I can hardly believe we have been gone a whole week and that our time at Oxford ends tomorrow. I’m very sad. We certainly could have spent at least a few more days here. I’m exhausted but leave convinced that Oxford is magical and that we should have Hoya reunions every year.
Our friend Hannah said her dad once gave her an important piece of advice: never make any important decisions or evaluate your life the second or third day after crossing time zones. This, my friends, is good advice. We reached our low point this morning. Chris and I were cranky, Christopher got far too little sleep and was crazy, and Therese was up every two hours the night before. There was a barfing at breakfast situation (at home, thankfully) and I reached the point of despairing whether we had done something cruel to our children by bringing them on this trip.
We decided to take today easy, but I ended up with over 21,000 steps on my Fitbit so we clearly failed on that front.
Our first full day in Oxford was as enchanting as I had hoped.
We have arrived! Our travel days were full of depending on the kindness of strangers and happy reunions with the closest of friends
And we’re off! We packed up all of our stuff yesterday, made a strategic plan about how we’re going to transport said stuff, went to Confession, and hopped the South Shore Line from South Bend to Chicago this morning. Poor Christopher is a combination of excited and stressed. He cleaned his room in a burst of manic energy before bed last night (it’s immaculate; preschoolers, man) and then ripped up one of his favorite books before rehearsing when, exactly, we will be going on the airplane. I feel for him because I, too, had a rough time settling down enough to get to sleep last night, but arrival in Chicago has been a good landing zone before the overseas craziness begins.
We’re here until our flight departs tomorrow night. Chris is at the North American Patristics Society conference (NAPS – things my children hate, ba dum ching), so the kids and I have been occupying ourselves by enjoying our absurdly nice hotel suite that my dear husband surprised me with for our anniversary. We have an incredible view of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park and the river. This will definitely be the nicest stay of our entire trip. Therese took a super long nap this afternoon after smiling at people for almost the full three hour train ride. Christopher and I occupied ourselves with the novelty known as Disney Channel, gawking at our view, and FaceTiming with my mom before I finally woke up little sis and we went to the hotel indoor pool. My friend from college, Stephanie, happened to be downtown and got to hang out with us while Christopher paddled around. The goal was to tire Christopher out enough that he would sleep, but not to let him fall asleep for the dreaded stroller nap. It made for a very grumpy three-year-old when we went to go visit Chris at his conference ever so briefly. He found us by following the wailing.
A brief nap on the train
I took Christopher to Chipotle for dinner and then Chris met us to pick up burgers at Good Stuff Eatery in honor of our DC wedding. We wrestled the kids to sleep/in bed and are enjoying our complimentary anniversary cocktails called “Wrigley Water” that taste like vodka and melted popsicle. Christopher has his own sofa bed that he is currently not sleeping in, but at least he is in an entirely different room. Therese is asleep around the corner in her pack and play.
These four years have been special, but the last year has been the best yet. We have been reflecting on how sweet it is to share our lives with each other and with our kids, the multiplication of our love. It is a good life, full of grace.
A week from now, we hopefully will have reached our friends’ apartment in Oxford, bleary-eyed and hopefully not too angry at each other after a red eye flight to Birmingham, England via Frankfurt. With our two young children. At least we got the bulkhead seats with a bassinet?
Chris and I love to travel. We always had fun when we were dating going on small-scale adventures wandering around various universities along the Eastern seaboard having intense conversations (we decided to get married on a walk at St. Joseph’s on the Main Line in Philly…as one does). We went on our honeymoon in Ireland, which we remember as perfect and green and beautiful.
Now, throwing caution to the wind, we’re embarking on our first international trip as a family. We figure it’s a good time in our lives to do it. We hope to have more children, so it will only get more expensive to travel and Chris will eventually get a job with more responsibilities. Uncle Sam was kind to us this year and we managed some Points Guy style credit card-fu to rack up a ton of miles that paid for our flights and our dear Georgetown friends have been badgering us to come to Oxford for years now and our friends’ new sweet baby is being baptized there, so we finally gave in. Very reluctantly. 😉
Here is our general itinerary:
Oxford: May 27-June 1
Rome: June 1-6
Chianti: June 6-10
London: June 10-12
Oxford: June 12-14
Cambridge: June 14-17
Paris: June 17-20
Back to South Bend on the 20th!
We’re so incredibly excited. We are mostly using AirBnB so Christopher can have his own room and we can save a little money cooking for ourselves. We’ve been daydreaming about walking in Lewis and Tolkien’s footsteps in Oxford, eating our way through Rome and stopping in every church we can find, taking a vacation from our vacation in Tuscany, going to Mass at Sacre Couer, and splurging on floral fabric at Liberty London (OK, that one’s just me).
Please pray our flight goes well and for our safety. My excitement is tainted with some anxiety about international incidents and Roman traffic patterns.
I’m hoping to blog every day on our trip, tired children willing.