By Nicole Brewer
In just under a week the ultimate summer vacation starts for me. I’m so pumped to escape Oman during these summer Ramadan temperatures and to trot to the Maldives for the first time this July. From there I will return to the USA after almost two years abroad! Yes, you read that right. It’s been almost two years since I’ve seen my family on my last trots to Atlanta, Detroit, and Chicago.
I’ve been enjoying this expat lifestyle so much — from teaching in Oman to studying abroad and researching in Germany and South Africa. Nevertheless, it gets difficult being away from my family and friends for this length of time. I’ve had some major ups and downs over the past year and totally feel like I’m breaking free to a piece of serenity in heading home soon.
While there is much to do and see in Detroit (especially for an architecture fan like myself who grew up wanting to design buildings) I’ve opted to not head back to Michigan during this summer break. It was a tough choice considering I still have family and friends there, but I’m really looking forward to making it back to Atlanta where my mom, sisters, niece and nephews are currently living. I need to spend most of my time getting some immediate family time since it is long overdue.
It’s always difficult as an expat to decide how to divvy up my precious time when I do make it back stateside. Especially when I attempt to go back to my hometown with large numbers of family and friends scattered about, some of which I haven’t spoken to in some time. I’ve made the choice to head back to the city that was home before trotting abroad, which was Chicago.
I love the Windy City and have a good amount of really great friends from school who are still based there. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty tough choice to head to Chicago instead of Detroit, but Chicago was really the last place that felt like home to me before moving abroad. I now know more great locales, activities, and of course restaurants in Chicago than I do in Detroit. I’ve been counting down until the time I get to eat at Harold’s Chicken, Chicago style pizzerias like Unos/Giordano’s and my favorite, Heaven on Seven. Mmm mmm. I can’t wait to be in the foodie heaven that is Chicago, indeed. So, from August 4-9 I will be staying in Chicago at a friend’s house and meeting up with any and all other friends that I can, including those who are willing to trot in from Detroit.
Once I return back to Atlanta with the family, I plan to enjoy those last few weeks of summer vacation by going to concerts, enjoying family time and possibly enjoying short weekend escapes to places around Georgia like Savannah and the Blue Ridge mountains. I would love to get in a weekend visit to a city I’ve never visited before. Time will tell what I’ll see, but I’m just excited to finally have some time with my family.
**Disclaimer: this article contains a link to a Hipmunk blog post in correspondence to the Hipmunk blog linking program.**