My sister left mid-day, and aside from the fact that my kitchen looks like it was hit by Minnesota tornados, and the fact that I have photos to prove it, it’s like she was never here. Which is sad. I have so much fun with her–she’s the only person who has religiously visited me every year that I’ve lived here, 4 visits total. I generally hate this feature of departing houseguests–it’s a bit tough at times organizing your normal busy life around them, but it’s so empty when they leave. It’s really one of the funny things about 21st century travel. I am still amazed when I get on an airplane in one place and leave the plane in a completely different place, and I’m still fascinated when people come to visit and show up for a while before disappearing again. The last few weeks have been quite exciting for that particular feeling, since Dad was here only a few weeks ago and now my sister’s been as well. Welcome to the wonderful world of “if you’re an American expat in Europe, expect a deluge of visitors in Feb. when tickets are cheap, and none in the summer.” Not that the British summer is all “Beach Blanket Bingo” or anything. I don’t exactly blame them.
The big news is the China plan’s starting to come together, so I’m lucky in that I’ll see my sister again very soon. I will fly out to Shanghai in about 6 weeks for my first ever China visit, which will be a last hurrah for her before she repatriates to the US this summer (at least for now, I have a feeling she’ll feel the lure of expat life again some time). Sis and I spent many hours with the guidebook, a handy printed table I made with the dates of my visit, and maps a-plenty trying to figure out how much of this amazing country I’ll be able to see in 12 days. My goal was to be sure to catch the obvious “must see” places but still add a few interesting destinations that she had not yet seen. I’ll keep you posted. There will be photos. The trip will be shorter than my maiden Australia voyage (already over a year ago, shocking!) so I don’t know if I’ll manage to beat my record of over 1000 photos on a single trip, but I’ll try 🙂 Memory’s cheap and my new camera rules.
A highlight of my sister’s visit was actually another blog-friend-meet-up with Kat from 3 bedroom bungalow–Kat and I have discovered that there is a neutral location between our two towns of residence that is relatively easy to reach for both of us. I’m half tempted to move there. In my newly-adopted role as Aunt to Kat’s kids, I feel like it would benefit us all if I was closer to them. So my sister got to see that I have actual flesh-and-bones friends in the UK, and I got to spend time with my sister AND Kat AND Kat’s little ones all in one cathedral-packed afternoon, which also included a playground as shown here. Who misses the exuberance of childhood when you see this photo?