Since it’s Thursday, allow me to “throwback” with you the 3-week long “field trip” I went on with my three boys Zaq, Ben, and Achi in 2011.
To celebrate Zaq’s grade school graduation, our family decided to go on a vacation to the United States in the summer of 2011. Prior to purchasing our tickets, my husband said he would not be able to leave his work for a long period of time. But since the trip has been planned and the kids were excited, he told me to go through with it. Yes, just me and 3 kids aged 12 and 10 years old, and 15 months. Kidding, right? I seriously did not know why I agreed to do it. Until now. Really.
The day of our flight, we had to go back to the house 3 times because I keep forgetting something. Was this a foreboding perhaps? In the airport, even before we entered the main gate, I was crying, like I was migrating to another country and never coming back. Then I saw my kids, and reined it all in and I thought to myself – I can do this.
We were flying Emirates, and I thought, why not stay over in Dubai? And so we did. We stayed 4 days at Hotel Rotana just off the main highway near Dubai Mall. What amazed me about Dubai is the sheer amount of Filipinos working there. Literally, everywhere we went, there was a kababayan always ready to help.
After Dubai, next on our trip is New York. I love New York! I’ve been there once before in 2008 and I love and hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately, all 4 of us got some sort of stomach virus by the time we got off the plane from Dubai. Zaq even vomitted inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We stayed 4 days at the Hilton Garden Inn off 8th Avenue. Broadway /Times Square was just at the next corner, 7th Ave, Madison was 6th, then the famous 5th Ave.
Moments after this was taken, Zaq threw up near the entrance of St. Patrick’s
Top of the Rock
From New York, we stayed at a relative’s house in New Jersey for a couple of days. Then we drove to the USA’s capital, Washington DC. We stayed 3 days at a Best Western Inn outside of the city. We would take a shuttle from the hotel to Union Station then take a train from there. We spent a day exploring the museums – Air and Space, Museum of Natural History, Museum of American History; walked through the National Mall (I was looking for a mall, literally). We also took a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour which allowed us to see almost all of the memorials in the area.
Great architectural details at the subway
National Air and Space Museum
National Museum of Natural History
At the Hop On Hop Off Bus
World War II Memorial
Next on our itinerary was the highlight of our trip, Orlando Florida! We spent 8 days at Disney’s Pop Resort inside Walt Disney World Resort. For 6 days we went to the four theme parks inside the resort – Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We would wake up at 9am, get on the shuttle for the parks by 11am, then come back at 1am. The good thing about staying at a hotel inside Disney resort is the free shuttle ride that takes you to and from the airport, and takes you to all of the parks. Hotel guests also have the privilege to stay inside the parks after hours, when they are closed to the rest of the public. So what we would do, once one park closes, we would go to the next one that’s open. We also went to Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure. I would have loved to go to the Kennedy Space Centre but there was no time.
Disney’s Pop Resort
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure
We stayed in New Jersey for several days before flying back home.
Drove to the airport for 5 hours from South New Jersey to JFK. There was an incident at the airport when I had to return the rental, but that’s for another entry. Pardon my double chin.
My passengers and our 8 luggages. Kuya was riding shotgun.
And when I thought I can finally go home and rest, our flight was delayed for 5 hours in Dubai, which made it a 7-hour layover.
Ben was not happy.
To say that the trip was unforgettable is an understatement. It tested the limits of my sanity. Achi, who was 15 months then, was hardly walking. By the time we got back home, I wasn’t able to move my left arm for a month. Getting ready for the 4 of us would take a minimum of 2 hours. We even had an encounter with 911 paramedics while in Orlando. And as is the norm for young boys, they get into fights, a lot. Many times I caught myself pulling my hair and losing my temper. Would I do it again? Absolutely! I am very thankful for the opportunity to with be my kids. The time I spent bonding with my boys is priceless, especially now that they are in their teens. It makes my heart so happy to see these photos and remember how much fun we had. It was a life changing moment for us, I think. The big boys had to grow up a little bit, to step in for their dad. They helped me take care of Achi (notice them carrying the baby bag?), helped me with our luggages and all our stuff (by the time we got home we had 8 checked-in luggages and 6 carry-ons), and listened to and obeyed me (most of the time). And I managed not to lose a kid in Disney World.
I had the bestest time. And will gladly do it again in a heartbeat.