Good To Be Back Home

Things have been pretty quiet around here, but it's good to be back online.  :-)

I was visiting my family in Canada for the month of June. It felt good to be back home. I hadn't seen them for a few years. When the flights were booked, three weeks seemed more than enough, but in reality, I could have stayed a week longer.

The Trip

The trip was long with three kids under the age of six. To make things as simple as possible, I had packed one luggage for five people. My 13-year-old niece came along to help out, and of course, to practise her English.

We drove the night before to Berlin and stayed overnight at a hotel not far from the Tegel airport. My husband dropped us off at the airport, and we caught our first flight at 9 in the morning. I was initially worried that the kids would complain about ear pressure during take off, but they handled it better than I expected. Maybe this trip wasn't going to be as stressful as I had thought.

When we arrived in Amsterdam, we only had and hour to do a quick passport check and find our gate (luckily, we didn't have to pick up our luggage). We got there early and waited awhile to board. The kids were in a good mood, and again, I thought maybe this trip wasn't going to be stressful, after all. We cheerfully boarded the next flight, took our seats, and waited for take-off.

Our second flight was to Chicago, but looking back I wish it was a direct flight to Detroit. My two older ones hardly got any sleep during the almost 10 hour flight. They dosed off towards the end and it was difficult trying to wake them up after we had landed. The poor little fellows were so tired and cranky, that I felt so guilty for waking them up. Luckily, my youngest had slept three hours and wasn't so irritable like his brothers.

This was where the hustle and bustle started. We had to go through customs, pick up our luggage and check it in again, go through security, and find our gate. To make matters worse, I ended up mixing up the gates, so we ran from one end of the terminal to the other, only to realize that it was the wrong flight. By then, the other flight we were supposed to be on had already left. A feeling of emptiness came over me.

I called my husband to let him know. He checked online and told me that the flight to Detroit had be delayed. I looked at the clock and we had 40 minutes to get there. God must have heard my silent prayer. Tired, sleepy and achy, we rushed back to the gate. They had just started boarding. I was thankful we hadn't missed the flight.

When I look back, I don't know how I got confused about the gates. I guess when you are beyond exhaustion, mistakes are can easily happen. God must have heard my prayers, though, each time I asked Him to give us strength.

I was happy to see my dad when we arrived in Detroit. Once we got into into the car, it didn't matter how long it took to cross the border to get into Windsor. I was happy to be finally home.

The Fun Begins

It took about a week to get used to the 6 hour time change. The kids were getting up early in the morning (before 5 am), but by the end of the week they were sleeping in till 8 or 8:30 am. Thank goodness. :-)

Once we overcame the jet lag, it was time to go shopping for my niece and the boys. My niece needed some new clothes for school, and I found some cute outfits for the boys to wear next year (they have enough for this year). I, on the other hand, didn't buy any clothes for myself. Instead, I stocked up on hard to find items in Germany.

Hard To Find Ingredients

I love Red Velvet Cake, so I bought a whole bunch of red food colouring (the German version is very weak), a container of double-acting baking powder (the German one is single-acting), and instant/rapid-rise yeast (I have yet to see it in German grocery stores). I do a lot of recipe testing, so these ingredients will come in handy when comparing results between German and North American ingredients.

Laura Calder

It was seldom that I had time for myself during the trip, but I was lucky enough to spend an hour alone at the bookstore. I didn't have time to spare, so I headed directly to the cookbooks section. I browsed through a dozen books, before being smitten by Laura Calder's French Taste. I fell in love with the simplicity of her recipes. I immediately knew this was the only cookbook that I was taking home with me. :-)

Pizzelle Maker

I grew up eating pizzelle, and ever since I moved to Germany, I have been wanting my own pizzelle maker. I purchased one at an Italian Delicatessen just around the corner from my parents' house. All I need now is an adaptor and a good recipe. :-)

Heirloom Pieces

Some of the other things that I brought back have more of a sentimental value to them. They are heirloom kitchen pieces that my mom and grandmothers used to use. They had been lying around the house untouched for so many years. I wanted to take a few things before they ended up in the garbage or donated to the second hand store.

One thing I realized is that my mom used to be a pack-rat for kitchen gadgets. I have inherited her genes. I have so many baking pans, wooden spoons, collector antique items, etc, that I need to organize my pantry again, and probably purge things I don't need (but that's a different post).

New Recipes from Dad

Everytime I make a trip back home, I always learn new dishes from my dad. Ever since my mom had her stroke eight years ago, dad has been doing all the cooking. His cooking reminds me a lot of nonna Rosa's (his mom). The food is always simple and delicious.

Niagara Falls and Toronto

During our second week in Canada, we made a trip to Niagara Falls. This was my gift to my niece. She had been wanting to visit The Falls for a long time, and I was more than happy to take her there. :-)

We left early in the morning and got there by noon. We had lunch and then went for a long walk along the The Falls. The afternoon was hot and muggy, so we decided to cool off in the souvenir shop. We bought some expensive souvenirs that didn't last long, and by late afternoon, we headed back to the car to make our way to Toronto. We were staying overnight at my cousin's.

As soon as I walked into my cousin's apartment, the first thing I said was that her home smelled like nonna's house. She seemed pleased to hear that. I wondered if my home smelled like nonna's, too.

My cousin showed us around. I think my favourite place in her house was her kitchen. It was small but cozy. I enjoyed standing there with a cup of coffee and chit chatting with my favourite cousin.

The kids fell in love with her six-year-old pug, Mojo. He was the sweetest dog ever.

It was great catching up with my cousin. I felt sad, though, that we weren't staying longer. We left the next afternoon back to Windsor.

The rest of the trip was quiet, except for an evening that I had gone out with a friend. That night I had the best filet mignon steak that I had ever eaten (I was in the I-deserve-it phase), along with an espresso martini.

Before I knew it, it was time to head back home.

Heading Home

The flight back home wasn't as stressful as the previous trip. We only had two flights rather than three, and the connecting flight was in Europe. It felt good to see the family when we arrived in Berlin. It was good to be home, even though I could have stayed another week at my parents'.





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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).