Well, I usually like to think of my life as pretty normal. But this past week was anything but normal, so that’s why I titled this “A day in my CRAZY life.”
Our residence visas were expiring soon, and about a month ago my husband lightly mentioned, “This visa process isn’t working out very well…the computer system keeps cutting me off…It’s really frustrating, I hope this works out…”
One day about a week ago my husband again said in passing conversation, “The visas still aren’t going through…I have tried so many times…there is a small chance that we might have to exit the country and reapply…”
He is such a saint when it comes to this administrative stuff for our large family. We have 7 people, 7 passports, 7 separate visas needed, which means a lot of paperwork! He has spent countless hours with 2 computers, 2 tablets, 2 phones, all running simultaneously to try to get us all visa appointments. It is no small task.
We have gone through this process twice before, so I was completely optimistic it would work out. I didn’t bother mentioning this crazy possibility of traveling to the kids because I barely considered it myself.
Wednesday was my husband’s birthday. I love to celebrate birthdays. I especially love to celebrate my most favorite person in the world’s birthday.
In the morning he said, “Well, I am going to try the visas again today…but if it doesn’t work, we might have to leave for a bit…our visas expire in 2 days…”
Even though he said this, my mind was preoccupied thinking about our day and how we would celebrate his birthday. I was VERY busy that day grading the kids school work, doing laundry, making my husband a card, grocery shopping, baking his favorite cheesecake, and cooking a nicer dinner for him.
Since I was so busy, I honestly didn’t think too much about the possibility of a trip that whole day. We all sat at the table for his birthday dinner that night and then my husband says, “Well guys, I don’t know how much mom mentioned to you…but I think we are going to have to leave the country for a few days in order to get new visas…”
The kids all respond, “Uhh..Ok…when?”
Then my husband replies, “Hmm, I think we are going to probably leave tomorrow…in the morning!”
Although this was rather random, we all gave a mini cheer because at least it was 2 unexpected days off from homeschooling!
He then went on to discuss the possible location of our trip. As soon as dinner ended, he and I looked at the airplane and housing options that he researched earlier that day and then we booked everything! We went to Greece because that is where the airplane tickets were the cheapest for such a last minute trip. I was getting very excited because although it was extremely last minute, it kind of felt like an end of summer mini vacation with all the people that I love the most…my family!
After we booked our plane tickets, I turned to my husband and jokingly said, “Wow, I am SUCH a nice wife! I surprised you with an epic birthday present…a trip to Greece!”
We then all got super busy straightening up the house, packing our bags, grabbing all of our chargers, Kindles, video game devices, etc.
Wednesday, 10:30 PM, all of the kids were in bed.
Wednesday, 11 PM, my husband and I went to bed.
Thursday, 5:30 AM, we woke everyone up to go to the airport, ate some fruit and veggies for breakfast.
Thursday, 6:10 AM, we were out the door, and began our 20 minute walk to the bus station.
Thursday, 6:40 AM, I gave Dramamine to the 4 kids who get motion sick.
Thursday, 6:45 AM, the bus started moving.
Thursday, 7-7:45 AM, all 4 kids who get motion sick, began taking turns vomiting. (I think they needed a heavier breakfast before taking the medicine). Thankfully, we have learned our lesson from past travels and each kid was already equipped with 2-3 bags for throw up.
Thursday, 7:45 AM, arrive at the airport, 2 kids threw up some more in the last 2 throw up bags that we brought.
Thursday, 8 AM, texted some friends to pray for us so that the kids would stop throwing up.
Thankfully, once we got through the proper security lines and checked-in, our kids were all fine and I am happy to report that there was no more vomit for the rest of the trip! PTL!
Once we got on the airplane and the kids weren’t throwing up, we could relax and it did indeed began feeling like a mini vacation. When we arrived to Greece, it was disorienting seeing a different language written everywhere, but thankfully there was English translation under a lot of the signs and there were so many English speakers around.
After we checked into our apartment rental, which was very clean with working air conditioners (another praise!), we went exploring. My husband found a promising restaurant, it was literally called “Meat, Meat, Meat.” It was amazing! The Greek food was awesome and the food was perfect for the 3 of us who are gluten-free. We happily ordered and consumed lots of pork (Pork is VERY uncommon here in our host country, so getting to eat bacon, sausage, and pork skewers was a real treat!).
Then we stopped at a coffee shop. We found this beautiful little shop. The lady behind the register called my husband and I over to her. She pointed to all the kiddos, and said, “Excuse me…are ALL of these FIVE kids YOURS?!” My husband and I just kinda laughed and said, “Yes.” (People ask us this all the time. Some people are being nice when they ask, other times people are being kind of rude. We weren’t sure which category this woman was going to fall into yet.)
Then she unexpectedly said, “I have 4 siblings myself. I am 1 of 5 kids! What kind of coffee do you want? It’s on the house.” We were shocked! No stranger has ever done that for us…we quickly said, “Oh no, that’s ok…you don’t have to do that…” But she insisted saying, “No, no, you have 5 kids! It’s on the house!”
It was so nice! I couldn’t believe her kindness, we were seriously so touched. What an amazing way to begin our random trip.
One day we went sight-seeing to the Acropolis of Athens. As we were walking around this beautiful, historic place, this thought came to me…Wow, my kids have never gotten to go to Disney World, but they have gotten to see and walk the ruins in Rome, Athens, and some other places… What a privilege !
My kids enjoyed the museum and walking around the ruins because they are somewhat familiar with Greek mythology from a fiction book series that they love as well as their history books. We actually got to see a sculpture of Alexander the Great’s head that is pictured in their history book!
What an unusual and awesome experience.
I am so proud of my kids. They are great travelers and have learned to be extremely flexible. They have observed different cultures and have eaten foods from around the world. They have hated some of it but they have loved a lot of it too.
I have no clue what all of this traveling has deposited into their lives. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in each of them as they grow older.
Sunday, 10pm, arrive back home to our cozy apartment.
Monday, 9am, try to resume our normal life, do some homeschooling, wash a few loads of laundry, etc.
Monday, 8pm, start blogging about our crazy trip…