I’m always a
few weeks tad behind, but here are some highlights from our R&R in Ohio:
- Being around friends and family reminds of just how much I miss them. Life is great in Georgia, but I had so much fun while we were home.
- The radio. You don’t realize how much you miss it! There were so many great songs on the radio, but most importantly, I’m a full-blown Belieber now. If you aren’t listening to Justin’s Bieber’s “Love Yourself” you are missing out. I also love this cheesy “Stand By You” song by Rachel Platten. I was driving alone singing that song and having an emotional moment and thinking how much I loved JR and I would totally stand by him, and as the song says “I’d walk through hell for you.” But then I thought to myself…eek. Hell would be so hot. My feet would burn so quickly! So maybe not quite that much?
- JR had a week long training in DC, and on his way to Ohio he stopped in Gettysburg, PA for the night and toured the battlefield next morning. There’s a great tour guide program that allows you to pay a very reasonable fee for a private, certified guide who you pick up and they’ll actually drive your car for you as they show you the sights. He said it was one of the best historical tours he’s ever been on and highly recommends it. http://gettysburgtourguides.org/guided-tour-rates/
- My grandparents wanted to take all nine – yes, NINE – of their great-grandchildren to Build-a-Bear for Easter. I do not totally understand the pull of BAB, but kids love it and it’s insanely expensive so hooray to the company owners. A $35 limit per kid was set, but of course my Mom was all “well, if Abby needs something additional I’ll just pay for it.” Mmhmm. She’s 2, I don’t think she actually needs anything. Abby picked out a cute cat that we like to think reminded her of Annabelle and enjoyed the stuffing process. Then it was time to shop for accessories. My Mom would not hear it when I insisted the cat did not need an outfit because she’s a cat. Next thing I know, I’m buying TWO pairs of sparkly flats for the cat. Two, because she has 4 paws of course! Okay, but it was all worth it when Abby put on these fake glasses and danced around the store.
- We had our first ER visit. The day before we left, Abby had a cough in the morning that sounded much worse when she woke up from her nap. My mom thought it sounded like croup, and we didn’t want to take any chances before traveling so we made our way to the nearest Urgent Care. Which was closed. At 4pm on a Saturday. What is the point of an urgent care?? That left the ER as our only option for her to be seen that day, and ultimately I’m glad we went. The doctor agreed that it was probably viral croup and gave her a dose of steroids before sending us home. She seemed totally fine the next day, thank goodness!
- American roads and highways. After driving in Tbilisi for several months (think Mad Max Fury Road meets Mario Kart) we were amazed with the driving. Nobody driving the wrong-way on the highway, everyone in their lanes, stopping at lights, even blinkers for goodness sake! At our first 4-way stop in Ohio, another driver politely waved us on and JR said “Can you believe how nice that man was? This is amazing!”
- Many people we meet think we live in the state of Georgia. Even though I always try to say “we live and work overseas in Tbilisi, Georgia” hoping the “overseas” part will tip them off, we still confuse people. A nurse at the doctor’s office asked if I was local and when I said “No, I actually live overseas in Tbilisi, Georgia, near Russia” she said “Oh, so you drove up here then?” Well, not exactly. JR had a similar encounter where he told someone we live overseas in Georgia and she replied,”Goodness, I bet the South is having better weather than we are right now.” It’s understandable that strangers are confused, some of our own family and friends still think we live in Russia. To be helpful, see the map below. Georgia borders Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and the Black Sea.
- The Price is Right. Enough said.
- We have some really nice grocery store options here, but there is still something that blows my mind when I see the cereal or bread aisle at Buehler’s. So. Many. Options. Also, every single fruit or vegetable is practically without blemish. It’s overwhelming and amazing.
- My sister came home the first weekend we were in town to see us and take care of some wedding planning. I was super excited for cupcake tasting with her, and I also went to her florist appointment. The wedding stuff made me nostalgic for my own big day, so I made my whole family watch our wedding DVD – the ceremony and the highlight reel – just to get everyone in the spirit!
- At one point JR was looking at our credit card statement and said “How many times have you been to Dairy Queen?” I told him to stop judging.
- I was on the hunt for a pair of sandals for our nanny’s son. One night JR said, hey we have some down time, why don’t we run to Target and you can get the sandals and I can pick up some beer. Note that this was my first trip to Target in about 9 months. $204 later, we walked out of the store with a six-pack, no sandals, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I really, really needed.
That sums up our R&R – family, friends, Dairy Queen, explaining where Georgia is located, and overspending. It’s a long haul to return home but we’re grateful for the opportunity to do it.