Question for you: Describe a memorable vacation and the impression it has given you in life.
Our son Oliver joined the Peace Corps and headed to South Africa in 2007. Within months of his departure David and I decided we would visit him with a plan of going in August of 2009. Our thought was that we'd travel around for a couple of weeks and Oliver would our tour guide.
Shortly after Oliver left for his service I was downsized from my job. It was a change I had prepared for and even welcomed as I had been working on building my own business. Then, far less expected and more challenging, David's job was lost a year later. Throughout these losses we kept to our decision to go see Oliver even though it would dip into our savings significantly.
With two full-time jobs gone David and I began to hold almost weekly meetings about the state of our expenses, reviewing assets and debts and cutting all that we could. We opened up our thoughts and dreams to what we wanted to do going forward in our lives. Our daughter Alex seemed established and so we envisioned our lives for the future as empty nesters.
David started back to school to get his Masters in special education and I took a part-time job while I continued to build my business. David was able to secure freelance editing work to help fill in our budget needs and as it turned out he loves the work.
Our plans were in place and the tickets purchased for a trip the trip. Shortly before we left, Oliver called to announce that he had proposed to a young woman he had been seeing named Rachel. All of the sudden our visit took on new meaning as we were to meet a new member of the family. While in South Africa we attended the Labola which is a traditional engagement event.
It was an incredible trip with an array of experiences we had never imagined. Not only are there memories that will stay with us forever, we also gained a new daughter and shared experience with her. We have a better understanding of her life before she came to live with us and can connect with people and places she speaks about because we've seen them first hand.
Now as we complete 2010, the trip and everything that occurred within and around it has made us learn to appreciate the moment we're in and accept the changes in life that are inevitable. Do we regret the trip or the diminished bank account? Nope.
This episode is an interview with our Oliver and Rachel. Oliver speaks of his Peace Corps experience in South Africa and Rachel talks about cooking and food culture in her village. It is kind of strange "interviewing" family because we probably got a bit too casual in our conversation but it is an inside look at one person's family.