Wow, this summer is going by so fast. I always think summer is a blur, but it feels even faster this year than any other. My last post was from a few days after we’d arrived back in the States, but we’ve already arrived in our new home of Kosovo. I will post more about our arrival and settling in here in a few days, but for now I need to recap summer before it slips my mind.
Our flights home were relatively uneventful. We had to run to catch our connection, but we made it. Ron and Angie picked us up in a huge rented van in Austin. It was a fifteen seater van, and it definitely had room for our luggage. We made our annual arrival dinner stop at Chuy’s after we’d dropped our bags and switched cars. I love Chuy’s.
The next few days were a sleepy dram of getting up to run and then lounging around watching the World Cup. The timing was much better than China, with games at 9am, 11am and 1pm. Some of Donnie’s friends came out to meet us for some of the games. It was great to be able to catch up with them. Mexico and Germany had exciting games while we were in San Antonio, and it was super fun to be out with the crowds cheering. Unfortunately, Paul caught something on our voyage home and came down with a pretty righteous fever. After a day and a half, I took him to the urgent care to get some meds. He was still super feverish when Donnie and I were leaving again for a conference in Florida. He recovered quickly while we were away.
We got to San Antonio on a Wednesday evening, and by Sunday morning we were already on our way again to Florida. We got there and checked into our hotel and then sought out a soccer match to watch after exploring the beach nearby. The area was beautiful, but the beach was a little tricky, filled with seaweed right at the waves. Donnie had to attend a conference on Child Protection, but I was just along for the ride. I got up early the next day for a run down by the beach, and was back in time to have a massive hotel breakfast with him before he left for the day. After he was gone, I went down to the beach for a bit, then to the pool, then the store, and finally back to our room for a nap and soccer watching. I think my days were much more relaxing than Donnie’s. We were there from Sunday-Friday, and pretty much all my days were spent working on my tan by the pool, reading and watching soccer. I also found time to write the last blog post. It was a great way for me to ease out of my jetlag, but I felt bad for Donnie as he went off to work everyday. We did have some nice dinners out and some pretty happy happy hours.
Friday we had time to do some relaxing before catching our afternoon flight, and we were back in SA to meet Ron and Angie and Paul for dinner at Los Generales. We settled in for our Texas stay for the next week. Joining us for the week was my mom, so after we took Paul for a for a quick swim, we shopped for a welcome bbq. While I picked up my mom from the airport, Donnie fixed up a beautiful grilled feast and we enjoyed in al fesco that night.
We spent the days with mom shopping, relaxing and watching world cup. I had the chance to have lunch with a few of my birthday club friends, and it was wonderful to catch up with them. On Wednesday, it was fourth of July and we were ready to celebrate!
Donnie and I got up and ran a 10k on the trail, and then picked up supplies for our annual flag cake. Mom and Paul helped me make our flag cake (actually they did most of the work). We make our cake every year, but I think this is the first time that Paul has had the chance to make it with her, the founder of the flag cake tradition. We also made a quick run to the mall to capitalize on the sales for the holiday. We didn’t find much for us, but Paul got some good stuff. We were going to try to go downtown for lunch, but we were all pretty pooped, so we opted for another bbq. Donnie outdid himself again and we had a feast. Luckily, there was time for a nap before we headed out to watch our local soccer team. Loud thunder woke me from my nap, and our evening was in jeopardy of being rained out. We had purchased tickets to watch the San Antonio FC with fireworks afterwards, but the rains seemed short-lived. It was still raining when we left for the game, and unbeknownst to us, the game was on a rain delay. We stayed in the car until we saw them letting people in and the rain was easing off. We brought towels to dry off our seats and we settled in for a rowdy game of soccer. We ended up tying, but the rain had started again. The rain must have affected the fireworks because we waited for them for almost an hour after the game, but nothing happened. I was pretty disappointed, but we headed home and went to bed. Maybe next time.
Mom left the next day, and I’m really hoping she comes to visit us here in Kosovo soon. I also hope her move goes smoothly when she relocates to Seattle. After I dropped her at the airport I had the chance to meet up with my friend Shannon in the midst of a slew of errands. She’s doing so well, and I wish we’d had time to get the kiddos together. Just like that, it was our final day in San Antonio.
