Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We're home

It seems unreal to be home. It seems unreal that we were in Italy just a couple days ago and in Bulgaria a couple weeks ago. Part of the unreal-ness is probably due to the fog of jet lag. But part of it is that it's just plain amazing that we've been able to go on this trip. It was a dream come true. And it was a TON of work. And everything at home looks and feels a little different now.

I was trying to focus on really being in the moment on this trip and that combined with how jam-packed each day was with adventures put this blog on the back burner.  Instagram proved to be the best way to capture highlights of the trip w/o intruding too much on the trip itself. It's tricky finding a balance between enjoying what you're doing and processing what you're doing so you can savor it on another level and capturing what you're doing so that you can enjoy the memories.

This trip was a LOT of work. I feel like I could really use a vacation after this trip. Trips and vacations aren't the same thing, are they? It was hard packing and unpacking and not leaving anything behind (I have to pat us all on the back for not leaving anything behind anywhere we stayed!). It was hard finding food and water for everyone in a timely way (there were a few pretty hungry moments when grocery stores and restaurants were closed or when we wound up far from food when it was well past time to eat). There were lots of times when someone needed to go to the bathroom somewhat desperately with no bathrooms particularly handy. There were surprises - pleasant ones like a rainbow or an amazing street performer or a super delicious meal at a good price right when we needed it - and unpleasant ones like lots of rain making us wet and cold when the forcast showed no rain, one of the places we stayed turning out to be sort of scary, getting stuck in an elevator, and finding that some routes we took were a lot longer than we'd anticipated. There were times when we got on each other's nerves (being together 24/7 was wonderful most of the time but sometimes that much togetherness and bathroom and space-sharing was hard).

But every bit of work was repayed in abundance. We bonded over the beautiful and crazy things we experienced together. We learned so much about history and art and cultural differences and human nature. We shared big parts of our personal histories as Jared and I shared Italy and Bulgaria with our kids. We felt great compassion together for the orphans we met and learned so much about how important parents are. We realized how tough and adaptable our children are as they walked and walked and walked and literally never complained. We realized what a good team we make as we figured out so much together during our travels. We saw our children wonder and learn and grow by leaps and bounds. We ate fabulous things (amazing produce, great bakery treats, excellent bread and cheese, great pizza, heavenly gelatto). We saw such an abundance of beauty - both God-made and man-made.

Anyway, here are some stats on the trip that Ashton helped me compile on the plane home:
  • 18 days
  • 267,629 steps covering 81.25 miles (and the twins did about twice that since they climb over everything and run ahead and back to us - amazing amounts of energy!)
  • 6 orphanages visited
  • one computer donated to an orphanage in need
  • 51 books donated to two different orphanages
  • 1 training completed for orphanage workers
  • 1 new reading program set up at an orphanage
  • 115 little gifts handed out to orphans
  • 8 new Facebook friends - orphans we met and really connected with and want to stay connected to
  • 30 churches visited
  • 8 places we stayed/times we unpacked and packed
  • 0 times we left anything anywhere (other than a mostly-used thing of shampoo)
  • 9 times we ate gelatto
  • 8 times we ate pizza
  • 12+ times we ate crusty bread and cheese and whole cucumbers and carrots for a meal
  • 2 times we got really hungry because we couldn't find any food
  • 93 tunnels we drove through
  • 36 hill towns we drove past on the freeway
  • 1243 photos taken (just by me - we're in the 2000's if we count everyone's photos)

And if you want a representative sampling of 150 of those 2000+ photos we took, click below to see our best shots that we shared on Instagram:

#looslieuropeanadventure on Instagram


charity said...

great job keeping track of those stats! we are wishing we had a list now!! love you and can't wait to talk about travels in person! also I really hope you did the dancing videos.

Heather said...

Sounds like a stellar trip....wow!!! I'm impressed. I've been a fan of yours and your company The Power of Moms for quite some time. I have a few education questions for you. Would you mind if I emailed them to you?

Heather said...
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