After a blissful 5 days in my home state of California, my hubby and I went to see his family in the Philadelphia area. Besides the fact that I always love spending time with my husband’s family, the stopover gave us a chance to get closer to the Kyiv time zone and made our flight back shorter.
My in-laws picked us up from the airport and had some fresh soft Philly pretzels and water ready for us (bless them). My sister-in-law and nephew came over to visit and to play Just Dance. It was so much fun and very good exercise!! I needed it after my indulgent food tour of San Diego!! We also got to briefly spend time with my brother-in-law and his wife.
The next day my husband’s best friend and best friend’s wife (who works for an airline) traveled from Atlanta to see us. We showed them around Philly, with a stop for cheesesteaks of course. The U.S. Mint is located in Philadelphia, and we toured the building to see where money is made!! Part museum and part manufacturing company, it was cool to see quarters, nickels, and dimes be pressed, cleaned, and inspected. Ben Franklin’s tombstone was close by, so we saw that as well.
After the day touring Philly, my husband’s parents arranged for a mini reunion with family that live in the area.
One thing my husband wanted to do on R&R was to see the 911 Memorial, so we planned a day trip (literally just 5 or 6 hours) to New York City. We took the train the following day to New York and had ramen at an interesting place. Each person sits in an individual booth and eats alone. The oddest experience, but the ramen was so good.
After our filling lunch we walked about an hour to the 9-11 Memorial. The Memorial museum was well done but very sobering. It got me into the mindset of what New Yorkers (and those at the Pentagon) were experiencing and feeling on that tragic day.
We didn’t get back to Philly until late that evening. The next day we ran errands and headed to the airport, where we continued our journey back to Kyiv.
Although our R&R was not full of rest or relaxation, it was good for my soul. Seeing family and friends, being back in the U.S., and eating all the foods we miss while living in Ukraine was definitely needed. I sincerely doubt we will be back until home leave next year, but was so glad we were able to make it to the U.S. for our R&R!