My Beijing “Vacation”

My Beijing “Vacation”

How do you define a vacation?

For Damon, vacation means he is on official leave.  Time and place don’t matter.

For me, vacation means I’m lying by the beach/pool/someplace warm with trashy magazine an intellectual book in one hand and an adult beverage in the other.  Preferably one with an umbrella in it.

So when Damon got home from work on Wednesday evening (the night before we left for Beijing) and exclaimed, “We’re on vacation!” I had to disagree with him.

Unless he was going to fold two loads of laundry and pack five days worth of clothes, extra clothes, diapers, wipes, medicine, portable snacks, and toddler entertainment, we were certainly not on vacation.

Though I don’t agree with Damon’s mentality, I understand it.  When I had a paying job, vacation meant time off that job and usually travel somewhere to enjoy that time off.  But since my job now is rearing a child, I’m not technically on vacation until I am away from my child.  Which is pretty much never.

So while our trip to Beijing was a truly great trip (despite my lack of planning), I wouldn’t call it a vacation.

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

Because to me, a vacation is not:

-Getting practically cavity searched at the airport because you’ve packed baby food pouches in your carry on. (That didn’t actually happen on this trip, but it has in the past.)

-Flying on a several hour flight with a sweaty toddler attached to your chest.

-Washing poopy onesies out by hand in your hotel bathroom’s sink

-Waking every morning between 3:45-4:45AM because your baby will only go back to sleep if she is sharing your twin bed with you, squeezing your face, neck, chest and arm fat until your entire upper body is numb.  (But not your husband, who sleeps comfortably in the other twin bed, oblivious to the arm-fat squeezing happening to you a few feet away.)

-Eating in mediocre restaurants that your tour company has pre-arranged.

-Anxiety that your family is going to be killed because the van you’re riding in has no seatbelts and the driver likes to pass about 7 cars at one time into oncoming traffic at dangerously high speeds.

-Annoyance that your entire family is going to be killed before you even make it to the Great Wall.  Can’t your driver wait to kill you on the drive home?

-Countless number of people touching your child while you’re touring, and countless of other people hovering around your table at restaurants to watch your child eat.

People stopping to take photos of Elisabeth.

Elisabeth (with our tour guide) was the greatest tourist attraction of all.

I think that about sums up what a vacation should not be.  That’s not to say we didn’t have a wonderful, memorable trip.  I’m truly grateful for the opportunity.  I mean, we walked along the Great Wall of China, people!  It was awesome!  (And not awesome in the “Dude, that’s so awesome” way.  But actually awesome in the “awe-inspiring” way.)  We visited historical sites and re-learned things we had been taught before but forgotten.  I’m smart again!  We walked through beautiful, old temples and palaces.  We ate delicious Peking duck! (At a restaurant of our choosing.)  Damon and I will certainly cherish our trip.  But now I need a real vacation to recover, and a nanny to accompany me.

Bali, anyone?

The Great Wall

The Great Wall


  1. … did you see the babies pooping on the streets?

  2. I have to agree with your definition of what a vacation is and is not. However, the photo of the three of you on the Great Wall is priceless!!! Aunt Fran

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *