Every summer, without fail, I have abandoned Beijing for greener pastures. When Reina was at the tender age of two, I began taking her abroad solo so that the two of us could have a longer holiday, since Savvy could not get as much leave from work to match our more flexible schedules. These trips have become a part of our family DNA, so when it became clear to Reina and I that we would not be going anywhere this summer due to the pending arrival of her twin siblings (5 weeks to go), I started to scramble to put together some ideas for a decent “staycation.”
Let’s be clear: staying home for a summer break is not going to rival a two-month trip abroad, even if much of those two months is simply hanging out with other families at home. My child loves flights – long flights. She likes airports, luggage carts, security checks, passport stamps, folding trays, compartmentalized meals, and window seats. Our goal was to simply to make the summer enjoyable and relatively affordable by staying home this season. That, and we didn’t want to raise the ire of Mama by abandoning her in her third trimester.
Though saving money was a goal this summer, we did splurge on a few local holidays. The first was a weekend trip with friends to The Commune by the Great Wall. It was great to get out of the city, into the mountains, and to go someplace with good friends (see my previous post on The Commune here).
The second was an overnight stay at our local Holiday Inn. Two days of swimming and a decent buffet breakfast were the order of the day and we saved money by booking on Savvy’s corporate rate. We’ve also done this before with hotels downtown, but we wanted to be within walking distance of home for this one. The overnight was fine, but Reina did complain about the hotel stay being too short.
The other area we splurged this summer was signing Reina up for a two-week summer camp that introduces swimming to the kids and includes a lot of other activities. This will be Reina’s first summer camp and several of her friends will be there too, so we are all hoping it will be a great experience.
For me, the real vacation feeling will start after the summer camp, when Reina and I will take a couple of weeks to do all of her favorite things in Beijing. We will be hitting the aquarium (and maybe the zoo if it’s not too hot), going to Family Box (another splurge), playing at Fundazzle, visiting friends, riding scooters in the park, and eating plenty of ice cream.
These are the kinds of things we do when we go home each summer, a few weeks ahead of Mama. It won’t be quite the same as flying to Oregon and trying to have fun while overcoming the jetlag, but we will make the best of it. Who knows? Maybe one afternoon, we will go hang out at Terminal 3 just for old times’ sake.
Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr