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View Full Version : I survived another "vacation" with my family... now I'm exhausted



RockinLou
August 3rd, 2016, 04:54 PM
I'm the oddball out in my family, I live in Kazakhstan most of the year, and keep a home in Atlanta, which we've owned for over 10 years now. It is a small and cozy townhome, perfect for our life choices. Except my entire family lives in NJ and CT.

For ten years I've been travelling to them, kids and all. This summer I was supposed to be on a flexible, longer term road trip, which got cancelled when DH had a heart attack. He was not supposed to travel. My parents were going to come to me but my grandmother is in hospice care, and my Dad didn't feel he could leave her. So, I agreed to take the kids to him.

That, of course, meant I need to take the kids to my sisters. So, last Tuesday we left ATL on an 8pm train, which got delayed when a woman went into labor and they had to have her removed in Wilmington, got into NJ 18 hours later (Wednesday afternoon) and on Thursday morning we drove to see my grandmother, then to CT. Add in 4 1/2 hours in the car for all that. Friday was to my other sister's house and back (plus 2 1/2 more hours round trip) and on Saturday we actually did NOT get in the car... AT ALL!! on Sunday we drove back to NJ (plus 3 hours this time, even though my crazy sister must drive 150 mph and never hit traffic at the Tappanzee because she claims it takes 2 hours) then on Monday it was cold and rainy so we cancelled the trip to the beach (which would have added another 3 hours in the car, round trip) and yesterday we left Newark again for another 17 hour train ride home.

I needed to lay this all out to a neutral audience and say... isn't that a LOT of time in transit in ONE WEEK???

We took the train because plans were changed so many times this summer, and it was cost prohibitive to fly. Even if we had flown, it's still a LOT of transit in a week.

Oh, and for bonus points, we leave for Kazakhstan in 6 days.

I told my parents this week that my daughter will be making her First Communion next summer and that we would like to have them come and visit us for that special event. I don't think we will go to NJ next year.

My sisters, and their children, have never even offered to come here, despite the many invites I extend every time I see them. I know my kids love their cousins, but I don't think I can continue to do this annually..... I'm going to go take a nap!!!!

Lori63
August 3rd, 2016, 05:16 PM
Wow! I don't blame you. I think I would be a little frustrated too with them not coming to see you.

jjkaiser
August 3rd, 2016, 05:17 PM
Oh jeez I am exhausted just reading this! You are definitely off the hook for next year, and if your family wines about your not coming just tell them you can't afford it and it is their turn to make the trek to see you. And don't feel guilty about it! Sometimes when you do things repeatedly other people begin to look at it as "your job" and get their undies in a bundle when you want to have them take responsibility for some of these things. I have a friend in a similar position who always planned the annual huge family reunion every year and next year she doesn't want to have to do all the planning and scheduling etc and her family is up in arms about it because she has "always" done it.

Sandy Navas
August 3rd, 2016, 05:19 PM
First - I hadn't heard about your husband - so hope all is well.

I'd come 'home' and settle and extend an invitation to anyone whom I would like to see and send them a list of B&Bs or motels close by . . . having lived as an expat for over 20+ years I can say that we didn't miss them much when they didn't show up either.

Judy, USMC
August 3rd, 2016, 05:21 PM
I'm on the road all the time ... but I go from point A to point B so I travel to a destination. Your travelling made me dizzy! Yes, I agree, that's a lot of back & forth.

I would enjoy a train trip. At least you can get some rest without worrying about traffic. But then again children have the tendency to get bored whether in a car or on a train or plane.

Sorry I must have missed the news about your husband ... hope all is well.
Safe travel to you & yours.

K. McEuen
August 3rd, 2016, 05:24 PM
I hear you on all the extra traveling. When I got to Texas, I usually stay with my oldest sister because she has plenty of room. SO my brother and other sister will say "You should come over." They both live within 60 miles of my oldest sister. I tell them "I just drove 650 miles, if you want to see me, you can drive over here!"

RockinLou
August 3rd, 2016, 05:25 PM
Thanks all - DH has an excellent prognosis and medicines he needs to stay on, his recuperation has gone well!

I don't think I'll be going there next year..... I just can't go through it all every single year...

RockinLou
August 3rd, 2016, 05:27 PM
I hear you on all the extra traveling. When I got to Texas, I usually stay with my oldest sister because she has plenty of room. SO my brother and other sister will say "You should come over." They both live within 60 miles of my oldest sister. I tell them "I just drove 650 miles, if you want to see me, you can drive over here!"

I tried that after travelling 6,000 miles last year and only went to NJ, not CT... and one of my sisters didn't come because her kid had a soccer game.... this year the pressure was on from my mom to have all 10 grandkids together for a photo shoot... then she drank herself silly and left the party early.... but that's a whole other can of CRAZY ..... bottom line... NOT WORTH IT

bubba
August 3rd, 2016, 05:41 PM
My parents are both from South Dakota. The majority of our relatives live there. Every summer, my loaded up herself and the five of us girls and we rode the train there, with me puking the entire way. I dreaded the summers. Once, my moms twin brother brought his family out here, and one of her sisters brought her kids out here, but those were the only times anyone, other than the grandparents, visited us.

When we were first married, we lived in Okinawa for a year, and I did not expect anyone to visit us there. We were then station in California and I can count on one hand the number of people who visited us in the four and a half years we lived there. We drove up every summer, and once we flew in the winter because his mom gave us tickets to do so.

It is not your responsibility to run yourself ragged visiting everyone. If they want to see you, they need to make the effort too.

Cokie
August 3rd, 2016, 06:11 PM
Doesn't feel like much of a vacation, does it? I live in Ohio and all of my family is in the western part of the US. Even flying, with layovers and the driving from the airports, it's a long day, and that's just me traveling alone. I have lived in Ohio for 33 years and each of my brothers has been to see me once. One came with my parents when my DH was in ICU and my oldest son was 2 years old, and the other was visiting a friend in the Air Force in Dayton and drove up and "surprised" me for a couple of hours. My parents aren't able to travel any more and haven't for probably about 10 years, but they used to come about once a year. Mom worked in a school and had summers, and Dad owned his own business, so he and his partner just worked out their vacations, so it wasn't difficult for them to take a few weeks off at a time. I work full time and it's tough to schedule those vacations to go visit people who don't come to see me...and sometimes it would be nice to have a real vacation with no obligations to keep anyone else happy!

Sorry, RockinLou - I didn't mean to hijack your thread, but it hit a sore spot with me too and I can understand a bit of where you're coming from. I wish your husband a continued good recovery, and I hope your trip back overseas will be smooth and uneventful!

MaryUK
August 3rd, 2016, 06:24 PM
Oh wow! I can't even imagine traveling so far. Your country is so vast whilst the UK seems so small in comparison!! I agree with all the other comments - just because you've done it for the last 10 years doesn't mean you have to do it for the next 10!

Every year I used to hold a family get together the week before Christmas but after 8 years I had enough and told them they should take turns. Despite each of my five brothers having a go at me during the year I stuck to my guns and guess what - they are still waiting for me to hold the party 20 years later!!

Hulamoon
August 3rd, 2016, 06:25 PM
Oh my that sounds like a burden on you. I wouldn't do it again either. Your mom got the family picture, so maybe things will change the next time around. If everyone wants to see you I think it's their turn, especially when you come so far.

Glad DH is feeling better:)

KarenC
August 3rd, 2016, 07:16 PM
Glad DH is doing better.

As for the traveling, do not feel guilty. You will also notice that your children won't want to be in a vehicle, train or other mode of transportation that much either. While I only moved 300 miles away from my family, I still hear the comments occasionally when we're not there. (Yep, even after 34 years) I remember years ago, I finally made the comment that Interstate 10 went from New Orleans to Houston the same way that it goes from Houston to New Orleans. I think they finally understood it then. I would especially here it at Christmas time, but my husband and I decided to spend Christmas with our kids where they could enjoy their gifts from Santa at home.

Now my children are gone. One lives near me in TX (within an hour), the other is in OR. We all just understand that this is how it works.

Hang in there and give yourself a break.

Snip Snip
August 3rd, 2016, 09:05 PM
I agree with the other posters. Don't keep doing that to yourself. Maybe the family members have a bit of an attitude since you are the one that left them, you need to be the one to "come back home."
And you know, some people just don't travel well. I have siblings in Nashville and Eugene OR, and we rarely see each other. I hate to drive, I hate to fly, and I can't walk that far.

TMP
August 3rd, 2016, 09:15 PM
Oh my goodness what a week. Its not easy traveling with kids especially all of that in one week. I hope your husband gets better soon. Was he with you on this trip? How stressful for him if he was. Our families only came to see us when we lived near the beach in Florida and NC. No one ever comes to Alabama.

Neller
August 3rd, 2016, 09:23 PM
Bless your Heart! That is a lot of travelling! When we lived in Alaska, we would travel to Portland where both sets of parents lived. It was such a hassle! Even though they lived in the same town, my parents didn't socialize with my in-laws, and vice versa. We had to practically divide our time to the minute to see both families equally. One time, after a particularly unpleasant scene with my MIL, who was mad that we went to visit friends instead of them, we decided that enough is enough. We didn't go to Portland for the next five years and instead took the kids to Disney World a couple of times, It was much more relaxing! The roads, the rails, and the airways all go both directions. Do what is best for you!

BTW, if you don't mind my asking, what do you do in Khaz? My best friend was a nurse practitioner at the American embassy there a few years back. She liked it, except for the cold winters, but her next posting was Iraq and she finally found a place that was TOO hot for her!

Ginny B
August 3rd, 2016, 10:31 PM
Holy Cow! That's a lot of travlin'. You need a vacation from your vacation. Yes, I would rethink all that mileage next year for sure. The trains, planes and roads run both ways.

RockinLou
August 3rd, 2016, 11:21 PM
Oh my goodness what a week. Its not easy traveling with kids especially all of that in one week. I hope your husband gets better soon. Was he with you on this trip? How stressful for him if he was. Our families only came to see us when we lived near the beach in Florida and NC. No one ever comes to Alabama.

I should just visit you in Alabama, that would be easier!!

My husband was not on the trip!! We were supposed to vacation together on a completely different schedule, that was all upended when he was told not to travel this summer.

RockinLou
August 3rd, 2016, 11:24 PM
BTW, if you don't mind my asking, what do you do in Khaz? My best friend was a nurse practitioner at the American embassy there a few years back. She liked it, except for the cold winters, but her next posting was Iraq and she finally found a place that was TOO hot for her!

My husband and I teach at an international school in Almaty. The climate is much nicer in Almaty than in the capital, Astana. We definitely get winter though!!

Bubby
August 4th, 2016, 06:49 AM
What a nightmare of a break for you. I think I'm carsick just reading about it. Your family needs to make a reciprocal effort. I was in a similar position even though our family was much smaller, but it's craziness just the same. I hope you can rest up before you have to leave the country....(((HUGS))). Glad to hear your Hubby is doing well.

Iris Girl
August 4th, 2016, 07:50 AM
Hoping hubby is doing well. Way too much traveling. My sister in law convinced her and hubbys Mom and step dad to move to Florida. He passed down there and we were not financially able to make the trek or get time off for the funeral..and no one offered us the fare or a place to stay. Same thing happened when his mom passed. The sister in law got the lions share of the big estate and we were not given fare or a place to stay so stayed home. His sister has made one trip up here since which is about 10 years and if we ever see her again it will be too soon. Some family is just not worth it.

Monique
August 4th, 2016, 09:32 AM
I am tired just hearing about all the travelling. I agree with the comments here, take a year off, at least. They know where you live, if they REALLY want to visit. Or just stay in your home and never let on you are there. LOL!!

bakermom
August 4th, 2016, 12:48 PM
you've done your duty. While I can understand not wanting(or being able) to travel overseas, you spend time in Atlanta. No excuse for not traveling to see you there. If you return to the States next year, extend the invitation and let the chips fall where they may. Personally , I wouldn't put myself thru it.

RockinLou
August 6th, 2016, 10:03 AM
I am tired just hearing about all the travelling. I agree with the comments here, take a year off, at least. They know where you live, if they REALLY want to visit. Or just stay in your home and never let on you are there. LOL!!

Tempting!!

Our home in ATL is a tiny townhouse, plus one adult we can handle, plus two will be tight for more than 2 or 3 days.... We will not be traveling to CT or NJ next summer.

The let them come to us theory backfires with my MIL though, as she then guilts DH into paying for her ticket, and makes us both miserable the entire time. This summer she was unforgivably rude to me while DH was in the hospital. I told DH that next summer if he feels obliged to see her, he can take the kids up to her for a visit, I'll have time home alone!!

I've had a challenging summer on a lot of levels, I really just wanted to relax with my family...and that hasn't happened much. All this stress and chaos aside, I am glad that I got to go see my grandmother, and say my goodbyes to her.

rebeccas-sewing
August 6th, 2016, 11:46 PM
I can relate. I moved from the east coast in 1986. Many years were spent flying to the east coast to visit friends and family. Not fun at all to do all that traveling. We're still doing it but just not as often. In fact, Joe is headed there this week. We'll spend Christmas there as well. So he'll have two trips back east this year.

GemmaP73
November 15th, 2016, 02:44 AM
Hello Rockin Lou,

Are you still in Almaty now? We moved here a few months ago from the UK. Would be nice to be in touch with another expat who sewed.