A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have started following other people's blogs; people who write about crafts, their lives, photography and food.
One lady I follow, who lives in Australia - www.fatmumslim.com.au posts a list each month of photos to take each day in that month and post to instagram or facebook using a hash tag to follow everyone's pictures.
It's fun to see everyone's take on the subject and makes you see every day objects in a new light.

If you don't have Instagram on your smart phone or iPad you can view my instagram pics here: http://instagrid.me/rharp_legalalien/

July is there first month I have joined in with the fun and here are my photos:

1. Self portrait: Me and my boy
2. Busy: exercising at Stroller strides
3. Best part of the day: lunchtime - an excuse to stop and sit down! 

4. Fun: bucket of fun from the parade! 
5. On the floor: this is what we saw when we opened the door of our rental car in Vancouver. 
A convertible mustang! Sweet! 
6. Chair: an open chair lift ride up the mountains in Whistler
7. Garden: rooftop gardens in Vancouver

8. Lunch: a salmon burger on our bike tour of Stanley Park in Vancouver
9. Big: need I say more?!
10. My favourite colour - multicolour! 
11. Letter - C. For cafe and coffee and children and chilled. 
And my daughter's initial. C. One of my favourite letters. 

12. Texture: fluffy ' bear rabbit'
13. Open - I love that my kids have so much open space to run round in outside our house
14: Building - the roof of our local farmers' market - this place is good for your soul! 
15: Finger - many fingers make light work. 
Granny helping Toby at his art class (the only photo not taken on the day)

16. Sign: Toby's bedroom door
17. Your (new) addiction: Coffee - of the decaff skinny latte variety
18. Plate - Here is 'one I made earlier'
19. Animal - The cow on the carton (though Toby is a cheeky monkey sometimes!)

20. Eyes - My daughter's but they look exactly like mine! 
21. 9 o'clock - I was out running and did 10 miles!
22. Upside down - keyring
23. Mirror - in our bathroom

24. A stranger - staff in the local supermarket D&W 
25. Heart - Bread and jam - Yum! 
26. Sunshine 
27. On the road - it's finally raining in Kalamazoo! 

28. Cup - for our Olympics party
29: Last thing you bought - my Canon Rebel T3i 
30: Calm - quiet time in front of a movie. Sad to say goodbye to our recent house guests
31: Toothbrush - his and hers

That's was fun... Think I will do it again in August! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

bob saves the porcupines

I was watching Toby's new Bob the Builder DVD the other day and one of the episodes was titled "Bob saves the porcupines". I had to laugh! It has been translated from English into 'American' so Bob suddenly has a pretty dodgy accent! :) And of course the episode was originally hedgehogs but I realised they don't have hedgehogs here so kids would not have a clue what the brown spiky things crossing the road in front of Roly were!

At the house here, in addition to worrying about mice (one built a nest in Jeremy's car whilst we were on home leave and he only realised when he could smell burning under the bonnet!) we have chipmunks and moles to contend with. The front yard is littered with mole holes and the chipmunks cause chaos, tunnelling under the concrete driveway, digging in my plant pots and chewing anything they can get their teeth into in the garage.
I thought they were really cute and was excited to see them when we first arrived but now that I have soil all over the decking and my plants are suffering, I am not such a fan and understand why the neighbour puts out traps for them.

We also struggle with ants - big fat ones that find their way into the house. We found dozens of them in the food pantry and had to get a pest control company out twice to deal with them. The houses are made with a timber frame so apart from the fact it's horrible having ants crawling all over the counter, goodness knows what damage they could do to the house!

Ticks are a big problem. Our yard is lined with trees and there is a big park at the back. Both kids have been bitten by ticks. They turn your stomach when you have to get a tight hold of them with tweezers and pull them off! They are strong little 'bugs'! The advice is to keep them in a plastic bag to show the doctor if the child becomes sick (with lyme disease). Nice!

The biggest disappointment for me after we moved here was the mosquitoes. I had a vision of warm summer evenings sat out on the deck, drinking wine and reading a good book. But last year the mosquitoes put pay to that plan. Right around 5pm they would start coming out and biting. By bed time I could have been bitten a dozen times and man do I react badly to them... I come out in huge red bites - just one bite can cause my whole forearm to swell up and I itch for days. So this year we decided to get a company to come and spray the front and back yard to get rid of the mosquitoes and ticks. I wasn't sure if it was working (as I had forgotten how bad they were last year) until we went over the road and I got bitten 6 times on my bottom in only 5 minutes!! Dollars well spent with the mosquito squad I think!!

Toby was delighted yesterday morning, to see a 'bunny rabbit' happily munching away on the grass that lines the path up to our front door. I was not too happy in the evening to discover my first only pepper so far, that had just started to grow in the pot, had been eaten! Chipmunk? Rabbit? Who knows but I am seeing our furry friends in a whole new light!

When driving round Michigan, you have to be on the look out for deer. They can do serious damage to your car and the advice is to hit them head on, because if you try to swerve you will probably end up driving into a tree. I have only had to avoid one so far but I have also had a racoon run out in front of me and plenty of smaller things like chipmunks. Running up and down the local roads, I see plenty of road kill... squirrels, racoons and rabbits. Not exactly pleasant in this heat!!

The other unusual (for us) animal we see or more often hear, are coyotes! They are like big dogs and are apparently more scared of us than we are of them but I do not intend putting that theory to the test! We can hear them howling in the park at the back of the house at night.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I found this huge bug dead in the back yard... A Cicada apparently! Yuk!

And I couldn't quite believe it when I saw a post on our neighbourhood website telling us to leave the traps alone in the ponds round the neighbourhood as critter control were trying to (humanely) capture beavers who were destroying trees round the ponds!

Sometimes it feels like a different world over here!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I saw this 'game' on another blog today - jones design company and thought it was fun.
What am I doing currently?

Loving: That the temperature has dropped and we can finally play outside without the threat of heat exhaustion!

Reading: I am reading a great book (that I heard about on the afore mentioned blog) called 7: A mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker. It is a true story of how she and her family took seven months, identified seven areas of excess and tried to cut back. In things like food, clothing, media and spending. It is very inspirational and I hope to try and follow in some of the areas.

Waiting for: Three sets of visitors to arrive. The first family will be here on Friday afternoon, the next family a week later and then another friend flies in from Australia. Looking forward to a house full of people and lots of fun and laughter!

Excited about: Our trip to Disney Land in a couple of months. I am more excited than the kids!! I have never been before so I don't even know the half of it! Glee!

Missing: My friends and family back in England.

Trying to: Lose weight. Aren't I always?! Well I am trying to make good food choices but I don't always succeed. And I guess making everyone walk to the icecream shop last night doesn't really count!

Working on: Printing out and scrapbooking this blog. I have had to stop as I have to get ready for our visitors but will finish it off in a few weeks! Yay!

Enjoying: Time with the kids before they go to pre-school in September and I am all alone for 2 days a week!

Using: My kitchen aid mixer to make gluten free cakes and bread for Jeremy. He is doing so well with making good food choices and I want to support him as much as possible.

Wearing: My new sparkly Swarovski bracelet that Jeremy bought me for my birthday.

Planning: Christmas! I know how can I possibly think about Christmas in the summer but living as an ex-pat, you have to be thinking ahead all the time.
We have to book our flights as soon as possible, especially if we are going back at Christmas. We want to make sure everyone knows we are coming so we can find time to see them all. And I need to buy small but thoughtful presents that we can fit into our cases. So yep I am thinking about Christmas already! Sigh.

Singing: You've heard me sing right? Well you can understand why Toby is going through a phase of shouting "Stop" and putting his hand up to my face if I try to sing around him! Thanks Tobes!

Learning: I am hoping to buy a new camera so I am trying to figure out what 18-55mm means and T3i vs 5100 etc. Once I get it I will have a whole manual to learn!

Listening: My brother's worship cd. Very calming.

Wishing: We had a decision on our housing. Wishing we could stay where we are for longer.

Doing: Sitting at the table outside, looking at my bright pink flowers, listening to the wind in the trees and typing, whilst my little girl is sat next to me, sucking her thumb and twiddling her pig tails whilst reading her Princess book.

Dreaming of: I wish I could remember. I woke up this morning, remembered my dream, went to tell Jeremy and promptly forgot. I am fascinated by how our brains work!

