We are going to the US for Christmas. I am really looking forward to this, for the following reasons:
1. Seeing my family (and friends)!!! We haven't seen them since July.
2. Meeting new family members. R has two new girl cousins (my sister's daughter and B's brother's daughter), both born in October. I can't wait to see them for the first time (especially my sister's baby, because I am genetically biased).
3. R is finally old enough to really enjoy kid-centered outings. I want to take her all around the Bay Area to the things I used to enjoy. We did a little of this on our last visit, but I plan to do a lot more this time (maybe R will hate the carseat less? I can hope.) I'm thinking Fairyland, Tilden Park again (we haven't ridden the train yet...), a few museums and of course hiking (a rare thing for us urban dwellers: Bay Area people are so lucky with their park opportunities).
4. Shopping! Everything in the US is incredibly cheap (I know Americans don't realize this, but it's so true, especially for consumer goods like clothes, electronics, books...), and the selection is much better. I plan to buy as many books as I can transport home, plus wardrobes for the next 6-12 months for all family members.
5. Free babysitting. B and I will be doing a lot of "date nights" I expect (especially because there are so many movies I want to see coming out soon, like The Hobbit and Les Miserables).
Plus Christmas in Singapore is kind of lame so being able to celebrate surrounded by our families, and watching R experience the magic of the holiday, is really special.
To double the excitement, we are visiting Japan for a week on the way home. We haven't firmed up our plans yet, but I think we might visit Hiroshima (and the famous nearby Shinto island shrine) and Japan's most famous castle, Himeji-Jo, which will up my UNESCO list by three. We also need to visit a rabbit attraction (maybe the rabbit shrine in Tokyo? or the rabbit geisha in Nagoya?).
The Ghibli Museum is also a must-see (given R's recent activities). We visited it last time we were in Japan, and I got scolded by the museum staff for trying to play in the Cat Bus. Now with R as my "ticket" I can do so freely!