After a excruciatingly long fourteen month wait, we finally went on our first family holiday abroad this summer. Why did you book so far in advance we hear you ask? Well, to start with, this was the first time we had ever been on holiday during the school summer holidays. Our jaws hit the floor when we saw how much the price of holidays increased during August. How is that even allowed?! This was also our first time paying for two children on holiday. As you can probably understand, we needed over a year to even be able to afford the holiday! In addition to this, 2017 was just not a good year for us to go away as we were completing our court proceedings and moving into our own home. To be honest, the long wait and the count down (there were 468 days to go when we booked it!) just added to all the excitement.
We wanted to take our niece and nephew somewhere we had already been before, for the simple reason that we would know how to get around and not have to spend the first few days finding our feet. After going over every possible option, we decided on Pefkos, Rhodes. This was where we went on our first holiday together five years ago and knew it would be perfect destination for our first family holiday. We were both so excited to return and see what had changed and reminisce about the memories we made back when we were childless and carefree.
One could say that we got a little carried away with the pre-holiday shopping. Why is kids beach wear just so adorable?! Aunt in particular could not stop buying unnecessary items of clothing. Praise the lord for Primark. This is where booking a holiday fourteen months in advance is an error. You have far too much time to buy far too much stuff. Obviously, the kids needed a new summer wardrobe as they had grown at a ridiculous rate over the past two years, but we took it to a whole other level. But they were the best dressed kids on the island, so there!
Aunt is rather organised and packed the suitcases a week before the holiday (mainly so that none of the clothes could be worn and therefore need to be washed). And, brace yourselves, even Uncle packed his bags more than 24 hours in advance. The day before the holiday finally arrived and it hit us: we are going to responsible for two children whilst travelling to another country. Why is this even allowed?! Again, this was something we had never experienced before.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and went through the rigamarole of check-in and security without any hiccups. We were a little anxious about passport control as there were a lot of different surnames on our passports, but it was all smooth sailing. We then had a quick bite to eat before checking the big screens for our flight information. And as luck was have it, our flight way delayed by 3 whole hours. Noooooo. Our first thought was “how on earth are we going to keep the kids entertained?!” They aren’t the type of children who will sit contently on the iPad for hours, they need to be active. But they were so good and patient. Apart from the fact that Nephew kept asking if we were in Greece yet… whilst sat in the departure lounge. That got a little grating. After what felt like 53 years, we were finally on the plane. The 4 hour plane journey flew by (pardon the pun), with the only issue being who would sit next to the window. We were finally in Rhodes!
Pefkos was as beautiful as we remembered and after finally crashing out in our room at 1am, we were ready for our first proper day. We are not a family of early risers. Nephew in particular has to be shaken awake most mornings. Hence why throughout the holiday our waking hours were 10am to 1am! Gone were the days of having a post-sunbathing nap. Parents cannot afford such luxuries. But once we were finally up and ready, we made our way down to the beach. First things first: we hate the pool. The pool is too loud and too busy and you have to sit close to other English families who may have the audacity to want to “make friends”. No thank you. We aren’t arseholes (much), its just that the whole reason we come on holiday is to spend quality time together alone.
The walk down to the beach was long and slow (especially when you have a 6 year old in tow who stops to look at everything shiny), but so worth it. We spent the majority of the time jumping waves, floating out to sea, building sandcastles and lazing in the sunshine. We also stumbled across a quiet little pool bar which was halfway between our hotel and the beach which was run by a Greek family. So we spilt our days between the two. Now for the evenings. We forgot to mention that Uncle cannot cope with heat. So Greece in August was not exactly ideal for him. He would spend all day long in the water or shade. This also meant that we couldn’t go to dinner before 9pm once it was slightly cooler. As soon as we set foot outside, our nice and nephew would ask if we were going to ‘Jasmine’. Any of you parents out there that have taken your children abroad will have experienced a ‘Jasmine’. It is one of those bars that sell about 934309 different cocktails and attached to this little gem is a noisy, hazard-filled play area. Every parents nightmare, every child’s dream. So we obviously had to spend every night there. It was actually really great to sit down just the two of us sipping on pina coladas whilst the kids ran themselves ragged on an inflatable death trap.
Understandably, we got a few curious looks from other holiday makers. We all look very different (apart from Uncle and Nephew, who look like twins) and the kids call us by our first names. You could literally see the little cogs in people heads turning trying to work out our family structure. We don’t remember any adults referring to us as mummy and daddy and having to correct them, but other children definitely did. One girl asked niece “is that your dad?” and she simply responded with “no that’s my uncle”. So matter of fact and to the point.
They say time flies when you’re having fun, but that really wasn’t the case. Those two weeks went by at a blissful speed. We weren’t necessarily ready to come home, but we didn’t feel like we had been cheated out of extra days either. But more importantly: we had survived!! We didn’t lose the kids at sea, no one got sick and we didn’t kill each other! Hurrah! Thankfully our flight home wasn’t delayed and we were home with no dramas. Oh. Apart from passport control back in the UK. Just to get you up to speed: uncle and nephew have the same surname, niece has a different surname (which was changed as part of out court proceedings but we booked our holiday before that so didn’t change her passport), and aunt has a different surname too. Thus began the questioning around how we were all related. As you can imagine, the poor passport officer looked a little taken aback when we explained our life story and showed him a copy of our special guardianship order.
And that concludes the summary of our first ever holiday as a not so average family. Now just to start the countdown to the next one!