My son, K, had been travelling with us (mom and dad) since he turned 1 year old December, 2004. His first trip was to the Philippines to visit my family, and I knew then that he will be a Grade A traveler– what with an almost 24-hr flight in between three plane transfers from Boston to New York to South Korea and finally to the Philippines. No melt-downs, no fussing… just babbling happily all the way to the Tropics! His second trip was to Aruba that same year and of course that was a breeze! The older he got, the more things we have to pack for him. From just diapers, milk bottles, Mimi (his beloved teddy bear) and baby toys and books, our carry-on luggages now included a DVD, coloring books and games; and when we traveled last year (Spring and Summer 2013), as an 8 year old, an iPod and iPad was included in the things he had packed in his own backpack! Necessities, that’s what we call them, to keep him busy and entertained! And yes, he is still packing Mimi with an additional stuffed animal now, a cat named Tabby.
Before Aruba, August 2013, we surprised him with a trip to England last April 2013 and he reciprocated with so much wonderment and enthusiasm–after all, we have been taking him to museums around Boston, MA in order for him to get the hang of it all. On our first day there, we let him run around Parliament Square taking pictures with his iPod, eyes wide open in amazement of the Big Ben, the Parliament and Westminster Abbey, yelling at the top of his voice “I can’t believe I am here… this is awesome!”
Words cannot describe my feelings that day, and I know my husband felt the same way… that day VALIDATED our love for travel.
Although it was a great day for us, we soon learned about the Boston Marathon bombing as it was all over the news on TV. We had to call my husband’s police department to check on his two coworkers (brothers) who were running that day and thank God they were okay (they had just crossed the finish line a few minutes before the explosions happened and their families watched them from another area far away from the finish line). It was so sad to watch TV that whole week and to read the newspapers– a lot of prayers and tears shed for the lost lives and the injured. The folks at London Elizabeth Hotel and the pubs were we dined, upon learning that we are from Boston, were so sympathetic and so nice. It was so touching!
On our second day, we took a trip to Wiltshire as K wanted to see Stonehenge. It was really fun to watch him read and learned about the mystery of Stonehenge.
On our third day, our London Discovery trip was cancelled and rescheduled for Thursday due to PM Magaret Tatcher’s funeral and there were also security concerns, so we decided to visit Kensington Gardens, downtown and Trafalgar Square. (A little side story– the last time me and my husband were in England, 2004, I was a few days pregnant with K and after a day spent walking thru Picadilly Circus, I spotted and we thought we are going to lose him. Somebody at the hotel told us about this baby boy sculpture in front of a church in Trafalgar Square. We went and visited that sculpture praying that this might help. Not that we are superstitious– K was born December that year!) So with K this time around, we visited that baby boy sculpture and told him the significance of it.
(Added info: The sculpture is in front of St. Martin in the Fields church. It is of a new born baby emerging from the stone. It is made by Mike Chapman and bears the inscription “In the beginning was the word and the word became flesh and lived among us. St. John 1:14”.)
Thursday was our London Discovery Tour. On K’s list was to visit Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Tower, a Thames River cruise and The Eye ride… all done in one day! He enjoyed it so much that he even gave his own money to tip our tour guide!
He even gained new friends from Denmark!
At the end of that day, we chance upon a carousel and K, of course, had to go on it because that is one of his favorite things to do (growing up in the Salem Willows neighborhood!). It was the best £2 we spent that day!
En route to Boston, we were warned about the happenings in the city and that night as soon as we got home, they caught the youngest suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. As President Obama said “they picked the wrong city to terrorize!”
HOME SWEET HOME!