Monday, July 30, 2007

Quickly Catching Up...

We've been busy since I got back from China. Lots and lots to do at work, and another 12 days or so of traveling in July, this time back in the US.

We flew to Houston to visit Melody's Mom and Dad for a few days. It was Dad's 75th birthday, and we had a great time catching up and celebrating with them, Uncle Sal and Aunt Eden (Dad's brother and sister-in-law), and their neighbors across the street (from Peru).

We also took a day trip to San Antonio to look at homes there. It looks like we're headed for Texas when we leave here next spring, so we wanted to get a head start checking out the area. My Uncle Ed and Aunt Barb live out there too, and Melody hadn't yet met them. so it was a good chance to get everyone acquainted.

After a few more days in Houston, we flew on to Washington DC where we spent a couple of days catching up with friends and checking in on our rental property there. This was the first time we'd had a chance to actually see it in person, as we bought it sight unseen last year from our Realtor, David of John and John's REMAX Allegiance Team. We got to see John and John as they met us at the condo. (NOTE: If you live in or plan to move to the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area, do take a look at their website...they're great guys to work with if you're in the market for a new home.)

While in DC, we stayed at the Army and Navy Club, enjoying the hospitality and all our old friends there like Suleiman, Tony, Sam, and Tibor. It's as classy as ever, and we really enjoyed reminiscing on our wedding reception, held there in 2003. We also hung out in our old Shirlington haunts, and I drank an Amber Waves Ale at the Capital City Brewery for my old friend Colin...Cap City was our Sunday Afternoon establishment where we proceeded to solve most of the world's problems (if anyone would listen to us).

On Friday, we headed up to Bethesda for Melody's old boss' retirement ceremony. We'd brought along our uniforms for the occasion, and joined about 200 people in wishing him fair winds and following seas. He and his wife were thrilled when we RSVP'd yes from Japan, and while we didn't have much time, we did get to catch up with him for a few minutes before braving the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic to Reagan National Airport.

We made it to National with enough time to have a 5 Guys hamburger (God bless the 5 Guys for getting themselves in there) and fries, and then hopped a short 30 minute flight to Boston for our connection to Buffalo, NY.

Getting to Buffalo, we picked up the rental car and drove to the hotel where we checked in, and walked a couple of blocks to meet some of my cousins for a beer and 3 years of catching up. We spent the weekend there with about 75 family members, some of whom we'd never met (an entire branch of the family), and others that we'd not seen since our wedding or the previous family reunion. Everyone looked great for the most part, and we all had a great time.

Got to see my Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister and her family, with Charlie and Thomas, both of whom are really growing up fast. All in all, it was an incredible trip.

We started back to Japan on Monday morning, almost missing our flight to Newark due to about a zillion people in the TSA screening. As we were rushing to get in line, with about 20 minutes before the flight left, one of the airport security guys caught us and asked to see our boarding passes. Upon checking them, he directed us to another lady who pointed us downstairs to another lady who sent us to a different part of the terminal where there was no line. We got through the alternate screening checkpoint and just made it to our flight as they called general boarding. Whoever you were, thanks for taking care of us. Also, unusually for us, we never once had to do the secondary screening (unlike last year when we got screened at every flight...probably the series of one way tickets).

We dawdled in Newark for a while, eating breakfast and doing a lot of standing in preparation for a 13 hour flight back to Japan. The flight itself was long, but uneventful, and we got to watch Blades of Glory (hilarious).

By the time we got home, I ate a bite of supper and collapsed, having only had a couple of hours of sleep on the plane. Going to bed at about 8 PM synched me reasonably well, though, and I didn't have much jet lag after that.

So we keep busy...Melody was ill this past weekend which kept us home, but we had planned to visit her cousins in Kobe for the twins' first birthday. Instead, we'll probably go in September.

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