(Look! I can wear my hair down because I am not cleaning anything or picking up toys or changing diapers!)
Once we were finally on our connecting flight in LA rolling down the runway a little bit late, we sat for 2 hours with the plane in line for take-off. I slept that entire time completely happy. Something was wrong with the plane. The flight was cancelled right as it was about to take off. No other flights to Japan that day. Who cares! Let's go to Hong Kong!
That night the airline paid for us to stay in LA until our new flight left the next day. We would lose an entire 24 hour period of time in Tokyo. We discussed this as we ate some disgusting food in the hotel's restaurant. Who cares! I didn't have to cook this meal, I am not feeding anyone but myself, I don't have to clean it up, and I am ALONE with my husband! We pulled Mt. Fuji (and Fiji Water) off the itinerary and call it good.
My arms felt so free, empty, rested, and foreign to me as I leisurely watched television and drifted off to sleep whenever I wanted. Which was probably before 8pm with a big fat Cheshire grin on my face. I knew my kids were cared for by people that loved them and I was so grateful for a break. No matter where the week would take us. Truly, I think I could have done nothing but sat on the plane for 8 days straight and I still would have felt relief enough from my duties.
I had spent the day in airports, sitting on planes, and in a crappy hotel room and it was already an awesome vacation!
(Flying over Japan!!!)
We finally did make it to Tokyo the following day. I was able to to read two books just with flights and random hotel resting time. I watched the news in the morning (rare). I ate a delicious variety of breakfast food at the hotel that included marinated chicken (food can be served for breakfast in Japan), roll with corn and potato in it, eggs, the softest Brie, and orange juice each morning. I got to look at my husband and actually be with him nonstop from the time we woke up to the time we took naps to the time we went to bed at night. I got to try new food each day at lunch and dinner time- things I would hardly be able to find anywhere else. So many little things were refreshing about our trip. Our marriage really enjoyed that time to s l o w down and breathe. We need it more often: more than once in 11 years.
We took all these pictures of us with our heads together like dorky newliweds. It cracked me up because in our real life we are only in the same state 2 days a week. But in our vacation life we were together nonstop and any time I wanted proof I could smash our heads together and take a picture!
My arms missed the daily snuggles I love giving my kids, I missed them and thought of them often. But I did not wish I was home, nor did I shed a single tear. Thank you Carrie for your advice- it allowed me to be guilt free!
Adjusting to the time there (16 hours ahead) didn't seem to affect us, but that is because we took naps whenever we wanted. The return to my reality hit hard. This week I realized how much work I actually do all day and night. It's a lot. It's tiring. All week I have been using toothpicks to keep my eyes open by 2pm each day. Diet Coke also keeps me going. And I don't even like Diet Coke.
(This is what a well rested mama looks like with a break from her job at the Westin in Tokyo. Ignore the accidental hair noose.)
I daydream of an imaginary life where I am 19 again, traveling the world with my camera. I am taking pictures, exploring, tasting new food, talking to locals and writing about it for a small paycheck. I take a big drink of my diet coke and remember the real life I am in: mopping pee off the bathroom floor, breaking up sibling rivalry, and cleaning up a sloppy diaper while slathering rash cream on her sore bottom. She screams in pain, someone else throws a toy at my head, and another one is crying because the computer isn't playing the RIGHT kind of train movie. 7 loads of clean laundry wait to be folded in a giant pile and there isn't a clean fork in the whole house.
The constant thought running through my mind this week: Why did I go to college, anyway, when this is what I do?
I think I have Awesome Vacation Hangover. I just submitted that to Urban Dictionary btw.