Aaah, what a glorious month it was. I can think of only a few things that would have made it better. And that was not getting to see everyone we love and miss. Other than that? It was the best vacation ever.
We started out in North Carolina, spending time with family, having “get-togethers” with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, etc. Jason, Eddie, and I didn’t get to do our rendition of “Landslide” at this year’s party but we did laugh and cut up a lot. I only wish I could have spent more time with them but they’re all promising to come visit once we’re back on the road system and you’d better believe I’m going to hold them to it.
I also got to see my best girl Julie! She and I hadn’t seen each other in five years but of course it was as if no time had passed at all and we just picked right up where we left off. I also spent an insane amount of money on makeup at the Clinique counter. Makeup. Did I mention that I rarely wear makeup in the wilds of Alaska? Well Howard politely stated that maybe I should try to make an effort, I and my credit card made a huge effort, thank you very much. I also made Julie buy a tweed suit in which she looked gorgeous, and then she talked me into a pair of cute strappy stilettos to wear in Argentina. We were sickeningly girlie but it was so good to spend time with her. (I also got a thank you note from the lady at the Clinique counter several days later)
We went to our nephew Tate’s wrestling match and took lots of pictures. He’s growing up so fast and of course gets more handsome with each birthday. Our niece Blake, plays volleyball and we also took in a game. I was able to hold back the tears this year but she cried when she saw us. She is now every bit as tall as me and also gets more beautiful everytime we see her. Our other niece, Brittney is developing quite the personality at five years of age and had no qualms about chatting us up and dominating the conversation at all times. She’s getting so big and of course, beautiful! (I feel, that all my nieces and nephews are most beautiful children in the world) And finally little Bradley, who is four and could break your heart, he’s so gorgeous and sweet. He’s a bit reserved but once he comes around, look out, he’s one smart and talkative little man. It’s tough not being able to see them more and watch them grow but thank God for technology!
After two glorious weeks of familial, friendly bliss (yes there is such a thing) we boarded a plane headed for Buenos Aires. Unfortunately a mechanical delay caused us to miss our connection in Washington D.C. and the airline had to put us up in a hotel. It turned not to be so unfortunate when we were able to get in touch with our friend, Cindy, who lives in the area. We’d been sending emails back and forth trying to set up a plan in which to get together but just couldn’t make it fit into our schedules. She picked us up and took us to dinner and to the new Air and Space museum. We were able to catch up and admire her new and improved body, thanks to hiking almost the entire Appalachian trail last summer. The lost day in Buenos Aires was more than worth it to see her and we boarded the plane in high spirits.
The weather in Buenos Aires was amazing. 85 degrees on the average and sunny every single day we were there. We stayed at the Loi Suites Recoleta which of course is in the heart of Recoleta. The hotel overlooked the famous Cementario Recoleta and the huge open air market. We visited Eva Peron’s grave and it took us two days to see the entire cemetary. We walked all over the city, drank lots of wine and ate lots of meat. And let me tell you, the meat in Argentina? is every bit what it’s hyped up to be. So damn tender we cut it with butter knives. We visited one restaurant and had three different kinds of Caviar and complimentary champagne. The people were warm and friendly, the women were gorgeous and the men were HOT! We spent our last night in a Tango House drinking more wine, eating more beef and watched a mesmorizing Tango show. (I finally got to wear my stilettos that night) We were house hunting by the time we left, we loved it so much. We’re definitely planning another trip there.
We spent a couple of days back in North Carolina before leaving for Vegas and I got to see more friends I hadn’t seen in ages (April and Danielle) and Howard and I rested up, did laundry, etc.
The flight out to Vegas was a lot of fun due to a flight attendant having a fascination with Alaska. (Howard was wearing a cap emblazoned with a logo and the name of our village) She kept getting in trouble with her supervisor because she was spending more time sitting and talking with us than working. Luckily her supervisor was also her best friend and it was her birthday and she cut the flight attendant some slack. She also gave us the dirt on a few, amorous passengers sitting in the backrow. It was hilarious and made the four hour flight go by quickly.
We got lucky with the weather in Vegas as well. It was great to see Howard’s dad and stepmom. Larry tends to spoil us a bit when we’re there and I can’t deny that we enjoy every minute of it. He cooked for us, took us to dinner, and we did a bit of sightseeing but we mainly hung out with both of them and took it easy. Howard and I did spend one day doing all the obligatory tourist things. We took a Gondola ride at the Venetian, rode the roller coaster at New York, New York and had margaritas with lunch at Margaritaville. Howard’s cousin Jeff (Amy, when you go back, ask for “Red” and tell him we said hello!), works there and we surprised him by sitting in his section. There were lots of hugs and lots of picture taking, etc.
The last part of our vacation was the most lifechanging and memorable because we were finally able to meet Howard’s sister Carla (who, coincidently also lives in Vegas). There is a long, beautiful story that goes along with it but we’ve spent the past year corresponding since we located her and built a relationship, anticipating the time when we would get to meet in person. She and her husband Michael are two of the most beautiful people on the planet. They could not have been more warm or open with us. We were all surprised by how comfortable we felt around each other. Carla is even more beautiful in person and reminds me so much of Howard’s mother. It warmed my heart to see how easily Carla and Howard interacted with each other. The wait was worth it. On another night, she and Michael took us to Battista’s Hole in The Wall and we ate some of the best Italian food, we’ve ever had. It felt like we were with old friends. We later, went to the comedy club at the Riviera and laughed so hard our throats were sore. The end of the vacation was topped off with Carla meeting Howard’s dad (they have different fathers) and stepmom and all of us having one last dinner together. It’s funny, I imagined us all crying upon our intial meeting but the tears only came when we parted that night. We spent two days in Anchorage before heading back to our village and I was able to see and hug Tess at the office.
So, that’s pretty much it, like I said, it was amazing. I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to top it….and hopefully someday I’ll actually be able to share the pictures.
Carla, you are a precious gift and we cannot imagine what it would be like to not have you in our lives now.
To our family and friends, you are our heart and soul. We are truly blessed. We consider ourselves so lucky to have you. Thank you for making this vacation so fabulous and meaningful.