Growing up, family vacations were always to visit family. Besides my cousins in San Diego, the rest of my family are nearly all in New England (mom's side) or in Norway (dad's side), so summer vacation was either spent in Norway or at my aunt's in Connecticut, or entertaining family when they came to visit us/soak up the California sunshine.
Every other summer we would go to Norway for several weeks, and as we grew up and had more commitments and jobs, at least a week - all the way up through my college years. I can't thank my parents enough for saving their pennies and making those visits a priority. Because now when we go to Norway, like I'm doing this Friday(!!!), it somehow feels just as much like home as California does, despite having moved away when I was four. It's so hard to describe...the smells, the cadence of the language, the slower pace of life are so comforting and familiar.
Now, in my early 30s, it's been 7 years since I last visited. Overdue doesn't even begin to describe it. I've been ecstatically planning for months and my brain has been in overdrive the last two weeks. Added to that excitement is that it's been 4 years since I took an entire week off at once from my day job - and I did that to move! :)
I can't wait to spend some quality time with family and friends, exclaim over how big my cousins' kids have gotten (and meet the new additions), take in some insanely beautiful scenery and EAT.
The food, you guys, the food. Fresh crab from my uncle's own crab traps, shrimp so tasty it doesn't need anything but to be boiled in salt water, ice cream that tastes like frozen cream, and marzipan galore.
If you need me next week, I'll be in heaven. Return date maybe never.