You may have noticed I was away from the blog recently. I took a trip to San Francisco with my youngest son. It was a very quick trip, left on Friday, back on Tuesday. You may think I'm crazy to take such a short trip to the US, especially with a kid, but on many levels, the trip was worth it.
To start, the trip evolved from my desire to retain my United Airlines Gold Card. I never thought in my life, I'd be trying to plan a trip just to obtain elite airline status. I also never thought my husband and I would have so many in depth conversations about our yearly travel and how to attain the best rewards from an airline. Yes, we talk often about how we are going to fly our 50,000 miles in a year and keep those gold cards. We talk about how we just couldn't fathom standing in the regular check-in, not the express for gold card holders, how we couldn't imagine waiting forever in the security line instead of bypassing it in the gold card lane, or worse, only earning 1 mile per mile flown, instead of 2. Oh, and let's not forget about the bags, 50 lbs is for the birds, with a gold card, you get 3, yes 3 free checked and up to 70 lbs each, that's worth it's weight in gold alone to us. Is this really me, have I become this person so obsessed with premier flying status that I actually booked a trip involving a 9.5 hour flight and 11.5 hour return, with a small amount of jet lag involved? Do you remember my post about traveling back to Japan with my four kids after homeleave? I think you know why I have turned into this elite hungry person.
We also have a friend in San Francisco, whom we have known for a very long time, Dave's old college roommate. He has visited us in Japan 4 times, so I figured it was time to repay the favor and also give myself a chance to check out his new condo.
What really sealed the deal for me to take this trek was being able to bring back a lot of Christmas for my kids. As I have mentioned before, this is our first time staying in Japan for Christmas and I wanted to make it extra special for my kids. We can get them toys anywhere, we can make lots of cookies, cakes, and decorations, but there's just something to be said for the little things you find in stores that make it feel like a holiday. Normally, I would just have my mom ship all the stuff over, but even shipping's gotten over the top expensive.
What are these little things I speak of? Check out this photo:
One of the greatest things for me about living abroad is how these little things pictured here have become such treats for my kids. These items are either very expensive, hard to find, or non-existent here, so receiving them is the biggest treat. Holidays have been so much easier to shop for all of us because we ask for simple things such as a favorite candy bar or a box of oatmeal.
When I was in Target this past weekend, it was like a holiday explosion for me. There were so many crowds, so many scents, so many new types of food items, so many types of holiday decor to choose from. How do I squeeze a little bit of it all into my suitcases? As I was going up and down the aisles, I kept coming up with more ideas of how we could spend each night before Christmas and before I knew it, my cart was so full and people were staring at me, asking me if they could come to my house for Christmas. I couldn't help but smile, I knew I was successful and that even though we are the family with a cardboard tree, we are the family that is going to have one of the most memorable Christmases ever.
Do you know someone that is living far away from home, maybe not even overseas, it could be in another state with no relatives living close by. If you are sending them a gift this year, don't think of the big things, think little. It's the little things that are familiar that make us squeal with joy. I can't believe how happy it made me to buy a box of Keebler merry mint patties. For my kids, even the holiday napkins were a delight, they just like to look at them and say how pretty they are. As for the big things, we use them and appreciate them, but eventually, they get old and collect dust. It's the little things that excite us, they are the things we miss the most, and the things that bring us the greatest comfort.
This was my first trip away from home, sort of solo, and how did I spend it?- shopping at Target for little Christmas things that put HUGE smiles on my kids' faces.