We had a few last errands to run and of course packing to finish, but we got done with enough time to have a nap and then head out to First Friday. We’ve had poor luck getting to first Fridays the last few times we’ve been in town, so I was excited to be out and see what had changed. We started at Beethoven’s, just like old times. My friend Allison was there with her family, and Donnie’s friend Efren and his wife came out to meet us. We stayed for a while, and then took an Uber (in a truck!) over to Tucker’s. In years past, we’ve always been with a crew of people, and Tucker’s is always an awesome way to end the night. That night, it was just us, and we enjoyed the ambiance, music and dancing until way too late. I got to catch up with a friend who I used to work with and he dj’d part of the night. We caught another uber home, and had precious little sleep before our 6am flight to Seattle the next day. It was definitely worth it though.
We got to Seattle midday on Saturday and Andie and Dad picked us up. Dad’s wife, Susan, had planned a secret birthday weekend for him with all his kids, and there were lots of fun activities planned. We started with going out wine tasting in Woodinville (Andie and I left our husbands at home to nap). We only made two stops, but the second one at Gorman was so good, we decided to stay and have lunch and enjoy a delicious Chardonnay in the sun. After that, we made our way home for a short siesta before gearing up and going out for Dad’s birthday dinner. We gifted him with some Decemberists tickets and had a lovely meal chatting and remembering silly things about growing up. Dad also had some good stories about his past. We devoured his carrot cake after he blew out his candles and we called it a night. The next morning we rose early to get down to the lake for some paddle boarding and kayaking. We were the first ones on the water, with the four kids on SUP’s and spouses and dad in kayaks. We tried to make it out to Gas Works park, but Heather kept falling and it got really windy, which meant that it would take too long. That was fine with me because I was hungry and cold, but also happy we were able to share this with Dad. We walked from there to a different area of the water front and had a delightful picnic in the sunshine. A perfect way to wrap up the morning. From there, we headed home for some more naps, and then prepped for a Sunday afternoon barbeque. Donnie worked his magic on the grill with some salmon, sausage and veg, and we sat outside and drank Gorman wine and enjoyed the sun. After a delicious meal, we all gathered around to watch a video that Susan had made for dad. It was a sweet video that captured birthday wishes from all of his loved ones. We were all crying by the end of it, but I was bursting with happiness. We finished off the night with a yummy cake made by Alayna and wished Dad happy birthday again. I can’t believe he’s 60! I’m so proud to call him dad, and I cherished our time that weekend.
Some beautiful pics from Sunday night by Alayna:
Monday was more relaxed, we went for a walk and then Dad, Susan and Heather left for the airport. Donnie and I hung around with Andie, Ben and their cute pup Cooper until Mal came to pick us up. From there, we went to check into our airbnb, sat in the sunshine and had some rose in Mal’s backyard and finally made our way to happy hour with our other friends Kyle and Veronica.
We went to a cool brew pub in Fremont, not too far from our airbnb and enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. It was a little chilly, but the doors were wide open and the vibe was relaxed. Mal caught her wife riding home, so she joined us, followed quickly by Veronica and later Kyle. It was great to catch up with everybody, and it’s kind of funny that all of us are going through some changes in the coming year. Mal and Erinn are moving, we’re starting afresh also, Kyle is job searching, and V is probably going to get engaged sometime soon. So much has changed, but so much is still the same when we get to hang out. We didn’t stay long though, Donnie and I were tired and had to be up early for our QSI meetings the next day. We bid farewell and I left happy with our time together.
We had training (well Donnie did, and I tagged along) at Seattle Pacific University for the next three days. It was brutal, 7:30-6:30 each day, and we were given so much information that I hope we’re able to retain and use in our new spot here in Kosovo. Each evening, we managed some sort of social event though. On Tuesday night, Andie and Ben collected us after our meeting and we made the short drive over to Matt and Alayna’s place. Matt grilled some fajitas and we had some yummy tacos for dinner. We gathered out on the patio during a building fire alarm and laughed a whole lot that night. I love being with my siblings and their spouses and pets. 🙂 Wednesday was our traditional China Harbor dinner, and after V picked us up and we met Kyle for some late night drinks at the Nickerson St. Saloon. It was another cool evening and time well spent in good company. Thursday was the last full day of training and we met up with Andie and Ben at the Queen Anne Beer Hall afterwards before heading over to Matt’s gym to say goodbye (he was coaching). From there we went out to Andie and Ben’s and rested until it was time to catch our redeye flight back to San Antonio.
Our time in Seattle flew by, and I am so grateful for the moments I got to spend with everybody there. I’m not sure when we’ll be back, no training next summer and our plan is to stay close to Europe in the near future, but I know I’ll see those faces soon. Thank you for all your love and support during our time there this summer. It made me so happy to have that time.
We arrived in San Antonio on Friday morning, the day we were set to depart for Pristina. But that’s another story. I’ll post more about our move and settling in here in the coming week. 🙂
Much love to all and thank you again to everybody.