Up until 10 years ago, I had very little interest in cooking. With a little help, I went from being a fiasco in the kitchen to a bona fide foodie. I grew up with a mom that loved to cook, something she learned from her mother. But, TBH, up until 10 years ago, I had very little interest in cooking. For me, my life was complicated enough trying to balance work and family. Cooking was more about feeding my family and less about the actual food itself.
I came across a quote recently that encapsulates my life’s goals; “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps, than a house full of stuff.” Tbh, I did not even own a passport until six years ago having only traveled domestically. Truthfully, I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who loaded all four of us girls in the car every summer and we went on driving trips in the U.S. Of course, and I do believe this was to keep us quiet and occupied, we were each assigned a state and decided what places we would visit in that state.
Our family usually takes a winter holiday to see snow and mountains (something we don't get in South Florida). Previously, we would head to either Park City or Colorado for our winter ski trip, typically with my sister and her kids. But with a pandemic happening, we did not want to fly so we decided to drive to Asheville for our winter getaway.
A little over one year ago, life was good; my dream of going to Israel would finally be happening. I have not always wanted to visit Israel, even after both of my daughters did birthright. That changed over the past six years as I became more connected to my faith and spirituality which were both instrumental in moving me forward after unexpectedly becoming a widow.
After our first trip to London, I was definitely bitten by the travel bug. I decided that if we could coordinate, I would want to start a tradition of a girl’s trip once a year with my daughters. One of my all-time favorite books and movies is Eat, Pray, Love. (If you enjoy Audiobooks, you can get it for free with an Audible trial). I decided after watching the movie that Italy, India, and Indonesia would be on my travel bucket list). That is how we decided on Italy, a country where we would Eat, Pray and Love.
Greece has been on my bucket list since 2005 when I saw the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. My desire to go there also was based on the fact that in 2010, I became a pescatarian and mainly followed a Meditteranean eating regimen.
My first trip to Europe was in London. We chose this destination for several reasons including the fact that we would not have a language barrier. My younger daughter and I planned out most of the trip including must-see visits to London’s iconic sites. I ran it by a friend who is from London to see if we were trying to pack in too much in five short days. Just last year, on a trip with my sister to Israel, we had a layover in London. We decided to spend two days in London and then travel on and had the most amazing time so I have included some spots we went to on this trip as well.
In 2016, when my daughter decided to study abroad in Madrid for the summer through her college, I decided to personally escort her (and of course her sister came along). We left a few weeks prior to when she needed to be in Madrid. We traveled to Spain in 10 days which is very doable and share How to Travel to Spain in 10 days.
“What’s it like being a twin?” I always find this to be such an odd question because I don’t know what it’s like not being a twin. Oftentimes, I want to ask, “what’s it like being a solo child.” But, because multiples seem to be so interesting to people, I try to put my sassiness aside. If I were to think about the best part of being a twin is that you never feel alone. You always have someone that has your back.
When we dropped our daughter off at college, her dad and I and her younger sister drove away, tears streaming down our faces (well not her sister’s face). We’d return home as a family of three which took on a whole new personality. This was the first of many life shifts I came to understand. It took some time for us to adjust to the empty chair at the dinner table and to cooking for three and only having to chauffeur one child around. It was different. Not good different, not bad different … just different.
In case you did not already know, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year even in Florida. Sure there is no fall foliage minus the brown palm fronds that seem to drop this time of year and, in my 48 years of living down here, the weather typically is in the high 70’s or low 80’s. Even with the lack of fall colors everywhere, the holiday still holds a special place in my heart. Throughout my entire life, my mom has always hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We were welcome to include friends that did not have a place to celebrate. My mom would find a way to make tables fit even if it meant moving furniture out of the way (that’s a whole other story).