July 18, 2012 § 8 Comments


We were invited to come and stay with out friends in Cambridge over the weekend. Go to the swimming pool, enjoy the sauna, do some sightseeing, possibly even some punting, all of which involved us actually getting there. This was our first overnight trip outside London as a family (I am not counting trips to homeland as such as it is never really a break, at least for me) and I am not embarrassed to admit I was preparing for the worst.

Last time we journeyed outside London we spent 1.5 hr on the tube getting to the location of our pick up, drove for another 1.5 hour to see Brighton in rain, miserable and windy, ending up with a car-sick child vomiting in her lap and asking for a loo in the middle of the fields. In the end it was a great day trip exploring the cliffs of Eastbourne but it did teach us a lesson – prepare for the worst and expect the sky to fall.

We had an even a less enjoyable experience on our first and second attempted overnight stay at friends. One involved us getting a mini cab in the middle of the night to drive from south to north London so that family junior could get some sleep.

We agreed for our friend to come and pick us all up on a Friday evening straight after work, take us to her place, get some rest there, and then get up early Saturday morning and do some family activities. We packed for war it seems: snacks, pencils, scissors, a stick glue and paper for keeping family junior busy and happy, sticker books and colouring in pages; I sneaked in Rapunzel into my bag even though junior kept insisting she will not play with it while there; wellies, chargers, swimming suits, baby wipes, sanitizers, home and outside shoes; change of clothes for different weather conditions (ranging from tropical to monsoon), umbrellas, you get the picture. 2 nights away packed into 4 suitcases. We were prepared this time!

This, as you might guess, was the final stop in the preparation process. It all started with a daily brainwashing of family junior to prepare her for what’s to come and hopefully to avoid disaster:

– We will be sleeping there (Nooo, I want to sleep in my own bed!), we will be staying there for two days and two nights (?!!?) , we will not be able to take a mini cab home from there, there will be other children there, they might eat different foods, please be polite if you do not like something, we will be in the car for at least an hour (not that she gets the length of time involved). Please look after the younger boy, be patient and play nice with him, please share your things; no shouting and talking back, etc.

If you are anywhere in the UK you can probably guess the weather is incredibly shit this summer so we were not that surprised to see our mini break ruined by the constant rain. Family junior, however, behaved like a model child! The kids played nice, spoke politely, enjoyed each other’s company, shared their toys and I was so so proud to see junior relate to both the older girl who is 8 and the younger boy who is 4. She somehow managed to charm both of them with her patience and kindness and that is something I always marvel at when I look at her.

The rain meant spending Saturday indoors – the village summer festival was cancelled and we decided to spend the day at one of the David Lloyd clubs mushrooming in the boiling hot whirlpool baths, enjoying the steam rooms and saunas, splashing the ice cold water over one another and having the time of our lives in general. For someone who never enjoyed water or swimming, this was by far the highlight of the trip for me. Playing tennis and squash afterwards, having a quiet sit down with a cup of coffee, catching up, dreaming up things, sharing things…it felt good to have a day like that.

The sun came out on Sunday and it was good! Off we went to explore the town centre and see the colleges, this part was obviously hated by all minors involved. Walking without a purpose? Yes, and you will walk! I think all three of them wished to see us in pain right then.

And then the time came to go home. Tired but happy we were home by 8 on a Sunday night. Fruit went mad how happy she was to see us, all her food gone, unable to express her longing timidly she literally jumped into junior’s hands. I can feel another trip coming our way, we can definitely do this.

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§ 8 Responses to Cambridge

  • Anonymous says:

    Super! smagu visai – ir as noreciau pasipliuskenti!

  • jocelynr says:

    Good work on braving another trip! It is exhausting though. jeez. i often think it’s more relaxing – vacation like – to stay home instead of go out. But it’s always nice once we’re there and settled in.

    • biblepanic says:

      I think so too. The only painless trips we had were trips to the homeland. She never moans, always waits for hours, is always excited to go and so calm I cannot believe it is the same child. I think it is partly to do with the fact that she knows where she is flying and who will be there to meet her. We learned it works best if we warn her of things so she knows exactly what to expect in the next hour, three hours, ten hours, two days. Saying we are going will never work. She needs to be prepared in her head. it took a couple of years to figure this out 😀
      How are your boys finding the long trips? Do they get any sleep? Do they cry?

      • jocelynr says:

        I can totally identify with wanting to know what to expect. I’m the same way. It’s most likely why we always vacation in the same place (Ockie’s at Ile aux Nattes) because we know what to expect vis a vis food, people, the accomodations, travel time, and what there is to do. My oldest also needs to know what to expect, even just about what we’re eating for dinner, or else he gets huge angst. LOL. I suspect that, if you arent born with it, the ability to roll with whatever comes your way without getting stressed about it is a skill most people need to work on for most of their lives. 🙂 As far as traveling though, Judah is quite a good traveler. It helps that he could watch movies for hours on end (which infinitely helpful on the 30odd hours we sspend en route to Canada and back. ugh) but my youngest gets bored and crabby and cries. ach. It’s terrible. But i’ve learned to only pack the bare essentials and maybe one or three toys because i’ve found we rarely use 70% of what we do bring along and i simply hate lugging it around. We’re trying to train our kids to entertain themselves with very little stimulation from others. haha. It makes my bag that much lighter to carry. It’s amazing here in Mada to see small kids entertain themselves with whatever they find lying around – sticks, dirt, etc. A very handy skill to have I’d say. 😉

        • biblepanic says:

          Argh it’s hard enough to travel such distances with two kids, not to mention them both being so different. Hm I can relate to you saying ‘pack the bare essentials’. True true, we learned that the only thing we must take with us no matter where we go is paper and pencils, then we are covered. Do you follow the imagination tree on Facebook or her blog? She posts phenomenal ideas on how to keep the little ones busy – she has two girls – they are amazing and we have tried out quite a few of them (coloured bath water, water beads, shaving foam/soap cafes, her home made play dough was a massive hit with ours). I don’t have time to read the blog but FB has it all:

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