until we reached Havana. (Stay tuned for a more detailed post on Cuba coming soon) The shipped docked there overnight. The third night was spent on the open waters again until we reached Norweigan’s private Bahamian island Grand Stirrup Cay, one of the Berry islands. On our last night we sailed back to Miami. An overnight stay at Miami beach finished off our vacation as well as a seat in first class. (Stay tuned for a more detailed post of my experiences in First class) The trip was an epic gift from my husband and a great way to begin 40.
My son treated me to a pedicure and manicure and planned a dinner party for my actual birth day. We went to Ocean Prime and 8 others joined us. He planned it all by himself and I was so proud of him. Even one of my oldest and best friends attended. She had reached out to me before I came home and asked if we could hook up. We met up before the Cuba trip and she apologized for past mistakes. So her showing up for my my birthday was a big step in correcting past wrongs and moving on. Anyway, my two sons, sister Ericka and my niece, nephew and his girlfriend attended the dinner and my friend and ex-coworker Angelic as well. We had a great time and the food and drinks were tasty.
On August 9, I re-packed and hubby and I headed for New York for the long journey to Qatar. I was one plus 1 person and short 2 others. There are definitely some things I will miss about America as I enter year 2 abroad, but I was ready to return to the new place that I call home. I missed it. I missed my Qatar friends and my apartment. I missed my bed and routines. I was tired of spending money, although I enjoyed every penny of it. I felt like I needed a detox from all the drinking I had done. I was anxious to see what this school year holds for me. There are so many things that I have grown to love about Qatar, but that is a post for another day!