Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Merry USA Christmas

It was our first Christmas in the US in eight years. We traveled far to be there: Malaysia being halfway around the world from the US East Coast, at 10,000 miles and 12 time zones away. Turkish Airlines brought us from KL to Washington in two 11+ hour flights, stopping in Istanbul on the way. The layover was long and we couldn't resist going into the city for a few hours.  We had landed at 5 am, and got to watch the city waking up.

Arriving at Dulles airport, we find Cam there to greet us YAY.   Tom bravely stepped into a rental car, tired and jet lagged, driving in unfamiliar territory in the US for the first time in a year and a half, and on the wrong side of the road. He did great! Cam provided navigation which was very helpful.

In Washington, DC  Ben and Sarah welcomed us, and we were joined the next day by Aunt Margaret.

Cam had recently discovered cooking as stress relief from the rigors of med school and having preceded us by a couple of days arriving in DC, had already filled the fridge with cheesecake and has plans for many more delicious, high fat foods. YUM

The next day, the men set about making Christmas cookies

finished product
Things were getting downright festive
tree with too many presents

stockings hung by the virtual chimney

Sarah's first stocking!

Cam continued to prepare amazing dishes, enjoyed by all

There were waaaaay too many gifts. Here is Cam the chef in new kitchen wear:
Tom's love of coffee is well-known and he was not disappointed.
Tom with new deluxe Keurig

 Margaret with elephant dung notebook
Tom surprised to receive coffee

Ben with new tablet
Cam with new duds
Artist Sarah with canvas

Ben and Sarah reading fine print

Cam with drinking horn and styling socks

Boys with new ties

There were stylish face masks from Ho Chi Minh City for all, guaranteed to prevent germs

purple leopard print

tasteful plaid

And we had many fun local visits:

Children's Hospital with the best resident pediatrician ever

Several buildings of the Smithsonian, here at Natural History
And the new MLK memorial on the tidal basin
And a little farther afield, old haunts of Silver Spring where K and M lived. 
9610 Lorain Avenue

Remains of an oak tree planted by Grandpa Stroad approx. 50 years ago
We watched a UCLA game at a bar full of alums; Ben led the cheers!
And Tim was in town and we met for dinner one night
And there was snow...

It was a very nice trip--wonderful to be with the fam.  Not as exotic as our other overseas Christmases but warm (NOT temperature),  EASY, comfortable, interesting.
Waaaay too much luggage