It became apparent to me around October that my office would be closed over Christmas and New Years, while Ron would be continuing to work a mostly normal schedule. I mentioned this to my mom in passing, and she suggested that instead of spending those few days lonely and bored at home, that she buy me a flight home as a Christmas present. After mentioning this solo trip to Ron's family, his dad secretly convinced Ron to come home as well, and gifted him with his own Christmas ticket! So, for two months we prepared for the upcoming surprises. And the closer it came, the harder and harder it became not to slip up! We even got to fly premium economy for the first time on this flight (what a life of luxury!), and couldn't gush to our families about how high-class we felt.
When we landed in St Louis, my parents picked us up from the airport and then dropped us off outside the house before opening the garage. Knowing that my sister (who thought they were out doing something else) would come to greet them in the kitchen, Ron and I snuck in the front door and popped around the corner to surprise her! But the surprise was far from over. The next morning, Ron's family came to St Louis to meet me for lunch, because as far as his mom knew I'd flown in alone for this trip. So as we sat at the table chatting, he snuck up and tapped her on the shoulder to catch her off guard! After the lunch, Ron went back to Columbia to spend as much time as possible with his family during our short visit, while I stayed in St Louis. He was so thrilled to celebrate Christmas with everyone, and to finally meet his new (and first!) nephew, Cooper. Based on these photos he sent me, it looked like they bonded famously!
Meanwhile, my sister's boyfriend arrived that night to join us for board games, at which point we surprised him too. And after a long evening of Yatzee and very strong danish wine, we woke up bright and early to prepare for the Jincks family Christmas brunch, which was also the scene for surprising my brother and sister-in-law. Mom set up the surprise by asking them to help her connect to Skype, since they still thought I was joining the Christmas festivities digitally, from England. Finally, the secret was out and we could enjoy the rest of our visit openly! We finished up our Christmas party with games and LOTS and LOTS of food!
A trip to St Louis would also be incomplete without a night of margaritas and Mexican food with Kristen! And then, once we had our fill (and finished disturbing the rest of the restaurant with our antics), we met up again in the morning to say goodbye over breakfast.
During my visit, we also decided to stop by the brand new St Louis aquarium, complete with World's Fair style rides and games, a mirror maze, and of course, the beautiful marine habitats to explore.
Finally, Ron came back to St Louis and together we wrapped up our trip with the traditional Jincks family New Year's Eve dinner at Kobe's Japanese Steakhouse. Afterward, we tried our luck at the Casino, ringing in the new decade to the sweet sound of $33 in winnings! Can't wait to see what 2020 has in store...