I still keep in touch with my college roommate, Susan.  These days we email a few times a year and a few months ago we chatted on the phone.  Each time I hear from her she asks me where I am.  She seems to be under the impression that I live quite an exotic life, jetting all over the world.  I have tried to convince her and others that my life is like everyone else my age in that I travel to be present at special events in the lives of my children, grandchildren and other family members.  I was convinced that the only difference is that I have to travel a little further to get there.  I think that is still mostly true.

With Rosie Girl at Seaworld
With Rosie Girl at Seaworld

Last year, I traveled to see my mother, my sister, all of my children and grandchildren, my niece and her family.  That involved visiting the following places: Bountiful, Centerville, Provo, and St. George, Utah; London, England; Kingwood, Texas; Sugar Grove, North Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts and Pocatello, Idaho.  Normal places…well maybe London and Sugar Grove are a bit exotic.  I also spent time home in Tokyo.  I love all these places because they are where the people I love most live.

With the Sphinx

Maddie in London

Ally and Izzie

At Walden Pond

Aimee’s Baptism

North Carolina

Caitlin and me
Caitlin and Me



David and HolliLainey

Lately, I am thinking Susan might be right about my exotic life.  Besides these places I also traveled to Egypt in April, Australia in September and Cambodia just a couple weeks ago.  Egypt and Cambodia are definitely exotic.  The long flights don’t bother me much any more.  The people at Singapore Airlines in the Los Angeles know me by name…this is not normal and yet it is!!!!

So, what is coming up?  I leave Monday for a whirlwind wedding shopping and planning trip to the US, including stops in Utah and Texas.  In February, we are going to India.  April takes us back to Texas for Kristina’s wedding and I’ll be passing through Utah both directions to visit my mom and sister.  After that, who knows?

I know that we are supposed to be living in Tokyo and because of that I am grateful that I can travel and be a part of my family’s lives.  Rick is truly wonderful and generous.  I am also blessed to be able to travel to “exotic” places, experience different cultures and see this amazing world we live in.  My life is full.

I think I need to stop trying to convince people that the life I live is just like everyone else’s.  It’s not, but it’s my life and I am so grateful for it.

Christmas 2009


  1. Dee

    Hey Vanalee, I love it when you update your blog! Good job. That took some work. Your family looks great!
    I am so thrilled for you/Kristina et al.
    I hope you have a great trip and best of luck finding the perfect dress!
    I need you to tell me what you did in Cambodia-it sounds like you enjoyed it-pretty awesome, isn’t it?!
    Happy Trails….

  2. Michelle Jenkins

    I echo your thoughts. Although living abroad comes with all sorts of craziness I love what else it allows us to do. Yes, those of us with the travel bug do get to visit exotic places but that’s because they are finally close. When in the states you would travel the same distance to see family but still be in the states. Here you travel that same distance it just lands you in some place interesting you’ve never seen before. It also helps to have a bit extra vacation time. Also being here in KSA looking to that next vacation is what helps us DEAL with the actual living here. I too feel extremely blessed but a bit spoiled too.

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