Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tried & True: Michelle & Dean
Travel the World
(without leaving town)

By Michelle B of
Dean and I have always loved to travel. Whether it was a spontaneous motorcycle trip to the mountains of North Carolina, spending our honeymoon camping and visiting Disney World, or going half way around the world to meet our daughter; the adventure of a new place was always exciting. 

Our last big trip was actually our move cross country. We had been living in northwest Georgia for 14 years, when the job that brought us there came to an end. It turns out the next job to be offered was at the opposite corner of the country, in Seattle Washington. With all of our belongings packed into POD's, a U haul, and the car, we headed west. Taking our time, visiting Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Wall, South Dakota along the way. 

But since we've been here we haven't had the opportunity to take any trips, so I decided to plan a date around the world as our date night for the week. I originally started by getting out the world atlas and picking different countries that we would want to visit. I was then going to plan the dinner menu around those countries. But an opportunity presented itself that I couldn't pass up.

Having been married for 21 years and having an 11 year old daughter causes date nights take on a different tone these days than when we were first married and childless. This turned out to be one of those times. We made the decision to include our daughter on the first half, (since it was her school function after all) and then continue the second half just the two of us after we dropped her off at home.

Because the area we live in is a culturally diverse area, the school put on an "International Night" to highlight and educate the kids (and parents) about many of the different countries and cultures represented at the school. There were 20 different countries represented at the festival and we learned there are 31 different languages spoken by kids at the school. 

There were performances by the school choir highlighting songs from different countries, other international groups that performed dances native to their countries, different foods for sampling, and a parade of nations to cap off the evening. What a great way to learn about other countries and sample some foods we may not have otherwise had a chance to try. This gave us ideas of places we would like to go, things we would like to see, and more foods to sample (and maybe learn to prepare too).

Next stop, the bookstore. Having learned a little more about all of these different countries, it gave us more direction of the next step we would need to take and that would be the research. Fortunately we have a good bookstore close to home, so we were able to go there after the festivities and take our time browsing the travel section. Looking at maps, travel guides and history books, helped to spur the dream of world wide travel that much more. 

The great thing about this type of date night is it was free. It afforded us the opportunity to share time with our daughter, be an example of a strong marriage to her, and also gave us some time together, just the two of us, sharing and dreaming about something we both enjoy. 

Bio: Dean & I have been married 21 years. We met in 1989, dated for 3 months and married in March of 1990. We adopted our daughter in 2001. While date nights aren't as regular for us as they used to be, we do try to make an effort to still go out just the two of us once a month. This date was a little different, but as I said it was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Regardless of how long you've been married, I would say dating your spouse is key to a happy marriage. It helps to keep the communication going and reminds you to focus on the two of you for a little while. Which after so many years of marriage and kids is easy to lose sight of.

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