Well I am going to sign off and read a story to Charlotte - she has brought me her Baby Girl Bible :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

10 miles and counting...

I ran my first 10 miles this last weekend.

And it felt great! Amazing! What an achievement! 10 miles. 16K. Wow!

For a girl who had to walk most of the Manchester 10K back in 2004 and who has had 2 children and has barely exercised in the last 7 or 8 years, never mind run since, I am feeling very proud of myself!

As you know, I started back in Feb with the Borgess 'Run for the Health of it' camp and trained for a 5K. I wanted to keep going over the summer (in the vain hope that I might lose a bit of weight. Sadly not yet. Damn you vanilla lattes! Or maybe I have just put on loads of muscle? Yes that's it! Ha I wish!) and have moved on to half marathon training with the local sports shop - Gazelle and their summer safari program.

So when I say ran, I actually mean jogged. But to me it felt like running! I averaged 13 minute miles which is a lot slower than my training for the 5K (I was averaging 10 to 10.5 minute miles by the end of their 14 week programme) but I am battling against a particularly brutal Michigan summer...

When the sun comes up and is burning brightly in the sky, when the temperature reaches 80oF (25oC) heat and the humidity is up around 80 or 90% by 8am, I have to slow down!

This weekend there was just enough wispy cloud covering the sun and just enough trees along the roadside to give me a break. I was really disappointed the week before because the heat got the better of me and I had to stop for quite a while, halfway through the 9 mile course, to rehydrate and cool down. I only managed 8 miles and walked for at least one of those.

But this weekend was different. I was determined to keep going, I have a great running partner who is very inspirational and runs at a similar pace to me. We talked for pretty much the whole distance, which was great because the first half was pretty much all uphill!

I really struggle psychologically with the long distances. In my head I can tell myself I can do it, it's just one foot in front of the other, I just need to keep going (and believe me I repeat these mantras over and over in my head, in time to my footsteps, especially near the end) but when I start out, after 3 or 4 miles, I just keep thinking about how much is still to go and I start to get defeated and spend far too long thinking things like "maybe I will just do 6 today instead of 8", "maybe I will walk after the next mile", "do I really have to run up this hill on the way back?!", "I am so tired, I can't possibly run for another hour" and so on...

But this time we talked lots and kept each other going. I met her whilst we were literally limping through a 7 mile run just a few weeks ago. We kept passing each other as each of us had to walk to catch our breath and we kept laughing as one of us would ran past the other, that we would see each other again soon.

This weekend, I swear the last mile was actually 2! I know it wasn't because they put markers out at each mile so you know exactly how far you have gone.
Even though it was downhill it felt like it just went on and on and then I turned round the corner and saw the final hill up to the YMCA and the finish line. Months earlier I practically crawled up that damn hill with 2 people cheering me on, after I ran 5 miles for the first time. I couldn't believe I was here again, having run almost 10 miles!

I do not know how I did it but I did...
And it was easier than last time...
And I sprinted into the Y...
And I didn't collapse in a heap...
Go me!

I lost my running buddy who ended up running with another girl for the last 2 miles so I found myself on my own with 2 miles to go, wanting to walk but desperately wanting to finish and bask in the glory of 10 miles.

I now know what people are talking about when they say the first 45 minutes are hell, then it gets easier. Why on earth would you do something for 45 minutes that was that hard?! Well I definitely find the first 3 or 4 miles really tough, then something changes in my body and my legs start to feel like they are not attached to the rest of me and are moving on their own, like robot legs!
The problem is, I have to stop for water and then my legs feel like jelly! But I really do find that I get into a rhythm with my breathing and it actually starts to feel ok. I can't believe I can run for over 2 hours, only stopping briefly to get a drink of water.

I have to say that I can barely walk up the stairs today and if I sit in one position for too long I stiffen up and can't move! But it was worth it!

I am so thankful to Cara for keeping me going, to Sara and Elizabeth my other running buddies and to all the people at Gazelle Sports who are there from goodness knows what time in the morning setting up, so they are ready to greet us at 7am and get us on our way.

I also can't believe I am someone who gets up at 5:30am (to get breakfast) to go running!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

kindergarten cop

Today Jeremy told me that he felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mmmmm really?

