Friday, November 7, 2014

November Secret Subject Swap

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap

My “Secret Subject” is: Visiting the Homeland
My prompt is: "What is something you are thankful that happened this year?"
It was submitted by:

Throughout the course of a year there are a lot of good things that happen that I can be thankful for. The health of my children and family, having a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs.

But those are obvious.

Something that happened this year that I am truly thankful for is being able to go back to visit my homeland. Before I start, I should mention that I consider England and America to be my home. I was born in Miami, Florida but spent a lot of my childhood in England. I lived in England, Spain and Scotland from the time I was seven-years-old until we moved back to Florida when I was a freshman in high school.

When I was a teenager I would travel back to England and Scotland for three to four weeks over the summer visiting my grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and friends. Once I left home for college my trips to the UK became less frequent and after I married and started a family they almost never happened. Traveling with a family is not cheap, especially 3,000 miles across the pond.

This summer I was fortunate enough to be able to take my husband and three of our children to England. We got to be there for my stepfather's surprise 70th birthday party where I saw friends and family I hadn't seen in years (including my sister who lives in Malaysia), we got to stay with my grandmother for a week, we stayed with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Wimbledon and saw two childhood friends of mine. I should note that the baby is named after my grandmother. When we made the trip the baby was seventeen-months-old and my grandmother had not yet met her namesake.

The flight over went surprisingly well. Hubs and I were in two seat at the bulkhead where there was a table that folded out of the wall and a reclining chair was set up for the baby. She only wanted to be in it when she was sleeping, so luckily she slept for about 5 hours on the way over (we flew over night). The other two kids were in the seats directly behind us. They were extremely excited as they had no idea where we were going until we were standing at the check-in a the airport!

Kids faces as we pulled into the airport and 
they realized we were flying somewhere.

Baby sleeping on the plane.

While we were visiting my grandmother I got to go to the grave of my grandfather who died of lung cancer four years ago. The last time I saw him was a month before he passed. He was diagnosed in the summer and within months he was gone. He wasn't a smoker, he was incredibly active and healthy up to that point. My brother and I lived with our grandparents for a while after our parents divorced. They were like second parents to us and were always a constant in our lives. It was extremely emotional for me but I loved that my children got to replace the flowers on their great-grandfather's grave. They hadn't seen him since they were four and eighteen-months-old, so the only memories they have of him are those in photographs.

Kids being silly with my sister

Changing out the flowers at their
great-grandfather's grave.

Traditional English Sunday roast

My grandmother reading with
her namesake

This trip was the first time hubs and the kids had been out of the country. I've been fortunate to live in, and travel to, many different countries and have been exposed to lots of different cultures and experiences. It is always exciting for me to travel with someone who has never been there before. Relive the excitement through them. Seeing the thatched roof cottages, the beautiful green landscapes of the English countryside, and the buildings that date back hundreds and hundreds of years. We took a trip into London to see the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum and Harrods. The kids and hubs got to ride in their first English taxi and the "tube".

Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guards


One day we took a riverboat up the Thames to a place called Hampton Court Palace. The palace was build by King Henry VIII where he (and his six wives) lived and dates back to the 1500's!

Front of Hampton Court Palace

Hubs and I fraternizing with the
Hampton Court Palace locals

We also got to visit friends in the Lake District in the North of England. We saw beautiful lakes and got to visit the Beatrix Potter experience.

Walking through Kendal in the Lake District

Inside the Beatrix Potter experience

On our way back south from the Lake District we stopped at Morecambe Bay. Having grown up on the Atlantic in Florida, hubs was determined to see the other side of the Atlantic. We had a really great traditional English fish and chips for lunch.

Morecambe Bay

Not many people get to travel, let alone out of the country. I know how incredibly lucky my family and I are and I am extremely thankful for the experience we all got to share. Now we need to start saving up for the next trip!

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:                 Baking In A Tornado                                   The Momisodes               Spatulas on Parade         Stacy Sews and Schools                              Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                 Climaxed                Someone Else’s Genius            The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                     Confessions of a part-time working mom               Crumpets and Bollocks                        Sparkly Poetic Weirdo  


  1. What a great offing idea and as a multicultural kid who traveled loads as a child and now tried to make it back to laces when I can afford it with the family, I really enjoyed your secret subject. (And bizarrely am in Malaysia on holiday right now!)

  2. What an amazing opportunity for you and your family.
    I've traveled quite extensively myself and I completely agree with you, it's such a joy to see someplace through the eyes of those who haven't been there before.

  3. What an amazing experience and to spend it with your family-even more awesome. And that Sunday dinner looks divine!

    Definitely see why you are thankful for that experience and memories made :-)

  4. Thank you for sharing your trip with us, along with the whole back story on your youth. Glad you got to see so many friends and family members!
    The look on your kids' faces is priceless. There aren't many surprises in life like a trip to Europe :-)

  5. So glad you got to take that trip!!
    I still have never taken any of my kids to my hometown. We just never seem to have the time.

  6. Yum! What a wonderful visit. I miss England...may be time to go back, thanks for the memories!

  7. So fun! I'm glad you were able to make it back and your family could join you. :)

  8. G'day! Great post that brightened my day via Spatulas On Parade!
    Cheers! Joanne @What's On The List

  9. What an awesome experience for your family! I'm so happy you got to have this. This was an excellent prompt for you.

  10. what a great tirp and adventure...beautiful memories.

  11. wow...what a beautiful trip and amazing memories. The pictures alone tell such a wonderful story.