My Favorite Coping Mechanism

In the beginning when we were at the hospital, every day flew by, with visits from many doctors and lots of tests to do. Now that we are nearing the end of our stay, there is not as much to do, and I find the days dragging on. Doubts creep into my mind about if we will ever actually leave the hospital, and I get a little discouraged. I know that we will leave eventually, and we will probably leave Friday, but we’ve been here longer than we were in Ethiopia, and way longer than we were home as a family of four, so it seems like a very long stay. In order to have something to look forward to, I’ve employed my favorite coping mechanism for times of stress: vacation planning.

I know it probably seems a little strange. After all, we won’t be taking a vacation of any sort for well over a year, and even that is not definite. We have a number of other financial goals we need to meet before we can save for plane tickets and accommodation costs, and there is simply no guarantee that we can do it. However, because it is so far in the future, I feel quite hopeful that we can pull it off, and thus I have been planning our first vacation as a family of four.

Jarod and I both love to travel, but we also love the comfort of the familiar, so when it’s not time to head to Ethiopia, we like taking the same trip over and over again. Our favorite trip is one that involves bookending a lazy week in Nice, France, with stays in London. The airfare is cheap if we wait for a good fare sale, and there’s no shortage of things to do outside our familiar usuals (picnics for lunch in London, gelato every night in Nice) if we so choose. Even though there’s no guarantee we’ll get to do it, I am still planning where we’ll stay and looking back at last fall’s trip photos, imagining all four of us together in our favorite spots. Take a walk down memory lane and a look into the hopeful vacation future with me. It’s going to be great, right?

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  • Walks Along the Thames at Dusk 1 of 12
    Walks Along the Thames at Dusk
    All cities take on a magical feel during the golden hour that comes around dusk. Seeing Zinashi and Jarod walk hand in hand was a highlight of our last trip, and I look forward to having Elvie in our arms next time.
  • Shopping at Spitalfields Market 2 of 12
    Shopping at Spitalfields Market
    There's always a little something for everyone at our favorite market. Zinashi chose this bunny bag on her own, and I know that there will be something cute for both girls next time.
  • Loungy Breakfasts in the Park 3 of 12
    Loungy Breakfasts in the Park
    I love getting off the tube and grabbing a little breakfast at a coffee shop. Eating a quick meal in a park gets our day started right.
  • Feeding and Petting the Squirrels in St. James’s Park 4 of 12
    Feeding and Petting the Squirrels in St. James's Park
    Jarod and I happened upon the hungry squirrels of St. James's Park when we were in London before we had kids. Feeding these tame squirrels is now a highlight of every trip to London.
  • Picnics on the Thames 5 of 12
    Picnics on the Thames
    There are plenty of sandwich shops and benches to choose from. Put the two together and it's a meal to remember.
  • Pastries in Old Town Nice 6 of 12
    Pastries in Old Town Nice
    The pastries are delicious regardless of where you get them in Nice, but the atmosphere is best in Old Town. We always rent an apartment for the week in the old part of the city, and there are pastries to be had within steps of wherever we choose to stay.
  • Ice Cream Every Night 7 of 12
    Ice Cream Every Night
    Without fail, we visit Fenocchio in Place Rosetti every night. There are 100 flavors to choose from, and I'm on a mission to try every one. Each night we make a video of what we chose and if we like it or not. Elvie might not have much to say in future videos, but I'm pretty sure she'll learn to love our ice cream tradition.
  • A Little Time in the Mediterranean 8 of 12
    A Little Time in the Mediterranean
    If the day is warm enough, we throw on swimsuits and hit the beach. It's close enough that we don't feel like we need to be there long to make it worth the effort.
  • One Nice Dinner Out at a Favorite Restaurant 9 of 12
    One Nice Dinner Out at a Favorite Restaurant
    We try to save a little money by cooking in the apartment we rent, but for one night, we eat like royalty. Our favorite restaurant in Nice is very kid friendly, so we know that with two kids in tow next time, we will be welcomed with open arms.
  • Brunch on the Balcony 10 of 12
    Brunch on the Balcony
    One of our requirements for our Nice apartment rental is that it has a balcony. This way, even when we wake up late we can catch a little morning sun. We can't wait to let Elvie soak up some rays in our favorite vacation spot.
  • Relax and Play at Our Favorite Park With a View 11 of 12
    Relax and Play at Our Favorite Park With a View
    The park at the Chateau overlooks the Mediterranean and has stunning views of the city as well. A world class playground makes it popular with kids while the adults can just enjoy the view.
  • Walks on the Promenade on Sundays 12 of 12
    Walks on the Promenade on Sundays
    What really makes our time in Nice feel like vacation is being out and about on Sundays, when musicians are playing in the streets and the whole city is out strolling. Zinashi will want to skip or gallop or run next time, while Elvie can take up residence in our arms. The weather will be lovely and the city will be welcoming, and we will have another amazing vacation.

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More on Babble:

Common Health Problems in Adoption

Managing Our Lives During Elvie’s Hospital Stay

Becoming Elvie’s Mother

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