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We rang in the New Year in Paris and spent the first eight days of 2018 in Italy, so we got a good start to the 2018 year, but it’s the summer trips that I’m most excited about.
Emma had expressed wanting to go on a trip of her own some time ago, so we had been researching options for a couple years. There are a lot of programs for college students but fewer for high school students. She had two stipulations: she wanted a Spanish speaking country and didn’t want to go to Spain.
She ended up picking a program with Sol Abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico. We liked Sol Abroad because participants get to take Spanish classes at a local university for college credit, and they can pick one volunteer activity from a long list of options including education, animal rescue, environment, health & nutrition, and human rights & social justice. If you know Emma, you know that she picked human rights & social justice. So this summer Emma will spend a month living with a local family in Oaxaca.
Oliver will spend the month with this dad, and I’m headed to Southeast Asia, which is quite possibly my favorite region in the world. I’m flying into Bangkok, a city I’ve been before, but I plan to head north almost as soon as I land. I’ll spend about a week in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai before taking a slow boat to Luang Prabang. I’ll spend most of my time in Laos but will end the trip on the Thai beaches in Krabi. I really wanted to fit Malaysia in this trip, but a month isn’t enough time to fully see both countries.
So Emma and I will take the train up to Chicago together, but she will board her flight to Mexico a little after midnight, and I will stay the night at the Hilton at O’Hare for my flight to Bangkok at 2 pm. I timed the flights so that Emma will land in Oaxaca before my flight leaves Chicago. We fly home in the opposite order. I land and will check in to our room, and she will land about eight hours later.
I’m excited for all the stories we’ll inevitably have on the train ride back home.