The problem with procrastination is that by the time you get around to doing whatever it was that you were putting off, the task most likely has become even more overwhelming than it would have been had it been done in a timely fashion. That is where I'm standing with this update. My last real post was before Christmas, and boy have we done a lot since then! So, in a valiant effort to preserve my sanity, I am providing a quick update...maybe more details will follow, maybe they won't!
After our return from Italy, we launched ourselves into forming our own Duncan family Christmas. This was the first Christmas as a family, so it was very special for us. We got a tree, hung our stockings, and shared Christmas dinner with our wonderful Auerbach friends. Actually, we had breakfast for dinner, and Josselyn cooked up a feast, with a contribution by Marg of "sweet bacon". This dish is a new Duncan favorite, however like so many other holiday dishes it is so bad for us that we are limiting its consumption to once a year. I'll protect you by not telling you how it is made. You'll have to e-mail me if you have to know.
Two days after Christmas, AdventureDad and I stashed our child at the neighbor's and took off on a "honeymoon" to London. Okay, actually, the only way that I was able to leave M (AdventureGirl) for my first night away from her was knowing that she was in the loving arms of Joss and her family. Although we only had one full day and two fractions of days, AdventureDad and I took in a lot in London. On our arrival day, our first stop was at the National Gallery. Most of the museums in London are free, and this one was wonderful. Imagine standing 2 feet away from a Monet for free! We had dinner in a funny little pub on Baker Street called, of course, Sherlock Holmes, where the infamous "pub food" was actually very good.
Our hotel was near Trafalgar square and right on the Thames, so we started the morning by watching the changing of the Palace Horse Guards (a less crowded and thoroughly entertaining ceremony similar to the changing of the guard, plus horses.... what could be better?), then we spent the entire rest of the day walking the Thames. We saw Big Ben and the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey (closed because it was Sunday), then walked down the South Bank until we reached St. Paul's Cathedral. We couldn't climb it because it was Sunday, but we did go inside and listen to Christmas Carols. St. Paul's is now my favorite cathedral that we've seen in Europe. After St Paul's we crossed the millenium foot bridge (a very modern steel foot bridge that kinda clashes with the historical surroundings) to take a tour of the recreated Globe Theatre (think Shakespeare if it's ringing a bell). We then completed our walk by crossing Tower Bridge (the "modern" ie 300 yr old incarnation of London Bridge), viewing the Tower of London from the outside, and wending our way back up the river. We finished the evening with a ride on the London Eye, a gigantic ferris wheel, which gave us a beautiful view of the city lights.
The next morning we walked to St. Martins-in-the-Field church, where we went to the crypt and made some brass rubbings, then caught the tube to the airport.
London was by far the most tourist-friendly city we have been to. Everything is so well marked (most street corners have directional signs to the big attractions), many of the attractions are free, and the public transportation via the tube is fast, easy, and inexpensive. We can't wait to visit again!
After returning from London we were met by the good news that AdventureDad finally got his orders, and we were heading back to the US for sure. The stressful news was that the movers would be coming in less than 3 weeks to pack up our house, and we were shipping our car in a little over a week. Whew!
So, now at the end of January our Subaru is on a boat somewhere between Europe and the US, so are our household goods, and we are rattling around in an empty house and tying up loose ends before we jump on an airplane at the end of February.
There is a lot about Germany and Europe that I will miss. I love our rural setting where everyone gets out to walk or ride bikes on Sundays, the lack of traffic and crowds, our neighborhood where we don't even have to lock the door, but most of all the amazing friends that we've made while here. AdventureDad and I owe our sanity and peace of mind to these people, not to mention a lot of fun and a few hard times as well. Thankfully in this age we won't have much trouble keeping in touch, and we're already planning future reunions. One perk of the military community is that they will all scatter to the winds as well, and we'll have friends in so many places we'll never hurt for somewhere visit!
On the other hand we're all ready to head back to the US with all of the conveniences and comforts that we've grown up with , no language barrier, and sane drivers (believe me, I do remember the I-5 traffic in Tacoma, but it doesn't compare), not to mention close friends and family that I haven't seen in way too long, and even longer for AdventureDad. It's time to come home.