Friday, 12 August 2022

Day 14 - Homeward bound

Flying home today. Packing is always fun when you have done a fair amount of shopping and end up squeezing into the cases only to find not enough space and having to borrow a case from our hosts! Oops.
We finally got packed and left early. 2 stops on the way should still mean plenty of time to get to the airport in plenty of time.
It has taken me a few days to finish this post and blog. The flight home was a real anticlimax. We had made our home in Ste Genevieve and had enjoyed the company of our famil to across the pond and the travel home is always the downer at the end of the holiday. 
It has been nearly 4 days since we landed back home and I am still exhausted. The jet lag and lack of sleep on the plane meant that my body clock is completely all over the place.
We have all taken this week to try and get back to a routine but currently all struggling but our adventure as a family was amazing.
For me the highlight must have been completely falling in love with baseball ⚾ and the cardinals. My perception of the sport versus what we experienced we al came away with this feeling.
We had an amazing experience in the US. Our hosts must also be getting over having the Cooper clan in their house for so long and making sure we were suitably entertained. 
We learnt about food, customs, and how real life is both similar and different which we wouldn't have got from a resort or just staying in hotels.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Day 13 - Last full day in the USA

Early start to the Sunday. The Premier League started this weekend and Sunday saw both Manchester teams in action so we headed north to St Louis again to the Amsterdam tavern. This bar shows all of the Premier League games live in TV and simultaneously if the games are on at the same time. 
Man U v Brighton and Leicester v Brentford both started 8:30 am US time and the bar was packed full of Man U supporters. I was one of only a couple of people in a Brighton top. My son Isaac was in his Man City top prepared for the second match Man city v West Ham.
It was a bad morning for the reds with them losing 2-1 but I didn't fell ostracized in any way. 
As that game finished the bar started to fill with hammers supporters so we took a table inside and enjoyed the City win.
Lunch was then a stop at one of the American chain restaurants Crackle barrel. Food here was a typical American menu god sizes portions and a gift shop too.  I wonder if I ever open a bar or restaurant then a gift shop would have to be part of it!
The tables also had a cool little puzzle on them to keep the kids busy. I was really surprised how quickly they solved it.

After lunch back to the house for a quick dip in the pool and to watch my new favourite sporting team - the Cardinals beat the New York Yankees in a 3 game sweep. 
Before the end of the day we had a chance to play wiffle ball, which is essentially a back yard version of baseball with a short flight ball and a lighter bat.
A film before bed with a last slice of Oreo ice-cream cake rounded off the day nicely. 

Day 12 - Birthday celebrations

So today was a day for celebrating my birthday with Rhett and Shelley's family. It was really nice to meet and talk to more "real American people" and talk about our similarities and differences.
It was really good talking about work too as some of the guests are teachers too.
Challenges that we all face in the classroom are common both sides of the pond. 
I was blessed and honoured to receive some more presents including some American candy and some homemade zucchini bread.
We also had cake today. Oreo ice-cream cake. The whole thing was ice cream and truly delicious. Never before have I had a cake like this. 

The afternoon spent in the pool playing volleyball and relaxing. 
Being able to just chill enjoy the weather and have the luxury of the pool. 

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Day 11 - Top Golf and shopping

Having now seen lots of the sights in St Louis today was a day of recreation. 
Top golf in St Louis is. Like a driving range in the UK with a difference. The balls here are tracked and you can see where the ball has gone nas get awarded points based on which area it landed. Pretty neat really.
We had an attentive host that made sure we were ok and had drinks and snacks topped up in a regular basis. The computer tracking system has got other game options including playing angry birds. 
This meant we all were playing a fun game trying to blow up all the pigs.

The afternoon was bargain hunting in the outlet mall, and we found some good bargains in the shops. I'm not sure we have enough space in our suitcases going home. We may need a FedEx box to send stuff home!

Friday, 5 August 2022

Day 10 - Six Flags St Louis

Theme parks are the same the world over but each park has a unique mixture of rides and attractions. I have been teaching a student this past year who is rollercoaster geek, I say this affectionately, and he knows a ridiculously vast amount about coasters, including their age, twists, loops, cost etc. 
Six flags in St Louis was opened in 1971 so has been around for a long time. It is home to a number of Batman themed rides.
We arrived at the park early and was allowed in to the first area where there are restrooms, a couple of shops and eateries open. I spent the day with my eldest son and we had a plan to essentially hit as many rides as possibly from the start. 
Well it was a Wednesday in ugust. The weather was hot and we managed to get on most rides without a wait. The park was big enough and there weren't the crowds we expected so our longest wait was at most 5 minutes. 
Pre-booked tickets saved half the ticket cost and we pre-booked a meal deal.
Unfortunately our day was cut short by the weather but we had managed to get on most of the rides.
The old wooden rollercoasters there are an experience in themselves. Loud, rattling, and super fast. They attack all of the senses. We were both ill-prepared for these but they were great. 
If you are into rides and rollercoasters then definitely worth a visit.
Got back to Ste Genevieve in time for a quick swim in the pool before the heavens opened and an almighty thunder storm rattled away until about 4 in the morning. 
Dinner was a couple of large pizzas. 
Yes that is a 50p coin for size comparison. It puts the large UK pizzas into the small USA category. These beasts would not have fit in my oven back home! 

Wednesday, 3 August 2022