Oh I see....

Because we taught the Kindergarten class at Church today!

When we go to Church, Toby goes to the nursery and Charlotte attends the preschool class which is part of the Church youth group - Amplify.

I have been curious to see what the kids get up to whilst we are in Church and my neighbour who is the 4th and 5th grade teacher advised me to sit in on a class one day.

So when I saw an email asking for help I volunteered. And when I say help, I thought I would maybe read a story, help with some colouring. But oh no I got asked to be the actual teacher for the 11am kindergarten class and it turns out there wouldn't be anyone helping me! Uh oh! I really don't do things by half do I?!

I got a handful of papers to read through the night before with suggested games to play, role play and team games plus the bible passage and memory verse.

Given I haven't taught sunday school since I was a teenager (too many years to think!) I decided to help out at the 9am service to see what I was letting myself in for and enlisted Jeremy's help with my 11am class. I had no idea how many kids there would be and if they would even understand me!

Things started off well when I welcomed 'Hannah' into the class, only to be told by her that it wasn't 'Hannah' but 'Haaa-nnah' (you know with a Michigan drawl!) I had to laugh! Sorry Haaa-nah'!

But it got better from there. We only had 5 little girls and after a while they warmed up to the slightly strange (think beaming smiles, funny accents, over enthusiastic pair that Jeremy and I are together) and we all had a good morning.

All the small kids meet in a room called the 'Oasis' which is like a small Worship room complete with stage and big screen. We sang some songs, complete with actions and listened to a Bible story. The little boys from another class were all fascinated to see Jeremy and wanted to talk to him which was funny. I think most of the teachers are women.... Bless Jeremy, he really would do anything for me.

Then it was time for the small groups to head back to their rooms for role play and action games, colouring, stories and snacks.

The little girls in our class were ever so sweet and I really enjoyed my morning with both classes. It was great to see what they all do and what kind of things they are taught. And also good to meet some of the teachers and the youth ministry leader.

Who knows, I might be a fully fledged Kindergarten teacher by this time next year!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

fresh on Q

'Fresh on Q' is the name of our local Farmers' Market, located on Q avenue. Have I told you that we live off Q which is parallel to R and we are between 8th and 10th street?! The grid system sure does make it easy to navigate round here!

Anyway I digress. What I wanted to talk about was the Farmers' market. It is on every Saturday morning from May through to October and Tuesday evenings too.

It is full of stalls selling local produce like cucumbers 'cukes', summer squash (yellow courgette), corn, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, garlic which is flavourful and moist, flowers, the list goes on. Most of it is a little more expensive than store bought but knowing exactly where the blueberries are from (Schultz's Fruitridge farm down the road - we picked peaches there last summer) makes the $3 for a quart worth it. And they are so juicy and tasty!

A local restaurant makes omelettes on portable gas stoves. Goodness knows how many eggs go into just one of them but they are delicious and the kids love them too. And then there are 'Sinsational cookies', chocolate chip or cranberry and white chocolate - too good not to indulge.

We went today and managed to avoid the cookies but tried the chicken wings from Four Guys Smokin'. We'd heard they were really good and my friend was right. Delicious tender chicken legs and wings with a fab smokey flavour. A dozen for $8. Not bad. We will have to get a whole chicken next week! They also sell pulled pork sandwiches but we had just made that last night in the slow cooker so we will save that for another week too.

Today was especially nice because there were two violin players entertaining the crowds in the market and out by the kids' play area was an acordian player called Robert. A lovely man who I talked to for quite a while as he was packing up. He used to correspond with a lady in England though he said he never actually knew her. She used to tell him about the seasons and that the "hedges were in bloom". That is the kind of thing I miss in England - hedgerows.

The kids gave him a dollar each.

The kids were happy because we saw a fire truck on the way in and they got a good amount of time in the new playground.

I enjoyed munching on chicken, tomatoes and blueberries, sat in the shade, watching the kids play and listening to the music. Bliss. 

Here are some pics from the first week of the market:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Shutterfly baby photo books are the perfect way to preserve your baby's precious moments.

cancer and colitis update...

A few people have been asking about Jeremy's health at the moment so I thought I would write an update here.

He is doing really well!

