1. I was surprised how much I disliked the city life. A few years ago, I would have been thrilled to have a chance to go to Target multiple times in one week and having everything so close. This time I hated the traffic (and I wasn't even driving!) and I really hated how everyone is in such a hurry. When we went to the park, the Lambs didn't want to play because they aren't used to so many kids at the park. In fact, at our small park in our town, our Lambs are the ONLY children at the park. I was also so thankful to be home in my own bed where it is quiet with the exception of the train that I don't notice. The BART was next to our hotel and I really noticed it. If we move out of this small town, it will take a little while for the Lambs and me to get used to city life.
2. I was a little surprised with conversations with Ram's aunts and uncles. I tried to talk about our churches, what Ram does as pastor out here, and where we live. Their questions were not quite what I expected. For example, when I said we were starting homeschooling Lamb 1 this fall, they didn't have questions about curriculum or state requirements, etc. One question was, "What are you going to do with Lamb 2 and 3 while you teach Lamb 1?" And when I talked about our churches, their question was, "Do the people really love Jesus (and attend church because they want to?) or do they just go to church as a social activity of the week?" First of all, none of Ram's relatives are Lutheran, so they don't have that perspective. Second, I think they have lived in CA for so long that they just can't imagine rural life. Anyway, the conversations on this trip were really different than the conversations with my relatives (who all live in the Midwest) at the wedding I went to in CO.
3. Maybe I didn't look at the right place in their yard, but I was surprised that Hal and Marie didn't have a small garden. Perhaps this year was an exception with all the wedding planning. And they do have a beautiful and peaceful place to sit on the patio with the water fall put in. But here in the Midwest, we have small gardens and dream of having a longer growing season to have larger gardens. Perhaps since produce is so inexpensive there compared to here, it's not worth the trouble of a garden. But I was surprised they didn't even have a few tomato plants. I would love to go out my back door and get produce almost all year. I also had to remember that the San Francisco area has much different weather than where Ram's grandparents live near LA. Perhaps their growing season isn't as good as I'm dreaming of?
4. Finally, I'll finish the story of our trip home.
We survived going through security and flying home. When we called for our hotel shuttle we had to wait a really long time. Turns out another hotel guest had just got back from Alaska with huge boxes of fish and several suitcases. The van driver decided to take them back to the hotel and then come get us. He was afraid there wouldn't be room for all of us and all our luggage. The Lambs were exhausted and it was past their bedtime and they were hungry. So it seemed even longer to wait. We were so glad to get back to our hotel, which meant we were back to our minivan. We loaded everyone up and went in search of a restaurant. By then everything like Applebees was closed (well we found one restaurant that was open for drinks only). We finally found a pizza place and ordered take out. We went back to the hotel and ate in our room and unloaded a few things at our hotel for that night. It was after midnight when we finally were able to go to sleep.
We all slept in the next morning. We had to search for a Starbucks because the hotel was done serving breakfast! I had a coupon for Half Price Books so we HAD to take advantage of that. I hit their kids clearance section pretty hard and Ram also had a few good finds too. Then we went to an Indian restaurant and we just barely made it to their lunch buffet. Lamb 3 loved it! Lamb 1 also ate well and Lamb 2 liked it, but didn't eat so well. It was great to try everything on the buffet-especially to get some ideas if we go at a time when there is not a buffet, what would we like to order. I choked a little bit that we had to pay adult price for both Lamb 1 and 2, but at least Lamb 3 was free and he ate more than Lamb 1 or 2. I don't think many children eat at the Indian buffet! It wasn't a cheap lunch, but it was a nice treat. Then we shopped for the basics at Costco and headed home. We had traveled so much the past few weeks that the Lambs were thrilled to get home to play with their own toys-both inside and outside toys.