Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Family Reunion in Florida & returning to Shanghai

     We took our yearly home leave in December 2014.  We flew to Florida to visit Chris' parents Gloria & Reg, and had a full Lamb family reunion.  Chris' sister Robin and her family joined us and it was  the first time we have all been together since our wedding.
     Spending time with Chris' niece and nephew was such a treat - they are both such nice young people, not kids anymore.  Emily and Katie loved being around them both.  Although we live in Shanghai and haven't seen everyone in such a long time, it's nice feeling the welcome only family can bring.  It made us both realize how much we miss everyone, and also how much we actually like being around our families.

Emily & Nana
 Nana & Papa drove the girls around their compound one afternoon.  They saw this alligator in the pond.  Not something we see in Shanghai!

Florida gator
And of course, there was a trip to Universal Studios and  Disney World.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was really impressive, the best things at Universal by far.  We met up Chris' sister Robin and her family there as well.

The Wizarding World
Jelly beans 
Calling the Ministry of Magic

We were also able to spend a short two days in California, before finally heading back to Shanghai.  We toured schools (4 in one morning!), and had dinner with the Hayashi side of the family.  The highlight was seeing our neighborhood friends the final night we were in the US.  Everyone made us feel so warm and welcomed.

Peter looks good with a beard!

Me & Maria!

The next morning, we were on a long flight back to Shanghai.
   I have been warned by people who have returned home after long stays overseas that the transition back to the US is harder than expected.  Some families return feeling like they don't belong in their old place anymore, and they don't fit in.   But I feel really good about it.  I can't wait to be back in Pasadena and get re-acquainted with the city and get involved in the community.  We are only in Shanghai for seven months more, and after May it will all be about getting ready to come home.   Although being here has been great in so, so many ways, after this last trip back I am feeling homesick.  We are starting our countdown!

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