The Kid-Friendly Amsterdam That Your Teenager Won't Hate

Leave a comment Standard

What comes to mind when you first think of Amsterdam? 

Windmills. Weed. Stroop Waffles. Tulips. Weed.

That’s what I thought. And so did my kid. 

The last time we went to Amsterdam, he told me it was pretty boring. He said that Amsterdam is only fun for adults because kids can’t do “adult things” and Amsterdam only has “adult things”. He actually did the air quotes.

But he’s not completely wrong.

Continue reading

How to Score a Free Hotel From an Airline (or at Least a Free Tour)

Comments 4 Standard

Whenever I am looking to book a ticket, one of the first websites I go to is Skyscanner. Often, this means that I will end up booking my ticket through a third party website. Which means I will sometimes have a long layover somewhere to help curb the costs. (I don’t know why this curbs costs, but whatever)

On our recent trip to Brussels, we had a 13-hour layover in Istanbul going there and a 23-hour layover coming back. That’s a looooooong time to be sitting in an airport when you don’t have lounge access. So once the ticket was confirmed, I began looking online to see if the airline or the airport offers a free hotel say.

Continue reading

Our 2 Days in Brussels

Comments 6 Standard

Brussels is one of those cities that you’ve heard about, but it never is really on your list of places to visit. At least this was true for me. With the exception of waffles and fries, I didn’t really know much about the European city. But when a flight deal calls, I come running!

I found a flight from Addis Ababa to Brussels for about $370 and saw I could catch a train to Paris and Amsterdam from the centralized location and booked it back in March. My experience flying Turkish Airlines back in February was pleasant, so I wasn’t worried about the experience. And the added long layovers were appealing as it would allow us to visit another city in the process.

Continue reading

Brussels: A Food Tour

Comments 3 Standard

We were in Brussels for only 2.5 days and I can’t tell you one landmark or historical site that we saw. Okay, that’s a lie. We actually saw quite a lot despite being completely focused on eating anything fried and delicious that we could get our hands on.

We took a City Sightseeing Bus and saw most of the city during one of the full days. We got off a couple times to explore the area and even stumbled upon a museum dedicated to musical instruments around the world. We paid the extra 2€ and got the audioguide where we were able to listen to the actual musical instruments being played.

Continue reading

Eleven

Leave a comment Standard

The boy is 11.

Every year, I get super sentimental and this year was no different.

I often stay awake preparing to wake him up in a special way or with a surprise and this year he was in for the greatest surprise of his young life.

Continue reading

There is pee in my boot.

Leave a comment Standard

This past week, I went on a field trip with the grade 11 students from my school. We went to Gunma Prefecture to do some outdoorsy stuff and be at one with nature. Now, I am not the most outdoorsy type of person so I had my reservations initially, but it ended up being really awesome.

The camp is about 3 hours outside of Tokyo, so I put on my headphones and got some work done on the ride with about 35 talkative girls. No biggie. The scenery was amazing on the way up and you could just smell that mountain air once we arrived. We dropped our bags and put on our swim suits to get ready to go rafting not moments after we stepped off the bus. I had been rafting before, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

They suit us up in uncomfortable wet suits, life vests, and helmets and we head off to the river. They put all the teachers in the “cool raft” and we are given brief instructions on how not to die while in the raft. It was comforting. We set off and did pretty well. The scenery was amazing and I often found myself looking around, rather than looking at what was ahead of me. The river was at a 1 or 2 grade, so it wasn’t that bad and often we could get out to swim in the water. At one point, we all docked and jumped off a big rock. It was really incredible out there.

So, fast forward to day 2 where we were to go canyoning. For anyone who doesn’t know what canyoning is, it’s basically you are wading through a rocky river and sliding down waterfalls. Not sure why it’s called canyoning rather than waterfalling, but whatevs. We did that. I even did the ones where I was upside down getting tossed over (I have this thing about doing anything that requires me to go head first). I was proud of myself.

On this day, we had to wear more gear than we did the first day because we would be in the water most of the time and the water is colder up in the mountains. We were given socks, and extra jacket, and gloves to wear. And the water was COLD! We were also told to go pee before we put on our wetsuits because “the wetsuits are not toilets”. So I did and instructed the girls to go as well. All was well until about halfway through the course.

I’m sitting there waiting my turn and after one of the jumps or whatever, my body is like “Um…we gotta pee! All this cold water isn’t working well with out ability to hold our bladder.”

And I’m like “Um…ya’ll gonna need to hold it because I can’t go pee in this thing.”

And they were all “Right.”

So about halfway during the course I did one of the slides or jumps and my body said “fuck that” and just started to pee. I was trying to remain calm as the stream just continued to fill up my suit, but my face was like “ohshitohshitohshit” and I just had to go with it because it was a little too late at this point. I figure, it’s a wetsuit, maybe if I linger in the water a bit, it will flush all of it out some kinda way.

Nope.

It’s a wetsuit, doing what wetsuits do. So my bodily fluids just hung around and I had to open up a leg so that it could move elsewhere. I figure I could get it out some kinda way and just keep jumping and eventually it all would flush out. “Ain’t no way I’m getting back on that bus smelling like pee”, I kept repeating to myself in a panic.

So we’re moving along and I’m trying to stay in the pools of water as long as possible to get some of the pee out and all of a sudden, I feel this flush of warm liquid around my left foot as we’re walking.

Yep. There’s pee in my boot.

Despite my best efforts, the pee did not filter out of the wet suit as I had hoped. But rather, found its way into my left boot and settled. It was funny, walking with one cold foot and one warm one, slushing my way up the creek. Conveniently putting my foot into puddles to try to dilute the solution before heading back up the hill to the bus. It was quite comical.

Thankful for the open windows on the bus, my anxiety decreased when I realized that I might not be sniffed out. After we got back to camp, I tucked into separate shower area from the girls to strip off my suit and quickly chucked it into the wash area to avoid anyone else smelling me out.

Funny enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve lost control of my bladder. I mean, my son was huge, weighing at almost 9 lbs, so they tell me this is expected, right? But this was the first time it’s happened in a massive amount and with a group of people for which I could be forever ridiculed. Teenagers are harsh, yo.

Pee incident aside, the trip was really fun. I was able to chaperone and participate without having to really do anything. I challenged myself in ways I never would have without the security and encouragement that the staff at Canyons gave. The guides were amazing and really took care of us. I definitely am going to try and get the boy back here and have some fun in nature.

If you’re ever in Japan and have some time on your hands, look them up. It’s really a great place to experience and the staff are super helpful and have the greatest sense of humor. I think had they known I wet myself, they would have found a way to make it funny and a little less embarrassing. Maybe.

But I couldn’t take that chance.

Just for kicks and giggles, here is a video montage of the canyoning 🙂

Have any of you had any embarrassing incidents like this? How did you recover or save yourself from complete humiliation? Let me know in the comments!