I love almost every part of this trip.

First, there’s the leaving work as early as we can, though I suspect today that won’t be until 4-ish. Then we go home and get our stuff and change clothes. Then there’s the train ride to Amsterdam, which is when we’re really underway, taking off kilometers between us and home. We generally go first class when we have big suitcases, because there’s more room for them.

Then we stay in the Citizen M hotel by Schiphol; this is so that we don’t have to leave at 5Am tomorrow, and risk trains not running or road closures, both of which do happen often on weekends here. It’s also because Citizen M is extremely comfortable (the whole far end of the tiny room is a giant bed) and amuses me greatly.

Then there are the less favorite parts: checking in and getting through the airport, though this is greatly ameliorated by being able to sit in the quiet frequent-flyers’ lounge (it turns out that a lot of the reasons airports are so stressful is just the noise and lack of comfy seats). Then there’s the flight, another part that’s not my favorite unless we happen to get upgraded. Still, at least going this way I have Ted there for company.

Then there’s the arrival in the Portland airport, which is fairly small and comfortable for being in a big city. It’s also the moment of arrival on American soil, which always makes me a little teary. Then there’s the finding out what sort of car we get, and the drive to our house, which is pretty and takes off that last bit of distance. And this weekend, no rain is predicted.

And then there’s the shopping trip on the way home, to revel in the plenty that is an American supermarket, buying the favorite snacks and luscious steaks and giant shrimp we can’t get here, and the asparagus that’s much more expensive here.

And finally, there’s arrival, lugging in our suitcases and using our very own keys on our very own door, wandering around to see if anything has changed and being glad when it hasn’t – except this trip, when we’ll get to sink into the giant squishy sofa that I bought last time and which was delivered over the summer, courtesy of my helpful in-laws who were there to let the delivery in). Then there’s wandering down to stand on the dock and get reacquainted with the lake.

Then if we’re very good, there’s a short erg piece (rowing machine) just to make up for so much sitting, then preparing our dinner and a bottle of local wine, and then the sleeping in our own bed.

3 more hours until it all begins…..