Followers of this blog and The Carolina Bed & Breakfast’s social media accounts may have already seen that James and Susan aren’t here this week. For those of you who are not regular readers or just stumbled upon this post – I encourage you to put this blog on your bookmark list. As you’ll quickly figure out (no doubt this post will help you on your way) The Carolina Bed & Breakfast isn’t your run-of-the-mill business blog.
For all of you who don’t know where James and Susan are (from this point forward I shall just refer to them as my parents), they are currently walking across (yes ACROSS) England for the next month. While they are gone they have entrusted their inn to their incredible innkeeper Sara, and they have handed over their blog (for whatever insane reason) to me, their daughter Sarah, and they told me I can write about whatever I want to write about! Which I think is incredibly risky given my history of blog posts – but hey, like I said – this isn’t your run-of-the-mill blog.
So I get to be your guest blogger for the next month. I have no idea what you, or I am in for – but I guess we’ll find out.
My family lived in England for about six years from when I was six until I was twelve. We had British accents, we went to British schools, we loved “Top of the Pops” and The Spice Girls (who didn’t?) and Branson Pickle sandwiches (who did?). We thoroughly loved living there (can you tell I’m writing this blog post in my British accent?).
Anyway, my family is one of many traditions. I think we add a new tradition every time my family gets together or has a holiday. I often joke that in 30 years we’re just going to be one very long walking anecdote with so many traditions that we don’t do anything else.
We have added a fairly new family tradition that I am a big fan of. Any time anyone goes on a trip they have to write the whole family a daily summary of their trip via email. Think of it as a longer (and much faster) form of the postcard. AND if two people are on the trip then they switch off days – which makes it a delight to read, because you get someone else’s perspective.
My favorite part of my day right now is waking up in the morning, making my self a cup of tea, and sitting down to read about the adventure my parents had the day before.
Before they started on their epic walk my parents had a couple of days in our old stomping grounds to visit our old house, and our old pub, and our old school. They also had the opportunity to meet up with some of our (I won’t call them old) friends.
I had been struggling with what to start this guest blogging venture out with, and their update came as a gift.
I’ll just start at the beginning – and sit tight this is a long story….
Growing up overseas you learn very quickly that your family is your “tribe”. When you pick up and move they are going to be the only faces you know in your new home. It is always nerve-wracking (there’s another Brit-ism for you) when you are a new person in a new place, and especially so when you are in a new country and you are a kid.
We had moved to England from Hong Kong, which is quite a culture shock. BUT we were lucky enough to have moved not only with our family, but with two other families that had lived in Hong Kong with us and were our closest friends. This was sheer luck, it wasn’t planned, I have no idea how it happened, but suddenly our tribe of 5 was a tribe of 16!!
The Godfrey’s and the Millers. My extended family until I was twelve, they were such a massive part of my life in so many ways.
So fast forward to Murray expedition 2016 and my parents met up with Godfrey’s and Millers. We got a picture text of my parents at dinner with the Millers, and it inspired this blog post.
When my parents announced to me 8 years ago that they were opening a bed and breakfast I was a little confused and a little concerned. Confused because it didn’t sound like there was anything fun involved in running a bed and breakfast and this was their retirement plan (aren’t you supposed to play golf or something?) and concerned because….there doesn’t sound like anything fun involved in running a bed and breakfast. And I’ve pretty much stayed confused for the last 8 years, I’m just not concerned anymore.
BUT! When this picture of the Millers and my parents at dinner showed up on my phone, I had what Oprah would call an “Ah-Hah” moment. Because my parents had essentially been running a bed and breakfast MANY years before they were officially running one.
Now we’re going to rewind…..
There are not words to write here about how lucky I am to have been given the family that I have. There are so so so many happy memories that I have, that I’m sure one day it will make a very obnoxious and ridiculous memoire. Some of my favorite memories are the summers spent in England with the Godfrey’s and the Miller’s. I use the term “Summer” loosely to indicate how endless the days felt and the absence of having to go to school, but there really isn’t “summer” in England so it could have been any time of the year.
The Murray’s and the Godfrey’s and the Miller’s ran a rolling kid’s bed and breakfast. It worked like this. Someone (let’s say the Godfrey’s) would decide to have everyone over for a day of food, and drinking (if you were a parent) and general merriment. We would play board games, sometimes the parents would play board games without us, there were epic Nintendo battles, and climbing of trees, and shooting of bee-bee guns (that never worked out well) and forts built. The parents would sit outside and talk and enjoy the sun, and we would destroy the house and make trouble. At the end of a very long day and late at night as our parents got ready to leave we would beg, BEG them “Can we stay the night!? Please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze!?” And our parents would look at the Godfrey’s who would say “Ok.” And we’d all jump up and down and cram 12 little bodies into 4 beds and be up all night telling stories.
The next day the plan would begin early before the adults woke up. Do you think our parents would let us play here another day? Do you think your parents would!? We’d ambush them over breakfast and they would say “You have to ask your parents” and we’d get our plan together about how, and what we were going to say on the phone “We’re having so much fun mummy, and we don’t want to leave, do you think it would be ok, can we please, pleeeeeeeeeeze stay another day??”. In hindsight I can’t imagine that this was anything but a home run for Mom and Dad who had an entire extra day AND night to themselves.
So we’d stay another day. And hatch a plan in the middle of the night to see if we could convince our parents to have this make-shift summer camp/kids bed and breakfast continue at someone else’s house the next day. And we were always over-joyed when our parents said yes. Though, let’s face it, they were really just taking one for the team and paying the Godfrey’s back for letting us stay at and destroy their house for two or three days.
Those memories are some of my happiest. And I think I tell this story often, though it may be a product of how happy I felt, maybe it wasn’t as epic as I remember it, maybe my sisters have different memories, but it all came back again when my mom sent that picture over. None of them look older, they look just the same, I love them just the same. And that was when I realized, that a bed and breakfast had always been in the cards for my parents, because they had given us one long ago.