Groetjes van Belgie!!
Since Sunday, we've been overseas visiting RaggedyDad's family.
Here are some early highlights:
Pre-Shabbos, as a means to be social, and also, conveniently avoid cooking and leftovers prior to our trip, we had a great time at the BeyondBT Shabbaton. All of the organizers were so gracious!
Poor RaggedyDad thought I was serious when he asked me what I'd be speaking about, and I said I'd just retell my husband's "story" as a ba'al teshuva. He looked like he was about to faint. Thankfully, I did have other things to talk about. His story is one of the best I've heard though. Maybe he'll tell you some day.
Meeting a bunch of bloggers and various others turned out to be a lot of fun, even for the Mister. Special thanks go to Princess D'Tiara for staying with us, attempting to help me stay sane pre-trip, and coming along for the ride to the airport with us so she could take our van home and do who-knows-what with it!
The flight was long, made all the longer by the inevitable delays in getting the plane off the ground (close to 2 hours). I do hate flying. But we had individual TVs that each had their own on-demand choices of music, movies, television shows, games, etc. Pretty fancy stuff. I assure you, this was economy class.
Being the conscientious daughter-in-law that I am, I used my time wisely to try to learn some more Russian via the Berlitz game they had. I can now order a cab, ask if a store takes credit cards, and name some of the days of the week. Of course, being that we're not in a Russian-speaking country right now, the usefulness of this is rather limited.
Our plane (a 757) had two rows of 3 seats each. Somehow, for the bulk of the flight, I wound up in the middle of a row with Andy to my right, Ann to my left, and Little Rag on my lap. Where was RaggedyDad, you ask? Across the aisle! Alone! With an empty seat next to him!!!! I'm still not sure how that happened, and it is totally not representative of his usual helpfulness level. A momentary lapse of reason.
When the food came, it was super hot, and seemed to be not simply double-wrapped, but wrapped in a dozen or more layers of shrink-wrap, foil, various sticky tape sections, and more plastic wrap. The food was decent, but the amount of garbage outnumbered the actual edible parts about 50:1.
After deliberating, we booked a flight that landed in Germany, for various logistic and economic reasons. I grossly underestimated just how much I would, for lack of a better term, FREAK OUT about being in Germany. I know that people have very mixed opinions about this, and some other members of my family have already been through Germany for work or stopovers, or what have you. In the time it took to go through passport control, luggage pickup, renting the car, and driving out of the country, my kids saw me in way too many emotional-breakdown-type moments.
We barely fit into the car, and I mean barely. If we're back here again, we do have to both learn to drive a stick shift, because it will allow us to rent something bigger and not pay as much of a fortune. Since we had to go automatic and didn't want to break the bank, we had to go with a smaller car. But it is a relief not to have to shlep all of us and our stuff on buses and trains. I've been there, and it ain't pretty.
This is getting long, and it's time for me to go get supper ready, so I'm off and will continue later.