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My Favorite Vacation

Tuesday and it's time to link up with Momfessionals for "Show and Tell".  Oh, woops, it's Wednesday....and will probably be Thursday before I actually get this posted.

It's hard to think of a favorite vacation.  When I was a kid growing up in Nigeria, our parents always got a month of "holidays" which they always took in Miango where our mission had a "rest center".  It was an ideal place for vacation:  all meals prepared, peace and quiet, time to read, sleep, hike, etc.  The thing is, Miango was also the location of the boarding school where us kids attended.  My parents always came in March, so when they came we would move into their cabin with them, but we still attended school and life carried on as normal.  Except that our parents were there and that far outweighed the fact that us kids never actually went anywhere on vacation.  Except during Christmas and summer holidays we got to go home, so I guess that was our vacation.

When we returned to the USA, our family still didn't go on vacation, as in to a special place.  Instead, we always took my parent's vacation time and visited relatives.  Which was fine by me.  Playing with cousins beats time at a resort anytime as far as I was concerned! (That's me on the top left....somehow my brother wasn't in this picture of a time the Texas cousins came to visit us.)

 Then when John and I got married and became missionaries to Niger, we also spent our holiday time down in Miango in Nigeria.  It really was a mom's dream vacation, especially those three meals served daily.  Just show up to the dining room!  Oh, yes, and afternoon tea every afternoon at 3:00.  After siesta. Miango is on a plateau and not in a big town, so there are a lot of beautiful places to hike, which we did at least several times a week.  

And if you go at the right time of year, it rains every afternoon, something that we don't get as much of up in Niger.
There were always other families there so our kids just spent hours playing outside or going with us on group hikes.

Every family had their own "cabin" which consisted of two or three bedrooms and a bathroom.

In the evenings we would gather for group devotions.  Sometimes we would watch a movie together or play games together.

Then it got really hard to travel down to Nigeria and we started looking for other places to go.  Two different years we went to The Gambia to visit my sister and her family.  Those were also fabulous vacations because we were with family and  we got to stay in nice hotels along the beach.  The summer months are actually off-tourist season so we got really good deals on hotels.  Every night we would eat out or cook simple fare in our suites.  Mostly we hung out at the pool and walked along the beach.  The undertow there is pretty scary, so we didn't swim much in the ocean.  The first three pictures are from our first trip to The Gambia and the last two from our second trip.

The year between Suzanne's junior and senior years in high school, we had nowhere to go for vacation.  Getting down to Miango had become difficult and we couldn't afford to go back to the USA.  But we needed a break from work and from the heat.  In passing one day I asked a friend if she knew anybody who needed a house sitter during the summer.  She said, yes, she had a friend employed by the US Embassy who was looking for someone to stay in their house and take care of their cats.  That was a great vacation for us.  We didn't have to stay anywhere, yet it was like we'd traveled to the USA.  Every room was air-conditioned and set at about 72, much cooler than we keep our house.  There was a pool in the backyard.  They had a connection to Armed Forces Network TV, lots of movies, and a Wii.  I still had to cook, but we ate out a lot.  Suz had a lot of friends over and we kind of adopted all the single guys who enjoyed playing video games and watching AFN.  

For me a good vacation involves having family around and going to a place that gives us all a break from work, including cooking!
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