The latest tests from the cancer unit show the inflammation in his bladder has reduced dramatically which is really good and we believe really important in preventing more cancerous tumours.

The high level of steroids he was taking for the latest colitis flare up will have helped with this.

The doctor would have been happy to see him in a year but they compromised on an appointment at the end of the year. It's hard to leave it too long between appointments but we also want to get on with 'normal' life and try to forget about it for a while.

On the colitis front, all seems well at the moment. He has been very lucky to be able to receive fortnightly injections of a drug which seems to be working. It is very expensive and not available on the NHS so makes us realise that we are in the right place for this time of our lives. If we were still in the UK he could very well have lost his colon by now.

Jeremy has regained the weight he lost and we are working hard on prevention through chiropractic care and gradual changes to our lifestyle.

I have been reading up on the condition and met someone recently whose boyfriend has it. She was talking about a link with lactose intolerance and lack of sleep so we now drink rice milk and we are trying to get organised in the evenings so we get to bed on time.

We will always live with colitis but I strongly believe that through the chiropractor, diet, exercise and 8 hours of sleep a night we can reduce the number of flare ups and how severe the symptoms are when they happen.

We will also always be looking over our shoulder for the cancer but in this day and age who doesn't?

I am so proud of him for going to the doctor way back at the start of our relationship when we realised things weren't normal with his digestive system and again when he saw blood in his urine. It can seem easier to put it out of your mind and think it will all be OK but really where would we be now if he hadn't had the courage to see someone?

So we hope to have a better second half of this year, take every day as it comes and make the most of life right now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vancouver baby!

After a thrilling trip to Whistler we made our way back down the sea-to-sky highway, this time stopping at Shannon Falls.

The view from over the road where we parked:

Stunning view as you walk up:

And just enough time to stop for a white chocolate magnum - the advantage of being in Canada - British brands! :) 

We spent the afternoon in Vancouver at the shops! The city reminded me a lot of Manchester. It had a big mall, some of which was underground and went under the road - very confusing! And then a street full of shops that were more unique. I do miss living near a big city sometimes but we had a good couple of hours to shop and I enjoyed being let loose in H&M! We even got to have the famous Canadian dish Poutine - it's basically chips and gravy with cheese curds thrown in for good measure! Delicious and much needed as we didn't stop to eat until 3pm (6pm Michigan time):

It is definitely more multi-cultural than small town Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo is huge and population wise is far from a small town compared to Altrincham but I realise it does have a small town mentality and is behind in things like fashion. We saw a lot more culture and diversity, openly gay people, tattoos, fashion trends, street peformers etc. 

They are big on being 'green' and have huge metal recycling bins with instructions - in the food court at the mall, they actually had a video playing on a tv, telling you how to recycle! 
And there are designated bike and pedestrian walkways like I have seen in Germany. So there were lots of people riding around the city. On the second day, we hired bikes and rode around the outside of  Stanley Park and had great views of Vancouver harbour and the English Bay all the way round. 
Also all of the taxis are hybrid cars - they make a strange noise when driving so you know they are there but when they stop and start they are practically silent. It makes a nice change from the big 3 or 4 litre SUVs here! 

On the Saturday night we treated ourselves to another nice meal, this time in a restaurant called blue water cafe which turned out to be partnered with the Araxi from the night before. Anyways we enjoyed another great seafood meal, this time feasting on sushi, crab and creme brulee. Soooo good and I love 'working' for my dinner, cracking open legs and fishing out white crab meat from inside the shell. 

On the Sunday morning we watched some of the wimbledon final, given Andy Murray was playing, and headed down to the harbour to take a 'float plane' tour round the harbour and mountains. It is something that Jeremy has always wanted to do. I on the other hand, do not like anything that floats on water but didn't want to be left out so shut my eyes and boarded with him! It takes a while to take off from the water and makes quite a splash! We were lucky to be sat at the front so we got to see the view through the pilot's window! He got pretty close to the mountains and made you hold your breath hoping he would pull up! 

That is Stanley Park at the back behind the city:

Lions Gate Bridge:

Splash landing:

One pleased Harper:

No rest for the wicked, we went straight from the plane to the bike shop to hire bikes for our ride round the park! An easy 6 mile ride, we managed to stay on the path and avoid a dip in the sea! We were treated to a fantastic view of Lions Gate Bridge and stopped for lunch by the beach. 

On the way to dinner I spotted this piece of art by Chuhily down a random side street. I was very excited as I love his work, ever since I saw the roof of the Bellagio's foyer in Vegas. He decorated a big part of the roof with these glass flowers and it looks stunning! He has an exhibition in Seattle but it was too far to go and see. So glad I saw this:

And on the way back, we walked by Canada Place. I know it was designed to look like a cruise ship but it looked like it would be more at home in somewhere like Blackpool! Oh well, you can't please everyone! :) 

I took this pic by putting my camera underneath the huge 'water drop'. It gave me vertigo and I couldn't stand underneath and look up - it was too tall and leaned!! 

Can you see Canada Place in the reflection? 

Jeremy is stood underneath it looking up - gives you an idea of how big it is! 

Monday and we were homeward bound! 

One hell-uv-a moose in Vancouver airport:

It seemed to take all day to get home as Chicago airport is 3 hours from our house and the plane was delayed. We had a nice welcome home. Clarence the Kellogg driver picked us up and this is the view in the corridor linking the domestic terminal 4 to the baggage reclaim at Chicago airport: 

Cool or what?! The lights turn on and off as you go down the travelators and in time to the ambient style music playing. 

We loved our trip to Vancouver and Whistler. It was like a second honeymoon and we are very grateful to Granny and Papa for doing a brilliant job with the kids and allowing us to relax and have fun just the two of us! 

Thank you Granny and Papa and thank you to my wonderful husband for taking me on a trip of a lifetime! 

The question is, where to next?! :) 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I am not going up that mountain...


I seriously said to Jeremy on the way to Whistler - quote: "I'm sorry Jeremy but I do not like cable cars, they make me feel sick. I don't mind if you want to go on your own, I will sit and drink hot chocolate but I am not going up a mountain on chair lift or in cable car. No way."

Famous last words!

So why did I do it? What changed my mind? My kids for one. Not wanting regrets for two.
I hate heights. They make me sick and dizzy and make me freak out. It is not rational and I cannot control it. I cannot explain it and if you are fine with heights you will never understand it.
But one day I hope to go skiing and if you want to ski down a mountain, you have to get up a mountain. On a chair lift. So surely it is best to try one out in the summer, without the kids, before committing to a family skiing trip?

Well yes and that is why I agreed to go half way up the mountain on an open chair lift. And I survived. And the views were spectacular. And we saw more bears. And it was so quiet and peaceful. And I wanted to get to the top.
So we went on another one.
And a cable car which was 1427ft above the valley and the longest unsuspended cable car in the world.
And another open chair lift to get to the top of the other mountain. To see the view and touch the snow.

It was one of the most amazing things I have done in a long time and I am so glad I was brave and had Jeremy by my side to hold my hand.

The start:

After the first chair lift:

Time for a latte half way up:

In the peak-to-peak cable car, just about smiling through gritted teeth! I could look left and right but not ahead at the other cars because it drops down the side of one mountain and climbs back up the other and that freaked me out! And I definitely could not look down!:

Yes those tiny red dots are other cable cars about to go down the mountain! We were supposed to be going across or so I thought!:

Distance between Whistler and Blackcomb gondola stations: 2.73 miles:

Almost there:

I did it!:

That black thing at the top of the mountain behind me is supposed to be black onyx that never gets snow on it as it is heated from the earth's core. So some guy said who took our picture!

On top of the world. (Or at least that is what it felt like!):

One of the open chair lifts. This is the one from the very top down to where the peak-to-peak cable car dropped us off. I managed to snap this before stowing my phone away and clinging on for dear life!: 

After our adventure up the mountains, we found an irish pub and celebrated with a big glass of cider before heading back to the hotel for a quick swim in the outdoor pool. It was chilly up the mountain (we remembered to put sunscreen on) but warm enough - about 25oC to swim outside.

We finished our Whistler trip with dinner at Araxi restaurant. The food was delicious!:

Seared tuna to start, lobster for me, halibut for Jeremy then a raspberry and cream dessert to finish. 

Vancouver here we come... I'll tell you about that part of the trip another day!