Family Magazine

My Parents Visit, Again

By Sherwoods
My Parents Visit, Again
Every year we've been in the Foreign Service (all thirteen of them), we've been able to go back to the US for a visit.  It hasn't always been at the same time, but we always make it a priority.  It's a lot of hassle and can be pretty exhausting, but we want the children to know their extended family, and I know that their grandparents want to see them.  This year is the first year that we haven't been able to to go back, and we're hoping that it was the last year.
When my parents heard that we wouldn't be able to make it back, my mom cheerfully announced that they'd just come visit us instead.  My dad has been retired for almost eleven years and after spending five years serving missions for the Church, they've been enjoying their retirement and have spent a lot of time traveling.  So they were able to slip in a visit to us between a trip to Cape Hatteras for kite surfing and a trip to Seattle to go see my brother.  
My Parents Visit, Again
The kids were, of course, ecstatic that their grandparents were coming to visit, and eagerly counted down the days until my parents showed up to come and play with them.  My parents had already seen all the Silk Road cities during their last visit, so we decided to keep things low-key and hang around Tashkent for most of the time.
This turned out to be a good decision, as their bags got stuck in Boston and my parents spent three days borrowing clothes and washing their own every evening while waiting for the baggage to arrive.  It was a complicated process to figure out how to file a report for lost baggage - I made 37 different phone calls before I actually reached a person, and thankfully that person could tell me where to go to file the report - and complicated process to get the bags from the airport.  I was very thankful for all the years of studying Russian that made it possible to understand what everyone was saying to me and give them a coherent answer.  I can't imagine how tourists with lost baggage get it back.
My Parents Visit, Again
Most of our days were spent in the pool for at least part of the day.  After an unusually cool and rainy May, summer arrived the day my parents did, with the temperatures getting up to 100.  The kids had a great time swimming with their grandparents and making silly underwater videos and having my dad throw them into the pool.  I'm grateful for parents that are both able AND willing to come all the way here to swim in the pool with my kids.
In between swimming, napping, and hanging out, we did take a day trip to Samarkand.  Some children wanted to see it again now that they have a greater appreciation of history, and others just wanted to ride the speed train that took us there.  Elizabeth and William - who are the only ones in the family who haven't been to Samarkand - got left at home with the housekeeper.  Nobody wants to haul small children around in ninety-five degree heat to go see tile-covered monuments.  
In addition to going to Samarkand, we also rode the Tashkent metro and went up the TV tower - both firsts for everyone.  Neither was the highlight of anyone's visit, but now we've done them and nobody can complain that we spent four years in Tashkent without going on the metro.  I found it to be nicer than the metro in Baku, which is the only other former Soviet metro I've been in.
My Parents Visit, Again
We finished up our visit with a quintessential Central Asian attraction - a local water park.  My parents got to experience the random reinforcement of non-logical waterslide rules and then watch as my children pushed, cajoled, begged, and badgered their way onto the waterslides that were for adults only.  They also got to experience burning the bottoms of their feet on hot pavement, icy cold pool water (how is that even possible when it's a hundred degrees???) and crowds of Uzbeks also trying to beat the heat at the pool.  But the highlight of the afternoon was when waterslide lifeguard stopped Kathleen from going on the adult waterslide and then asked her out in Russian.  She didn't realize what was going on until halfway through and let him know that no, she wouldn't be meeting him later to go for an evening walk.  But then he let her go on the slide, so it was a win in the end.
After spending a week with their grandchildren and eating lots of cherries, apricots and fresh naan bread, my parents left to go back to their real life.  Even as they were saying their last goodbyes at the airport, they kept claiming that it was completely worth it to fly twenty-four hours each way, not have new clothes for three days straight, and just get over jetlag before returning and having get over it all over again.  I've got to admit that I've got pretty amazing parents.  Everyone was sad at the parting, knowing that they'd have to wait a whole year before seeing each other again.  But we're grateful that it's only one year and not two.

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