"Did you have joy?" Helga asked. Helga was the owner of the apartment we rented while on holiday this past week. Our apartment was the second story of their home and they heard a lot of what went on while we were there. We had delayed this trip a day because of Malachi's fever, thankfully he was fever free during the trip, but he was still quite unhappy the first night. He cried every 2 hours all night long. He has been sleeping through the night now for months and this is not something we expected on vacation. There was quite a bit of snow while we were visiting and that meant more time in the apartment than we had originally expected. All of this lead to our host asking me if I had joy. I love speaking with people that are not native English speakers because they phrase things differently, more authentically at times.
I have made the distinction before of vacationing versus traveling. We do a lot of traveling with our children and very little true vacationing and I am okay with that. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that these days will be gone and we will miss getting to spend so much time with our children.
Traveling means laundry and grocery shopping to clothe and feed our small army on the road. It means not getting to do all of the activities we would like to do.
It also means slowing down and appreciating things that you might otherwise miss. There are so many memories that we have made and conversations we have had that we wouldn't if we just stayed home. The people that we have gotten to meet through Airbnb.com and travel have added to our life as well. Helga and Rupert were wonderful hosts at the house we stayed at.
I was speaking to a friend last night and he said how proud he was of us getting out and visiting places and making the most of this expat life. It was encouraging to hear that because there are always times on these trips that I question if all the effort is worth it, but it is.
The first time our kids see the Statue of Liberty, it is a replica in Colmar, France.
They spent a little more time on the iPad while we enjoyed our snow storm, but they also built a snowman,
and had fun in the snow. Rupert, who didn't speak any English, brought out a sled for the kids to use.
Malachi had a fun trip, I think.
He is becoming such a big boy. We didn't have a highchair or booster seat so Malachi sat up to the table with us. He didn't eat as much as he might have if he were buckled in, but he loved being one of the big kids.
Thankfully we didn't have to much of this after the first night.
Snuggle time is always so special.
On our last full day on our trip we were hoping to visit a World War I battlefield. Unfortunately it is up in the mountains and the roads were closed. Thankfully we did find a fortified church that dated back to the 1400s.
Garrett loved running through the snow, picking up sticks, and just being a little boy. Getting to see what each of our children are drawn to as we visit these places is so special. We were the only visitors to this little church on this morning. As the church bells rang we took a moment to appreciate our time as a family.
I told Helga that absolutely we had joy on this trip. I hope that my children know how much joy they bring to me, wherever we are.