Friday, August 25, 2017

August 24 – The Trip is Over - Back in Canada for Stella’s Birthday!

We arrived home at 1 in the morning on August 24 – Stella’s 11th birthday! As we were in the van driving back from the Toronto airport, the clock flipped from 11:59 to 12:00 and we sang Happy Birthday to her. She then asked if I could make her a peanut butter toast when we got home, which I happily agreed to since I was planning on making one for myself anyway. Yes, this is one thing we all missed.

So that brings us to the end of the trip. Within a day we will be back at work, adopting our previous schedule, and everything will be back to “normal”. But we have definitely brought some new ideas back home with us, not to mention a whole lot of great memories of the places we visited, people we met, and the fantastic time we spent with the Henrique family. It was an extraordinary trip, through and through, and once again, we were so impressed with the people of SE Asia – their resilience, their sunny dispositions, their work ethic and their legendary hospitality. In all, we visited two countries we had visited previously (Thailand and Cambodia) and two that were completely new to us (Vietnam and Philippines). After our two extended trips to SE Asia we have now covered a great deal in this region. The gaps that remain for us are the island of Borneo, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and, of course, a more thorough exploration of the Philippines. Is a third extended trip to SE Asia in the cards for the Olson family? As much as I would love this, I think it will be difficult, as the kids are on the verge of “young adulthood” and taking them away for an entire summer again at that age will probably not be realistic. But, as I have learned so many times in the past, you never know what may happen.

I have really enjoyed having the time to write during this trip. I had considered the possibility of starting work on a larger writing project during this time, but I found I barely had time to keep up with the daily journal, as we kept a pretty full schedule throughout. Now that we are home I am going to review all of these journals from start to finish and do a proper job of editing them and also adding photos. In the end I will produce a nicely formatted document with loads of pictures to complement the stories. This will be my greatest memento from the trip, and one that I know I will refer back to frequently in future years – especially during cold days in February.

Even though the big trip is now over, we are already thinking and planning for our next two trips, in line with our family policy of always having two in the pipeline!

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