The topic for the Weekly State Department Roundup is Vacation and/or home leave. You can see it at The Wandering Drays tomorrow. Home leave, for those who don't know, is the time between assignments that you're required to spend in the U.S.
I haven't had a home leave yet, this being our first assignment, but I've heard people spend thousands of dollars. I know that with our plans (hotel in Dallas, rental car, Target!, food!!!, etc.) we'll be spending thousands of dollars. We're already planning on putting a certain amount of money away a month starting in November or December so that we have a bit saved up before we go.
I have had one vacation to the States since we got here 14 months ago. Before I got the tickets for my trip in January to MN I was really homesick. Going to MN in the dead of winter was better than not going to the States. Everyone in Costa Rica thought I was pretty dumb to go to MN in the dead of winter.
But I got to go to the States! I ate delicious food (although the weather did prohibit me from venturing out more). I got to visit with lots of family and friends, and my dad even got to meet Simon for the first time on this trip.
The thought of vacation takes on a whole new meaning when you're in the Foreign Service. Before we were in the FS vacations meant leaving the U.S. Now, vacations often mean going to the U.S.
There are vacations not in the U.S. though. John and I have always said that having kids wouldn't mean we couldn't do the things we want. For instance, yesterday we took a daycation to one of the closest beaches to San Jose. We packed up all the kids and whatever was necessary for them, towels, and beach toys and headed out. We only spent a couple of hours there, but it was a good time. Malachi really enjoys the beach, so I'm glad we got to do that.
We've also been to the beach with almost every visitor (Allison, why didn't we do the beach instead?!). We went to the jungle to see sea turtles lay eggs, and we stayed at a house near volcano Arenal for a night and relaxed on the porch in hammocks and rocking chairs with our friends. We've had a lot of opportunities for travel just inside this country. We had hoped to see more of Central America while living here, but we may not be able to. We are going to Panama City with the kids in November for our 10th anniversary. We're excited for the city because it's supposed to be a lot nicer than San Jose (San Jose is a non city though), and we're excited for the Panama Canal, and we think Malachi will really like that as well.
But our upcoming vacation that I'm really looking forward to? In September we're going on R&R to the U.S. Honestly we were going to take our R&R to the United Kingdom, but tickets are so expensive to MN that we can't pass up the opportunity for the free tickets to see family.
I can't wait for food! FOOD!!! It'll also be nice to get a break from the rain. Sure it'll be fall in MN and it might rain a bit, but at that time here, it'll be raining almost constantly. It can't be that bad in the States.
September seems not far away...and yet...too far.