Sunday Morning 12/23/2018 The Band Is Back Together

Settled in to watch “Mulan,” although two out of the three don’t feel very well. “Mulan” was a favorite childhood movie (along with the “High School Musical” series), and they know the words to every song and sing along.

We picked up our last little bird at the airport on Thursday afternoon, so the house is full and we are ready for Christmas! Or at least I hope we will be ready for Christmas – four of the five of us have been struggling with a stomach bug. WenYu suddenly became very sick on Thursday when we were at the airport to pick up Meiling. By Friday night Brett and YaYu had caught it, and Meiling finally succumbed last night. As of this morning I am still OK, WenYu is feeling well and eating again, and Brett and YaYu say they feel better although neither has an appetite. We are all hoping we’ll be OK by Christmas morning.

In spite of all this sickness, Brett and I are loving the sounds of the girls chattering with each other, and enjoying the chances we’ve had to talk with them, sit down to meals together and watch TV together. Mostly though we’re just happy being together again, even if it’s only going to be for a short while. Poor Brett – he had to adjust pretty quickly to being the lone man in a house of women once again (and there’s only one bathroom). Both of us also had to adjust quickly to a lot more dishes and laundry.

Otherwise, all seems to be going well. Our spending had been a little on the high end, but that’s from all the food shopping we did right after we arrived. Our daily average has been dropping every day though now that the shopping is over so hopefully we’ll end the month right where we need to be. I am just hoping now that we’ll be able to eat all of the food we bought before we have to leave!

This morning I am:

  • Reading: Still nothing. However, the new Ian Rankin book, In a House of Lies, arrives on December 31, and I am looking forward to digging into that.
  • Listening to: It’s a very quiet morning here again. WenYu, Brett and I are up, and eating (just crackers for Brett) but Meiling and YaYu are still sleeping. Immense amounts of sleep have been one of the curious side-effects of this bug.
  • Watching: I watched my two must-see Christmas films last week: White Christmas and Love, Actually, which WenYu and I always watch together. It was especially fun this year to see the final scene with Colin Firth in Lisbon – I recognized those hills and steps! I am probably the only person in the U.S. though who has not seen Elf, so I’m trying to see it this year but so far it’s not available on one of our streaming sites. WenYu and I are also binge watching the new Twin Peaks series – it’s very weird, and not as cohesive as the original series.

    Well, at least most of us got to enjoy sitting down together for our turkey dinner (WenYu missed it) on Thursday.
  • Cooking/baking: I’m not doing a whole lot of cooking right now. We were supposed to go to our friend Joan’s house yesterday morning for brunch but with three out of five of us sick that sadly didn’t happen. Tonight I’m going to make a pot of turkey noodle soup to use up the turkey, and will make some biscuits to go with that. We’ll see who makes it to the table.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I finished all of our travel re-provisioning this past week, and the only thing we have left to get now are some small gifts for the next round of Airbnb hosts. We’ll do that a couple of days before we leave – we’re planning on taking small boxes of smoked salmon and some Portland tea towels as both will be lightweight and easy to pack. I researched airfares and schedules and helped WenYu book her flight to Cyprus in January – she will be doing her spring term at the University of Nicosia, attending film school and studying animation. Brett drove Meiling down to Eugene and back on Saturday to bring her things back up to Portland for Christmas.
  • Looking forward to next week: Hopefully all of us will be feeling better again, and of course we are all looking forward to Christmas! Everyone’s gifts are wrapped and ready, we have everything for our meals on hand, so I am just looking forward to us being together, feeling better, and enjoying the holiday. We are planning to go out for dim sum on Wednesday morning, and then on Thursday we will meet and go out to dinner with Meiling’s boyfriend. She and I are talking about maybe doing a re-design of the blog this week, so we’ll see if that happens. It’s just the sort of thing she loves to do and is very, very good at, but both of us always seem to get wrapped up in other stuff.

