A tribute to vacation!


Christmas Break and then some:

I love working in education because we get nice long breaks. None of this “3 weeks a year” of vacation business. As soon as the kids left Rio, our minds were flooded with ideas and possibilities of things to do. Even though we were stuck with miserable, rainy weather, we still dreamt of setting up a dark room, turning some wooden bowls, visiting old friends, going Christmas shopping! I even had time to take a much-needed CPR class for work as well as work on my upcoming website.

After a week of doing random things around the house and town, (btw, Aaron set up a sweet sound system that goes through our house. We can even control the song and volume through our phones, which are attached somehow wirelessly to the computer which is attached to the tv, which is attached to the speakers. Don’t ask me how-he’s a miracle worker!), we decided to spend the day in San Francisco to check out the Christmas Eve action in the City. We went to the Exploratorium, which I used to visit as a kid, and Aaron got to experience it for the very first time. However, the museum closed several hours early, and our only other appointment that day was the midnight mass service at Grace Cathedral. We had SO much time to kill. So we went down town, and went to the mall like a couple of teenagers, then went to look at the ice skating rink in Union Square, then attempted to eat at the Cheesecake Factory at the top of Macy’s, and were rejected due to the 120 minute wait.

We eventually found some food and went to kill some time at a café and found ourselves at the only open espresso bar in the area which happened to also be a hookah bar. We did not partake of the hookah but it was rather entertaining and maybe slightly ironic to be spending Christmas Eve with a bunch of Middle Eastern guys smoking the hookah. Actually, it was awesome.

And so was midnight mass. So glorious! All the instruments and singers were in tune and their tones rose to the heights of the massive cathedral. It was very heartwarming, especially since we’d spend the entire next day, Christmas Day, traveling.

I love going home. I love my family and our rebellion against tradition. We opened presents one day late and had a big big Kwanzaa brunch to celebrate the day that none of us know anything about. We also brought with us a couple of kids from China, who are juniors at our school, so that they could experience the culture and entertainment of a “typical” American family. Or rather, that we could have an extra element of entertainment.

We took the kids almost every day to downtown DC to see the monuments, museums, trains planes and automobiles. We took them ice skating, shopping, and out to eat. Lucky kids!

My mom decided to start a new tradition this year of taking her favorite daughter (me!) to a spa for a facial. Wow! Mom, my face is still thanking you. We had some really great bonding time in between shopping and entertaining people and my parents remodeling their bathroom.

I got to see old friends-Juan Pablo Ariza and his lovely new wife, Erica. They are super cool and are changing the world for the better. I’ve known Pablo since 2nd grade and I’m always astounded at how grown up he is. He’s going to be a pastor, and will such a good one. I also got to see one of my best friends in the world, Ansley, who is another world changer. She’s studying public health/nurse practitioning/mid-wifery at Emery in Atlanta and not only is she a selfless, giving beautiful person, but she’s a lot of fun too. We ran all over DC area going to the Newseum, sampling coffee, trading in movie tickets for later times, and tasting delicious cupcakes. She is definitely one of those BFF, buy a friendship necklace, call up anytime kind of friends. Ansley, I love you and one day is not enough to catch up!

One of the best parts of this little vacation was our Gemmell music day. The 3 of us did music for church and then we had the 2011 Gemmell House Concert, where we had about 40 people show up and many of them performed. Random, unplanned, interesting, crazy. Technical difficulties have momentarily prevented these performances from being uploaded to youtube.

I love vacation! But I do have to say, it’s good to be home and surrounded by teenage boys who think it’s a treat to eat my burnt attempts at sweet potato fries.


Erica said...

it was super great to meet you :D
i hope we have more run-in's soon... happy new year!

Emily Star said...

Rika! Your break sounds super. haha This all made me laugh and at the same time gave me an insight into what you're up too. Oh and I love Ansley too. :) Love Emily

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