I am recapping the wonderful time that I had with my family here in the States this summer. See all related posts under the category: summer tales. (I’ve done these recap posts the last few times when I had family visit, and if you want to see how fast kids grow up, check out one of the previous posts from 2015.)
Gosh, here we are in September already and I am having a hard time getting these vacation recaps started. How do you sum up an epic summer vacation? A trip that had been three years in the making, twice postponed, and finally happened? I guess the best way is to just start writing.
My parents and sister + family arrived here in California late at night on June 27th. It was my last day of work, luckily I was able to take the whole time off that they were here, but honestly I had already checked out mentally and kept checking the flight tracker website throughout the day to make sure that their travel went smoothly and their flight was on time.
I was giddy with anticipation when we could finally leave for the airport to pick them up. I am glad Jon was driving. We still had to wait a while in the arrivals hall until my family finally appeared at the top of the escalator. Everyone was wearing a huge smile (behind their masks) on their faces, I’d argue my smile was the widest. I have to say that it’s always a little surreal to see them “here on my home turf”.
Of course, everyone was very tired from the long journey and it was already 1 a.m., so we ordered a Lyft (because we couldn’t fit everyone + luggage in our VW Jetta), dropped them off at their hotel, and wished them a good night. The plan was to have everyone over for brunch in the morning. I could not wait to host everyone at our new patio set in the backyard.
I was up early, partly because I couldn’t wait to have my family over at our place, but also because I had one last work call on Tuesday morning. My colleague had been out of the office for 3.5 weeks and I was about to be out of the office for the same amount of time, so I had agreed to a quick check-in call on Tuesday morning (to hand some things off to her). We kept it short though, we finished shortly before 10 am. While I set the table outside, made coffee, and prepared brunch, Jon picked everybody up at the hotel, shuttling back and forth twice.
After a long, leisurely brunch, my Dad, my BIL, my sister, and I drove back to the airport to pick up the rental cars (due to their late arrival, the rental car place was already closed the night before and we couldn’t pick the cars up upon their arrival).
My Dad had already reserved the cars in advance, and we assumed that it would be a pretty quick affair, that we would only be handed the keys, and off we would go.
Unfortunately, there was a problem with the reservation. The lady at the Alamo counter said that two cars couldn’t be rented by the same person, and therefore only one reservation could be accepted. The second car would then have to be “re-booked” separately by another person. Which, of course, was accompanied by a surcharge for the insurance.
Since the cars had been booked via a German website, it was not possible to get someone on the phone to settle the matter, so after some back and forth, my BIL ended up renting the second car using his credit card and we were able to drive off the lot with two cars.
In the meantime, Jon had entertained my Mom and the kids and walked with them to our neighborhood park. As it was pretty hot (which is normal for Sacramento this time of year), the kids wanted to cool off at the hotel pool when we finally got back from the airport, so we took them and my parents back to the hotel, and my sister, BIL and I went to the supermarket to buy some water, drinks, and snacks.
In the evening, we decided to officially start off our vacation with a family favorite from their last visit: dinner at Chicago Fire. Everyone was looking forward to their amazing thin crust pizza, as well as, their delicious Buffalo Wings.
I must admit, I was a little nervous to go to a restaurant (Jon and I still hadn’t been out to eat in a while). I had talked to my family beforehand about how we would handle eating out and other crowded places during their visit, as we were all a little bit concerned about someone catching Covid while traveling. My sister and her family had all had it, but my parents, Jon, and I had still avoided an infection (and I wasn’t keen to change that). I told them that restrictions had been significantly lifted here, but that I would prefer that we still take precautions as much as possible. Everyone agreed. Luckily, the restaurant was pretty empty (what with it being a Tuesday) and we all felt okay wearing our masks until we got to our table and then taking them off.
Spoiler alert: I am so relieved to tell you upfront that we were cautious and made it through our vacation without a Covid incident.