We're off to the United States in a few hours. We often take a long vacation after Christmas. Gets us out of the long, dark winter in Stockholm and gives us some needed rest after the demands of Christmas. I feel very lucky that we can return to our home country as often as we do. We have folks in our church who can never go back because it's not safe, or they don't have the money or time to do so. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty that we are able to travel back and forth to the States as often as we do. But mostly I just feel thankful and seek to enjoy every opportunity. I love to go, but I miss my dog a lot. He's not exactly a hand luggage canine!
It's not so stressful packing for the US because even if we need something or forgot something, it's very easy to purchase, at a low price. We will stimulate the American economy, for better or worse! But we are headed to Minnesota first and it is absolutely deep freeze there. The only thing that saves it for us is that the days are longer and the sun will shine brightly. And, truth be told, we're not outside all that much. House to car to mall to car to restaurant to car to house. Sitting in a car in sub-zero weather does leave much to be desired. But we are excited to spend time with Doug's family, eat at our favorite burger joint, watch American football in the right time zone, go to movies that have just been released, and quite frankly, have nothing that we absolutely have to do for almost 3 weeks. And the anticipation of warm, sunny Palm Springs, California keeps me smiling.
Moving between the two nations is always interesting. I love going to the grocery store in the States. I love shopping in the States. I love the casual ease of American society. But I do feel overwhelmed by the vast consumer choices that are available. It's odd to see how overweight our society is. I get a little nutty being in the car all the time instead of walking. It's always a barrage on the senses, reverse culture shock combined with joyful delight in going to my favorite places.
Of course, we always miss Tanner while we're away...ever grateful that we have a family with 3 children who wait with eager anticipation for us to go on vacation so that Tanner can move in with them. They are lovely and they love him. We are very lucky. We'll miss him, but are grateful he's in good hands.
I have to include some photos of our silly dog, so that I can look at them while we're away.
Bad weather is forecast for Chicago, our entry city. Temperatures are below zero Fahrenheit both there and in Minneapolis. It hardly ever gets that cold here.
I'll let you know how our trip across the pond turned out. Weather aside, however, I'm excited about being in the States, hanging with family and friends and being on vacation.