Have you ever gone on vacation to visit family and when you come home you feel like you need another vacation? Sometimes it’s the draining family drama or just the sheer number of people who “have” to see you making you jump from house to house from dawn until dusk.
My husband is from Chile and we have travelled their several times over the past 14 years of our relationship and every time I’m reminded how different it is to travel to see family versus traveling for fun. Traveling to see family can be fun, it can also be very un-fun. We once spent 3 hours in an airless Santiago apartment in the middle of summer waiting for a family member who was “on their way” to pick us up for a family BBQ.
We are now starting the final preparations for a BIG family trip for us. We’re taking the kids to meet my husband’s family in Chile. My children are now 5 & 2 years old and will be meeting most of their South American family for the first time. My biggest worry is how to make the trip as positive experience for them as possible. How do we not overwhelm them?
The actual transportation part I’m not worried about these kids can handle the long flights, I think, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make it a smooth run. Luckily our flight from Canada leaves around nap time for my 2 yr old and the second leg is an overnight flight from Dallas to Santiago.
What I am worried about is how they will adjust to the culture and the expectations from our Chilean family. My oldest is a sensitive soul who sticks close to his Mommy when he’s feeling uncomfortable, he’s slow to warm and quietly observant. My youngest will chat a stranger’s ear off with an account of his daily goings on, climbing into their lap if he gets the slightest of openings, but he’s also acutely aware of his older brother and if he senses things are not quite right he’ll retreat to his side immediately.
So how do we prepare them for meeting and living with people they have never met before?
Logistically we have some road trips to do once we arrive so we’ve arrange for their Abuello (Grandfather) to pick us up from the airport in Santiago. Just him, not a gang greeting of boisterous South Americans frantically waving through the glass as we collect our luggage. This way we can let them have a proper greeting, they have already met their Abuella (Grandmother), and I’m sure tears will be shed because Abuello is a BIG softy and I know how much meeting his grandchildren will mean to him, I’m on the brink just thinking about it, tears of joy, tears of joy.
Abuello will take us the 5hr journey north to where we will stay with Abuella in La Serena. We will be staying La Serena most of our trip because my brother in law will be getting married in the neighbouring town Coquimbo. After a few days here I’ve book us a little family excursion an hour or so north, an overnighter, just the four of us, my plan is to give the kids a break from all the new people and let us have a little family adventure.
We’ll head back to La Serena as we have a wedding to attend and when we arrive back their Canadian cousins will have arrived and settled in, some familiar faces. Once the wedding celebration is over and we’ve spent a few days recovering on the beach we’ll say goodbye to our family in La Serena and head south to Pichi Lemu, a small surfing village for 2 nights and another little family adventure, just us. We plan on heading back into Santiago for the last night of our trip and final farewells to our family there.
I hope these little breaks will give us time to relax and just be together the rest well, I’m sure you’ll read more about it!