Year of the Horse: Giddy up, Expat!

by farrah on February 3, 2014 · 13 comments

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the Year of the Horse. I like horses. Thus- I am taking this as a sign that this year will be another of moving forward, going on to explore and be a part of something extraordinary. Now that life is a little more settled with the ‘where’ we are going to be living, we can ease back and be ok with the fact that a few months on the calendar are still empty. Normally, this would stress me out- as I like to have stuff pinned down and written somewhere as early as possible. So, probably in very typical expat fashion- here’s what the upcoming year holds for us.

Year of the Horse Last time I was on a horse: Wyoming 2012

Sprinkled here and there we have school, swim lessons, a business trip or two for my husband- so pretty much life as usual just like everyone else. We do have a few highlights coming up, so those give us things to talk about and research.


February will bring my mother in law to visit again- just in time for B’s big 5th birthday party. There’s a big dinosaur expo in Rotterdam which opens the 7th and that is absolutely on the agenda.

March we’re off for Carnival (and it is crazy here)- so taking Grandma on a road trip across Germany. We might hit LegoLand in Günzburg on our way to Nuremberg and stay at that fabulous castle-hostel again. After a night there, we’re on to Prague where we booked another House Trip apartment. Here’s hoping this one goes as well as the one did in Rome and we have a great trip with decent weather.

April has a trip for mama in the works. My buddy Ann will be celebrating her birthday so we’ve decided to hit London. Currently figuring out the details on this, but with cheap flights we’re being indecisive over where to stay. Go figure- two travel bugs splitting hairs over location. Additionally, April is THE big month for Keukenhof to reopen! We went last year- and after a very delayed spring not everything was in bloom. Word is that this year will be better, so the plan is to hit the tulips the weekend of the 19th.

May is going to be an important month for my family. My father will be coming to visit- which will be the biggest trip of his life (so no pressure). He’s coming to stay for two weeks, and his only request is that we please take him to Normandy. It will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day this year (the commemoration starts in June) and if we can go in early May we can hopefully miss the hullabaloo and he can spend some time reflecting. After that, my bff is talking about coming to visit for a week- which I am hoping happens. I am already plotting some kind of surprise trips to take her on for her first overseas experience.


June so far- NOTHING!

July will be our big family vacation. The boys get out of school on the 11th, so we’re going back to Dordogne and staying at the lovely family B&B we experienced last year. It was so great, I know I know- there’s so many places, but this place is special and we are looking forward to a relaxing time in the pool and just being slow-tourists.

August is going to be kind of weird. I have my 20th high school reunion which I am hell-bent on attending. I know- that’s probably the last thing many of you would travel overseas for- so I will be talking about this in a future post. Or five. But yeah- so I am thinking about going back for a weekend just to live in the past and see a bunch of people who I haven’t seen in decades. The boys are back in school on the 25th and summer is over!

Fall & beyond

All will be quiet until November or so- at this point I know that we have got to bite it and just fly back to the US with the boys. We have to get to South Carolina and empty out our mini storage: fill a U-haul and drive our belongings to Michigan. In that time, we also want the boys to see the pediatrician for their check ups, as well as the dentist. Then, drive the 12 or so hours north to see the family which will be insane. No one will have seen the boys since 2012 unless they came to visit- so this will be a very big deal. The mere logistics are a bit overwhelming, but we’re going to do it. Our plan is to make this an early Thanksgiving (like really early) for them and us, so depending on what we can work out with school, timing will tell.

So yeah, laugh at me for being so crazy. Here it is just February and I practically have an entire year filled out. When did this start happening? Does this mean I’m old? Because whew. Some days I really feel like I’m 100.

Do you plan out your year like this? Or am I the only crazy person?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Theresa February 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

The dinosaur thing here looks wicked cool! Sounds like a perfect time for a meetup! 😉

All the rest sounds really cool. Even though I’m not technically an expat I have a similar calendar made up. It helps keep me sane and focus on the fun and positive stuff!

Did the school tell you that you have to ask permission to take a kid over the age of 5 on holiday outside allotted days off?


2 farrah February 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Oh the whole school/take out after 5 policy is a whole ball o’ wax I have yet to really explore. I think we are fined/jailed here (?) if you do so. Which is why we did Rome right before! I was talking to a parent about it and explaining WHY we are going (really, it’s because the contract is going to extend, we will be seeing doctors/dentists and moving our stuff) so we might be able to get special permission if we present a good case. Time will tell. If that doesn’t fly, we’ll have to do it on a long weekend but OMG. Can you imagine flying overseas, hopping in a car and driving 12 hours within 2 days then flying back?

As for the Rotterdam thing- YES. Sign us up. We have another friend in common I believe who is also interested 🙂


3 Agata February 3, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Yes! Me, me, me :))))


4 Theresa February 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Haha yes! Perhaps Farrah can help reunite us 😉


5 Chamisa February 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm

No, you’re not crazy.. unless I am too! I have a yearly planning worksheet with all the holidays/days off work and I fill in destinations 🙂 We might be headed your way in Feb/Mar!


6 farrah February 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Yay! You need to give me more details- as to where and when! Ps- do you have any posts on LegoLand?


7 andrea February 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm

We totally plan out our year! We are planned through August right now, although I am already thinking of where we can go in the Fall 🙂 And yay, I hope you and Ann have so much fun in London!

(by the way, did you see the error BBC made on some headline when they put up on a show that it was the year of the whores? Yikes.)


8 Ann February 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

That’s funny about the BBC.


9 Kristin February 4, 2014 at 12:00 am

That is some year! I’m so impressed with you having the year planned out. I can barely think ahead to next week!


10 Ann February 4, 2014 at 7:09 am

I like your plan. Especially the part of going to the US to VISIT instead move. And April.

We’re pretty much planned out until June and are original plans for May are being postponed. Maybe August or September, not sure. It’s going to be a good year.


11 Amy February 4, 2014 at 7:34 am

How cute are you on that horse? I skipped my 20th high school reunion last summer and totally regretted it. All of my friends were there, and tons of people I had totally forgotten about and wished I had seen. Of course I know plenty of people who’ve said their reunion wasn’t worth it, but that’s my two cents. Giddyup.


12 Ace February 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

Oh man, you’re pretty well scheduled. =) It’s great that you have so many things planned out, there’s always something great to look forward to.


13 Mrs. Chasing the Donkey February 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I protest. Where is Croatia????????


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