Thursday, November 17, 2016

Surprising Emma

When I was 14-years-old, my family took a trip to Europe.  We weren't rich by any means, but it  was important to my parents that we kids got to see a little of the world, and so we rented a cargo van with seats  and camped our way through 14 countries.  It rained almost every day and we were cold and wet most of the time, but it was a life-changing and unforgettable experience for all of us.

That trip instilled a burning within each of us to see more of the world and to experience foreign cultures.   My brother in the glasses and my sister in the pigtails, in the picture above,  have now been to more than 50 countries each.   The rest of us aren't quite that well-traveled (probably because we have a passel of kids between us), but we still daydream about traveling and occasionally find ways to make travel happen.   

When we went to Europe this past May, it was the culmination of a goal that Glen and I had set for ourselves when we were first married.   It was important to both of us and we really wanted our children to be able to experience a foreign culture before they left home.    We considered it a once-in-a-lifetime trip and did not even dream that in six months time, some of us would be back for another visit.   

Yes, Cami's on her mission in France and Emma's staying with my brother in England for a study abroad, but on October 27 Spencer, Adam, and I took off for Europe: Part 2!     This trip happened mostly because my sister, Kristina, was anxious for a trip before some busy new developments in her life make traveling impossible and no one in her family likes to travel.    She called me looking for a travel partner and was even willing to share her frequent flier miles with us to make it happen.  So we decided to make it Adam's 8th grade trip (a family tradition) and invite Spence to come along, since he hadn't been able to come with us in May.  

It all came together rather quickly (and we left only one day after we had returned from our trip to Utah), so I didn't have time to stress over this trip at all.   We met Kristina at the  Philadelphia airport.... 

and laughed at our matching rainbow of backpacks.    (this was all of our luggage!)

We flew through the night and arrived at our first destination of Lisbon, Portugal!

After arriving to Lisbon, we dropped off our luggage and headed to that big castle you see at the top of the hill there.

It's called Castelo de São Jorge (Saint George's Castle) and it marks the location of our big surprise of the trip!

In addition to boasting gorgeous views of Lisbon...

it also was the stopping place of my brother and his family on their fall break trip to Portugal, which meant that we got to MEET EMMA THERE!!!!!!   She knew nothing about our visit, so was completely surprised when showed up in the background of this picture!

This was her reaction after she realized we were there....

It was such a joy to see her and spend time with her again, especially because we got to be together for her sixteenth birthday, which was on Halloween.    

Stay tuned for more blogposts about our trip coming soon!  

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