Though the length of our stay here in the US is as yet unknown we don't want the children to lose touch with the other cultures they have been growing up in. So to that end, we are sending Elijah back to Canberra for his summer holidays and Joshua back to Germany for most of his. Elijah is specifically going back to play rugby with his old club since the coaching and opportunities here are lower and fewer. Joshua is largely going because we are awesome parents.
Of course, for us it isn't as simple as ponying up a pile of cash for the airline tickets. Our entry visas to the US have expired and -- though our immigration status is perfectly legal -- must be renewed before the boys will be allowed to re-enter the US after departure. Somewhat inconveniently, one must leave the country and re-apply for the visas at a US Consulate. Even though Mexico is only a couple of hours away, we've decided to head the opposite direction and will visit the consulate in Vancouver, British Columbia. The decision is primarily for processing time -- Tijuana typically takes nine days and Vancouver two -- since one must stay out of the country until the visa is processed. Though we certainly would like to visit Mexico at some time in the future, it just doesn't work at this stage.
So we are treating the 4400km (2700 miles) round-trip -- roughly Port Macquarie to Cairns and back again -- as this year's family summer holiday. If all goes to plan, we should have a few days in Vancouver with little to do but enjoy it. In addition, we'll also get to stop in and see a few friends on the way up and back.
Now all I have to do it make sure the van is up to the task ...
 I should know, having just finished as Head Coach of the boys' club.
 Or for our European friends, Amsterdam to Lisbon and back again.