Vacation time! Who doesn't love it? Whether it's a staycation, homecation or a wander around the world, I love everything about holidays! (for me a homecation is when I basically veg out at home and go to a museum or something like that, a staycation I go somewhere else in the country I am living).
When I was planning my holidays this summer I had planned on going to Bali for a week. However, one day, when I called home my Dad had been quite unwell - unable to walk with severe back and leg pain. Being so far away from makes me worry more about my family then when I am there with them. Also, my dad turned 70, my mam 65 and my sister 30. I figured it was a good opportunity to surprise them as a collective birthday present! So, that day I booked my flights home and told my family I was going to Bali. I also informed them my co-teacher was coming to stay for a few days. At that time, my co-teacher was planning on coming with me but in the end she didn't have enough time.
I ended up only surprising my dad, the birthday sister and my niece and nephew...and possibly my siblings who DON'T live in Ireland. I had told one sister originally and it slipped out talking to another. Then my brother-in-law was planning a trip away for my sister's 30th birthday, so he had to be told in case the days away coincided with my trip. Then my mam, who is in charge of my bank statements, figured it out. The best thing about her figuring it out: she made tons of cake, fudge, jelly/jello and other yummy goodness for me.
The week home was brief but packed. We had lunches my first 3 days with various friends and family. We went to Howth and climbed the cliff walk and went around Ireland's Eye (Highly recommend both!). We had a Korean night and a birthday party for my sister. Us girls all went out one night on the town. Granted we were home around 11...but for a Mama and a jet-lagged aunt that was a good thing! I got to hold my niece lots and made her smile. I loved figuring out what would get her to laugh. I cooked and read with my nephew and just had a ton of fun with my sisters. I'm glad I went. I think I needed it to recharge but I am REALLY looking forward to getting away to somewhere warm this winter.
I was barely back from that trip when I headed off on another this time to Japan. That was a great adventure! I went to visit my cousin who had moved to Japan just a few short weeks before.
She lives in Kumamoto, so I flew into Fukuoka and bused it over. Everything went really smoothly and Kumamoto is pretty cool. There is a big castle that is considered one of Japan's premier castles. It was gorgeous with lovely grounds. We didn't get to go around all of them but it was really impressive looking! We also visited the Suizenji Gardens and had tea in a traditional house with traditional sweets. On the Monday, I was alone as my cousin had to work, so I visited Honmyoji Temple which has a great staircase leading up to it. I spent a lot of time just wandering around downtown, eating cakes and drinking hot chocolate and other amazing food. It was a lovely little trip away for Chuseok and I recommend Kumamoto a lot for a short trip away.
So you might think I'm mad but I'm kind of glad that I didn't go away anywhere cool for my holidays and instead spent it with my family. I'm also really glad that I went to Japan again - I wasn't expecting to do so (except to visit Harry Potter World)! I got to try so much amazing food and to spend both holidays with amazing people. I am eternally grateful
PS While editing this post I got a Cliff Richard's song stuck in my head (oh, the shame! - "We're all going on a Summer Holiday"