Like most Christmas breaks, we packed up and visited friends and family in Maryland and North Carolina but instead of driving from Indianapolis, we flew across the Atlantic. It only took slightly longer but the time changes were certainly more complicated. All the travel logistics went well and we had no issues. Our trip included a 2.5 hr drive to Heathrow (1-way rental), 8.5 hr flight to Baltimore for a week stay in Laurel, 7-hr drive to NC with a stop in Virgina for lunch with my aunt (another 1 way rental and a 3 night stay) and then a red-eye flight from Charlotte to Manchester via O'Hare and a chauffeured 1.5 hour ride back to Derby.
This was our first trip back since we arrived here 9 months ago. Comfort food was high on the list of things we've missed. For me, that meant American beer, Mexican food, a good steak and my mother-in-law's Korean cooking. All boxes checked. There were also some processed food items that we "needed" to bring back -- I'll get to those later.
Other than the traffic in both MD and NC, driving was not a problem. The brain switched right back like I'd never left. No problems on return to the UK either. I thought there might be more thinking involved. It was nice to have the big lanes and parking spaces again. The cars and SUVs all seemed very big though.
Though we did a few touristy things while there, this trip was mostly about family and friends. Some blog fans will actually be in the blog this time! As usual I'll talk around the photos. A bit less exotic this time but I hope you'll enjoy it.
On our first full day, we had the opportunity to partake in our annual visit with Julie, Roy and Ashley Harris. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. Sorry guys! Great food, drink and conversation. Julie was one of Kuk's first friends when she moved to the States many years ago . . .
On Christmas Eve (day) we continued another tradition of getting together with Kuk's older sister and family for ice skating in Washington, DC (where they live).
sculpture garden. Having now been to Paris, I recognized the Metro entrance that has been moved from Paris to DC.
So here's Alex's version of where's Waldo with all the modern sculptures.
This aluminum tree was really neat.
Stairway (of chairs) to heaven?
This reminded me of a really old computer game called Q-bert. Showing my age . . .
buncha cubes (art critic I'm not)
shot of that too (see below).
Chatsworth, April 2011-- how about that?
National Archives in the background
not sure what this (or most of these) are,this one's kinda gross if you ask me
Donkey Kong bomb (yes, I grew up in the 80s)
My goofball. We had a good time walking around. He deftly moved the orange cone out of the way to get this shot.
security footage from the quake or a shorter voiced over blurb here.
Finally time to get the skates on: Nicole with her cousin Shay.
Action shot of Kuk.
. . . and Nicole
Alex watching the Zamboni. That never gets old for me.
Kuk with her older sister.
one last shot of Nicole
12 oz beer bottles seemed really small after having the much larger ones over here. The best thing about beer in the UK is that a pint is 20 oz!
National Museum of the American Indian. I liked this bronze statue of Polly Cooper, George Washington and Chief Skenandoah and the multilayered symbolism contained within it. Polly was an Oneida Indian who aided the men at Valley Forge though most history books don't contain that nugget.
Among the pile that they are standing on are a gun and a hatchet. When peace treaties were made, weapons were buried (hence the term bury the hatchet).
Great minds think alike
Never too far from the Capitol.
the clouds started to break and we got one very large rainbow
Brookside Gardens in Wheaton Regional Park for the Christmas light show. Here's a nice shot of Kuk's parents in the greenhouse before we headed outside.
token shot with me
some cool, crazy flower inside
Carolina Raptor Center. Lots of neat birds of prey including ospreys, eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. Unfortunately, the displays were fairly static. Many of the birds were flightless due to hunting or car accidents and sent here for rehab. The kids were joined by their cousins Brian and Brett for this outing.
It was back to Grandma's afterwards for more cards (Apples to Apples this time).
. . . and Nicole looking sleeping for this one
John and Graydon. Graydon was Mr. Chill on the boat -- it does have a calming effect.
what a day -- never been on the lake at this time of year
Destination: The Rusty Rudder
great family shot on the way back
I think we went to Target 3-4 times. Love Target. Nothing quite like it here. It was good to frequent Starbucks as well. One time, it was Starbucks in Target!
Alas, all good things must end and it was time to return home. We left on the 1st and got back on the 2nd. Minimal jet lag so far though I had some trouble last night (the others seemed to do well). Kuk slogged into work while I was glad I planned another day to adjust and run errands. Back to work tomorrow. Ugh.