    Our granddaughter is getting lots of sparkly fairy princess dress-ups!
  • Thinking of good things that happened: The fact that I am not sick is a very good thing – usually I am the first to come down with something like this and then pass it along to everyone else. It’s also a good thing that whatever this bug is it doesn’t seem to last long. Also, the last pieces of our granddaughter’s gifts arrived this week so that is taken care of. The gift for our grandson also arrived – a custom-made fingerboard (skateboard) – so along with all the different currency we have saved along the way for him we are good to go!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) We stopped spending money on groceries. We have enough now. Anything that’s left over when we move out will go home with Meiling. 2) The grandchildren’s gifts came with free shipping, and there’s no sales tax in Oregon. 4) We got WenYu’s round-trip airfare to Cyprus for less than $750. She is thrilled as she thought she would be paying more than $1200. 5) Sick or not, we have been doing a good job of making sure leftovers get eaten, although at a slower pace than usual. No food has been thrown out.
  • Grateful for: I am so grateful that all the girls arrived safely and we are able to be together for a while. I am always a bundle of nerves when they travel, and have to change flights, etc. but they all managed well. So many of us being sick in this small house has been difficult but everyone is getting better, and I am so glad it did not catch me (knock on wood).
  • Bonus question: Do you prefer receiving or giving gifts? I have always enjoyed giving gifts more than receiving them, even when I was little. I am always thankful for the gifts I receive but I have far more fun thinking about the people I am giving to, and what they would like, appreciate and use. I love hunting for just the right thing. Brett and I had a plan for the girls’ gifts before we begin traveling, and we had a good time not only finding those things but choosing the right ones for each girl’s taste. Everything we’re giving the girls this year, from stocking stuffers to gifts, comes from some place we visited this past fall. We enjoyed choosing gifts for our son and daughter-in-law too and will deliver them when we get to Japan in February.

I’m not sure when I’ll post again this week, but want to wish all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


12 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 12/23/2018 The Band Is Back Together

    1. Thanks, Vivian. Most everyone is feeling much better today – not completely well yet though but I think we’ll all be OK for Christmas unless I get sick between now and then.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!


    1. Merry Christmas, Sluggy! So far I am doing OK so fingers remain crossed. Usually I am the first to get sick, so this has been a different turn of events. Everyone else is on the mend though and I think we will all be in good health for Christmas.

      Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


  1. Great to see the girls all together. Hope you stay healthy!

    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us this year. Merry Christmas to all of you! Wishing you another great year in 2019!


    1. Thanks, Lauren. Brett and I are so happy to have them with us, even if they did get sick! So far I continue to stay well, but I’ve still got all my fingers and toes crossed.

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed our adventures so far – next year is going to be quite exciting as well with lots of new things and challenges coming up.

      Wishing the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years to you and all your family!


  2. Merry Christmas! I know you will have a Happy New Year in 2019 as the “Big Adventure” continues and I look forward to following along on your blog! Hope everyone is fully recovered as soon as possible.


    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

      While we are enjoying our “down time” here in Portland with family, we are also getting excited about our travels next year. It’s almost hard to believe that in two weeks we’ll be in India, in a month we’ll be in Australia, and in a little over a month and a half we’ll be in Japan!


  3. Hi Laura,

    I used to go to Cyprus frequently in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when we were living in Dubai (it was our Regional HQ). Terrific place, with lots of history, wonderful food, and very friendly people. I’m sure she will enjoy it, and it’s easy to travel around there and the region – I used to drool at the offers of weekends in the surrounding countries (Egypt, Israel, North Africa, Gulf, etc.) for only around $200! I still have friends and connections there from my NCR days.



    1. Hi Greg! Thanks for the good news about Cyprus – WenYu is very excited about her upcoming study there, both for the location and for the coursework. Apparently the University of Nicosia has a top-notch film school and animation offerings which have been difficult for WenYu to find to fit her schedule so far. She has already gotten word about possible travel opportunities and is going to take advantage of as many as she can while she’s there.


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