There are two events happening in the next 2 weeks in Europe:
Tomorrow is the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents.
They decided to celebrate in a small setting with family at the very place they’ve celebrated their marriage in 1966.
And just a few days later is Stefaan’s and Flo’s wedding.
They handle things the Belgian way: build a house. Make kids. Then maybe get married.
These are two big celebrations and I really wanted to go. Now, such a trip with the full family for what would become a 10 day journey with 14 hour flights twice is not what you really want to do with two kids. Particularly given that our vacation time is limited. But I also did not feel like leaving Lamia with our two boys behind – even though Aggie is great, of course, it is still a lot of work to take care of two little children and if one parent’s is not around you’ll feel it. So, my ingoing position was I should not go.
Lamia: You should totally go!
Leo: But it’s 10 days…
Lamia: It’s fine. We’re going to handle it.
Have I ever mentioned what an awesome wife I have?
I checked with Aggie whether she’d be okay to work all the Sundays while I am gone and she kindly said yes.
And so I booked plane and train tickets a little while ago. I’ll fly to Frankfurt via Paris and then take the train to Fulda and then Göttingen where my parents will pick me up tomorrow. Which airline, you ask? Well. The one I hate (which yet had the best connection / price). I even booked a Premium Economy ticket, which was a first for me.
I am also looking forward to taking the ICE trains in Germany. I did like the trains in Japan, but I still think that the ICE is a nicer overall experience. I booked rather early, so prices were okay and just as with the flight I treated myself: I booked first class for the trains (really not that expensive if you’re lucky enough to catch a special offer).
Luggage-wise, I am actually entitled to bring three suitcases of up to 23 kg on the flight (two, because I am flying Premium Economy and another one due to my frequent flyer status). I was wondering whether I really had to make use of this…
Lamia: You are going to bring three suitcases, honey, and you are going to max them out!
… and concluded that I totally had to make fully use of this. Lamia is much smarter than me to anticipate what payload will be needed once I am in Europe. Just consider all the deliveries from online shopping that likely have already arrived at my parents’ place and that will need to be taken back to Singapore. And I’ll certainly going to bring quite a lot of other stuff back for the kids, too (I’ve made a shopping list for Germany, already, of course).
So, okay: I put one large suitcase into the biggest one we have, packed the things I will need in there, and then threw some random other things into the second largest suitcase we own.
I am ready.
The hardest part, however, is coming now: actually leaving wife and kids behind. This is so difficult. I do not enjoy traveling alone as much anymore as I did years ago. I’m an empty shell when I am without my family. I’ll miss Lamia and while I do not miss having to put the kids on a 14 hour flight and likely getting mad at the airline, I will miss both Oskar and Thomas so badly that it tears me apart.