In the Homeland with the People Who Love Us (15-18 December)

15th December

We woke up the next morning at my parents’ home in Illinois. B would not be arriving in the US until the 16th. He won’t be staying with me at my parents’. He is not welcome there for obvious reasons. We still needed to figure out when he would see the kids, but he hadn’t been cooperative so far. Not my concern at this point. We were going to enjoy a few days of quiet.

My dad made reservations for the Inn for brunch, so that’s where we went. The kids did pretty well with sleep. There weren’t any obvious signs of jetlag just yet.

This is a place I have spent a lot of time at. My parents had a vacation home in this community for much of my life growing up. It’s now about a 30 minute drive from their current home, so I still get to share it with my own children. It has changed quite a bit since I was a kid, but the brunch is pretty much the same.

After brunch, we went into downtown Galena to go to the various shops we all love. One of our favorite shops is Poopsies. It’s been there since I was kid. It changed ownership maybe 15ish years ago when the couple who owned it retired.

It’s crazy to go to a grocery store in the US. Things are so compact and precise in Hong Kong. There is just an excess of space in all of these places. The amount of sugar and junk available is just overwhelming.

16th December

Today is the day B will arrive in Chicago. His dad is picking him up from the airport. He was supposed to stay for a few days with his dad, but he ended up backing out on him a few days before we left. As of B’s arrival, he still wasn’t sure where he was going to be staying for the trip.

B was in the air for much of the day. I didn’t hear from him much because he went through China, and they don’t use Google.

I ended up going to Monroe with my mom and brother to go to Walmart. Walmart is definitely an interesting experience after spending the last year straight in Hong Kong. Shopping in Hong Kong is vastly different than shopping in the US.

In the US, there are superstores and Amazon. We don’t have any of that in Hong Kong. Just recently, they started free shipping to Hong Kong if you spent over $49.00 USD. Otherwise, you have to go to China to get a superstore.

In Hong Kong, there are specific shops for specific things. The closest we get to a superstore is Citistore here. It has all the different household things you would need as well as some clothes. We also have streets dedicated to a certain need. Shanghai St is for baking and kitchen needs. There is a flower market in Prince Edward. The ladies market is where tons of tourists good for souvenirs. There is an electronics district where you can get any manner of electrical component. I hated shopping for the kids’ EOTC trips because it meant going all over the city to buy the different things they would need.

After we got back to my parents’ house, my mom and I worked on decorating sugar cookies.

17th December

B wanted to see the kids. He ended up staying with his sister. I will be honest, I was terrified to see his family because they were not aware of what was going on as far as I knew. B refused to tell his family anything. To my knowledge, he still had not said anything to his family. His parents don’t like me because I went off on his mom when my kids travelled to the US over the summer. They refused to commit to anything and just expected my parents to drive the kids the 3.5 hours to them when they felt like seeing them. This made me angry because … well, it’s just super disrespectful. Anyway, she told me never to speak to her again, or else. I asked or else what, and she blocked me.

So my relationship with his mother was gone. Not that it really existed for the last few years. She blamed me for taking her precious little boy away and “forcing” him to move to Hong Kong (trust me, you can’t make B do anything he doesn’t want to do. He will do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. Ain’t no one will stop him. He proved that to me with his affair).

Anyway, I didn’t want to be stuck in any place without an exit plan. My mother being the amazing person she is, booked us a hotel room. She drove us down to where B’s sister lived and dropped us off for a while, and she went shopping. When we were ready to go, she came and picked us up. We stayed the night in the area with the intention of going back in the morning.

It was so good (SO GOOD) to see my sister in law. I missed her so much. She and I had been close before. I spent a lot of time with her kids and with her. I provided a lot of support to her before we moved to Hong Kong. I missed her kids so much. I can’t believe how much they’ve grown.

That night, I was able to see two of my best friends. I only got to see Daisy the morning before we left for Disney last time. Luckily, this time, I got to see her sooner. Additionally, I got to see A. I didn’t get to see him last time.

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings. I had never been there before. It was pretty good. We hung out there and talked for a couple of hours over some drinks. I miss them so much. I have been lucky in that A has been to Hong Kong before to see us. I wish Daisy make the trip as well, but I also know that is a big ask for someone with kids.

18th December

In the morning, I was able to go to the gym to work out. I really hadn’t been able to work out at my mom’s. The closest gym is right up the road, but it has very limited availability and equipment. The next closest gym is about 30 minutes drive in either direction. So the advantage of staying at the hotel is that there was a gym right there.

My mom booked horseback riding lessons for Monster and Bub at my sister’s work. My sister has been teaching horseback riding to kids for years. It’s what she loves to do. We were so lucky to get the kids in there to get a lesson. It was also super entertaining. My sister is used to the kids listening to her when she teaches. Well, my kids are used to their auntie and giving her a hard time. So that’s what they did. They listened, but they bantered back and forth constantly.

It was such a good experience. I’m so happy the kids got to do all of this. We didn’t make it back to my sister in law’s in the end, but it was still a good visit. I got to see my sister as well, so I am very happy about that.

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