Since returning from my trip back East, Spain trip prep has become a full time second job. Seriously. But I think I have all my shit in order, including ATM/Credit cards without international fees (Go Schwab!), a travel adapter, my safety whistle, and gifts for the host family. Most importantly, I’ve whittled my shit down to just one carry-on luggage, which is AMAZINGLY minimalist for me. Three weeks, remember? Yeah, I rock.
This weekend was another packed couple of days. John and I hosted our first annual chilli cook-off. I was convinced ours was near the top of the list, but I dunno, guess our taste buds are totally different from everyone else’s. We were dead last. What a bummer. But the party was still fun, and I got to see a bunch of people whom I hadn’t seen in ages. Then today, we went to a monster pumpkin patch south of HMB– Arata’s. They also had a crazy maze and petting zoo (goats!!) which was cool. Have you ever noticed that goats have the strangest body shape? From map view, they are diamond-shaped because their abdomen area is so oddly bloated. Very weird creatures. The wonky eyes really freak me out actually. They would be cute otherwise… Anyways, we carved our pumpkin. The design was John’s idea (something he had seen on a TED talk or something?) with my handiwork. I thought it turned out pretty adorable.
Eeks, it’s been ages. Busy, busy. Honestly, I don’t know where all my time goes. September ended with a bang (as you know). After receiving endless tweets about cheapo flights to Europe, I finally took the plunge and booked tickets to Spain for a 3-week immersion program in Salamanca (west of Madrid). Leave it to the end of Q3 to push me to action. Yeah, I even finished Gladwell’s book, and it was terrific. I’m ordering the Chinese translation for my parents. Anyhow, for some reason, the book gave me an extra push to do more.
After the thrill of reserving my Spain trip wore off, I got down and dirty with a whole other list of todo’s. In mid-October, I went to visit the family. Got so much shit done in a few days, I felt like a real superstar: took parents to check out Charles Town, WV (casino and horse racing). Checked out Harpers Ferry (neither parent is outdoorsy but boy was dad excited about his $10 lifetime senior’s park pass). Saw the beautiful fall leaves turn along Skyline Drive in Virginia. Met up with my Reston house property manager (was good to put a face to a name). Visited with my college roommie. Lunched with the in-laws. Visited my grandparents. Called a bunch of plumbers regarding a nasty sewage backup at the grandparents’ house (yeah, I have a pretty tough tummy, but I almost hurled!). Researched health insurance options for the gramps. Purchased new tires for my mom… Yup, I was worked to a nub back East. The good news is my family is mostly healthy and well. I also discovered a kickass crab cake at Bonefish Grill (of all places). Super meaty, no filler. Delish.
The trip home was a good reminder/reality check. I just thought about all the things my parents have done for me, and all the things they do for their parents… and I just realized that yeah, it’s a lot of work but I just need to shut up and do it. Because honestly, if all this crap (e.g. health insurance research) is confusing for me, it must be ten times worse for my parents trying to understand all the complicated mumbo jumbo. Plus, I see that they are starting to slow down. Aging just sucks. So anyway, I just try to put things back into perspective. It’s not easy, because I do enjoy my bitch/woe-is-me sessions, but enough is enough. Suck it up and move on.
By the way, I thought my parents were going to flip about me going to Europe alone (without John as my chaperone), but then I realized, as long as I put the educational spin on it, I’m golden. And what do you know, they were totally supportive. My friend Pamela is so right… it’s all about the angle (and the spin).
Ok well I gotta head into work now. Check out my recent pics though.