First Trip Back to See Family & Friends

By | June 30, 2017

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by today. If this your first visit to this blog or if you’re here often, WELCOME! This article will have a bit of a personal touch and not so much information on a particular retirement issue.

David and I are just coming off our first trip back “home” after living abroad for nine months. Getting to know a new town, state, and country have kept us busy these first days. We’ve got some other things going on to that are really exciting, but we’ll save that for later. We wanted to share a bit of our trip with you. For family and friends, this is going to be a very special blog post. Disclaimer – I wasn’t always thinking “CAMERA” on this trip, so many of the memories we made will have to stay unmemorialized. Those missed photo-ops do bring me some sadness, since I am a bit of a perfectionist, but if you don’t see your face in any of these pictures…know you are loved!


Some of you have followed our chronicle of living our retirement dream. If you haven’t, poke around on this website and read some of our older blog posts.  Suffice it to say that both David and I are very happy with how we have chosen to live our dream south of the border. Living abroad has been quite the adventure. We had hoped to find a way to serve in a new place, and we have jumped right in! We continue to keep our eyes open for those opportunities that fit for us as a couple and as individuals.  I had hoped to teach piano again.  I am building my studio again and have some wonderful students…of all ages!


One of our dreams in retirement is to be able to travel. Trips back to the United States, a trip to the Holy Land, and Hawaii would be fun. There are so many more destinations in mind.  This May, we had our first trip back together to see family/friends.  Who said it gets easier in retirement? We’ve gotten busier (some of you can relate), and trying to find a couple weeks in a row when all of the kids, brothers, parents, friends, etc. would be in one place long enough for us to find the proper “alignment” took some serious coordinating.

Stop Number 1.David, Dana, & Sarah  We started with our daughter in Illinois.  Direct flight, piece of cake. Then I had to drive a couple hours from With Mitch & SarahO’Hare airport to our destination. Driving in the United States took just a little bit of an adjustment. But we had a brand new red rental compact and it smelled so good!   It was so good to see Sarah. We had fun getting to know Sarah’s boyfriend’s parents better as they graciously hosted us. It seems the whole house was sick while we were there, and we felt so bad to be “in the way” when you really just want to lay down and sleep. But, Sarah had “her mommy” there.  I didn’t make chicken soup though. It was Mother’s Day weekend after all.  We made some great memories.

Stop Number 2.  Next up was Cedar Rapids, Iowa (my hometown) and vicinity.  My dad still lives in Cedar Rapids, only minutes from my childhood home. It was so good to see him, but our visit was cut short by some things happening with his wife, Ann, that took up a lot of his time.  We all felt cheated by the circumstances, so we’ll just look forward to the next visit. Iowa is also home to our son, Zack.  I figured we’d be traveling to Japan to see him, but he is staying put in Iowa for now.  It was good to catch up with him.Dana with Michelle He always has a tale or two to keep us amused. We ran into people I hadn’t seen in twenty years, we ate at our favorite restaurants, and dined with our “not biological” daughter, Lizzie. We visited my old boss (my first paralegal job!!), and also stopped at the office of my final paralegal job. We saw a dear friend and pianist like me, Michelle, and other friends from Parkersburg.  Jackie so graciously let us stay at her house, and I have to say of all the beds we slept on this trip, her guestroom bedroom bed was the BOMB! We made some great memories in Iowa!

Stop Number 3.  We drove our “hot” little red car all the way up to Minnesota where were stayed at a delightful Airbnb in St. Paul. There was so much to do and so many people to see. We had to schedule it out, and we still ran out of days!  David’s folks captured a lot of our time, and rightly so. They’ve been retired longer than we have and they need a little more help and attention. I was blessed to be able to make some meals for “Mom” Arlene to warm up when she doesn’t feel like cooking. We saw our son,Dana & James James, a couple of times, so that was super cool.  Between a 3rd shift job and finishing up school, he is one busy guy! We got to see my brother and family and share with them some of the highlights of living in Mexico. We didn’t put them to sleep with our slideshow, so hopefully they will make Mexico a destination to come see for themselves. Again, favorite restaurants were involved in all the planning. We spent time with the family who inspired us most to move to Mexico.  Members of the Duran family – you know who you are – will forever be special, and Mariachi’s food is SPECTACULAR, better than anything you’d find in Mexico. ?

Stop Number 4.  We flew to Pennsylvania. Yes, I had to turn in my cute little red car, but then I got a white one.  No new car smell, but it had wheels.  This was the visit we had anticipated – why? Grandkids! Clara's BaptismNot that stops 1, 2, and 3 weren’t great, they were, but this stop was going to be special. Our granddaughter just turned one, and we were going to be there for her baptism, just like we had for her older brother. Are there lots of things to see within a couple of hours from our daughter’s home? Yes! Did we see any of them? Nope – just grandkids. David & ClaraWell, there was a day we ALL went to a park and spent a beautiful day TOGETHER! For those of you who have your grandkids around you all the time – you are totally blessed. All grandparents are blessed, don’t get me wrong. But to see them often, watch them grow before your eyes and not miss all the “firsts” and “seconds”, etc. Truly a blessing.Clara I cried when leaving all of the kids (most of them didn’t see me). But the sweetest moment is when my grandson came up and put his arms around me and said “it’s okay, Gamma”. Dana & Augustine I melted.

At Stop #2 and Stop #3 we met up with business partners and had some great conversations. You know that people are in your life for a reason, and when you have the same vision it’s so sweet!

So, thanks for sharing this short walk down memory lane. I put this post out mostly for friends and family so they would have something to refer to. We dream of being able to send all the kids flight tickets for the SAME TIME so we can all be together down here in our Mexican paradise. Some day. It’s on my dream board. Note to self—future blog post!

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve got some other things going on. Business related things. So, while we say we’re retired, we’re retired from our 30+ year careers. We realized we’re young and have a lot more to offer. There are new ways to serve. One of these opportunities found us, and we couldn’t be happier. Our kids know what we’re up to, and most of them are cheering us on.  (They want that all expense paid trip to Mexico!)

If you’re curious about what we’ve found that is working for us and helping our retirement nest egg, CLICK HERE.  As always, we appreciate your likes, shares, and comments!  And we will respond.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *