19 February 2017

USA Bucket List

Already I'm in the midst of scheduling out what we'll be doing and where we'll be going during our trip to the USA. What at first seemed like it would be a really long trip is quickly filling up to the brim once we've realized how much there is to do. Everything on this list does not include the fact that we'll be spending time visiting all sorts of family members and friends, tackling a bunch of paperwork tasks involved in living abroad, or the fact that I'm throwing a college/high school graduation open house for two of my sisters, and I'm the wedding planner/day-of-coordinator for my sister's wedding. All of that is assumed. (what have we gotten ourselves into?!) Also, I know 'bucket list' isn't quite the right term, but it sounds so much cooler than 'checklist', so I'm using it.


1. Joe T. Garcia's fajitas in Fort Worth
2. El Arriero's nachos al carbon in Grand Rapids
3. Arby's (you can judge me if you want. I'm not the type to say 'don't judge'. Feel free.)
4. Bongiorno's Pizza in Michigan (seriously the best pizza I've ever had in my life. We had it for our wedding rehearsal dinner. No regrets. I recommend it for all wedding rehearsal dinners.)
5. Five Guys
6. Some traditional Mexican taqueria food, there's good ones in both MI and TX
7. Conchas (for Angel only. I have never learned to like these.)
8. Hobo Pies (cooked over a bonfire on the farm)
9. Angel's grilled carne asada tacos.
10. Rosa's in TX (Angel says they have good margaritas. Maybe I can let him have one once every couple years...)
11. Panda Express (Angel's request. Seriously. After living in Asia three years eating amazing Chinese food all the time)
12. Some really classic American diner breakfast food.


1. Mini-golfing
2. Disneyland/California Adventure (maybe just me by myself)
3. Bois Blanc Island
4. Riding bikes near the farm
5. Joshua Tree National Park
6. Take family photos
7. Tour Bureau of Engraving and Printing (money!) in Fort Worth
8. Dinosaur Valley State Park
9. Minor League Baseball Game
10. Swing Dancing
11. Visit our Alma Mater
12. See a Memorial Day Parade
13. Visit the lakeshore of at least one of the Great Lakes
14. See a beach in California
15. Take some new "Bear" photos
16. Visit Frankenmuth
17. See our old cat Morphine
18. Outdoor picnic
19. Hiking
20. Kayak/Boat of some kind
21. Arcade
22. Roller Skating


1. A new laptop
2. Some clothing basics--cropped leggings, camis, socks. A new swimsuit for me.
3. Asics Gel Kayanos for Angel--you can get them at least $30 cheaper in the USA. Angel was trying to excite my sympathy by showing me how worn his Asics are on the bottom, and I said, "Don't think of them as OLD running shoes, think of them as NEW racing flats." He wasn't amused.
4. Maybe a new pair of Chacos for me. After 5 years of hard use, mine are showing signs of weakness, although I think they still have some life in them yet.
5. Hair Stuff! Obviously. Stock up on blue, purple, pink, etc. haircolors. I need new haircut combs and maybe a new pair of leftie shears (yeah, try finding leftie shears on the side of the world where your students audibly gasp when you start writing on the whiteboard with your left hand), Feather razor blades.
6. School supplies--a new year of homeschool begins in August, so we'll be bringing back some school books for my little sisters. Plus we'll be keeping an eye out for teaching resources that would be fun and practical for Angel to use in his EFL classes.
7. Art/Sewing supplies. I feel like my list grows a little longer with each new technique I attempt. Michael's and Hobby Lobby coupons will be good thing. :) I'll try to pick up a variety of sewing patterns.

There will be no sleeping. As Mom always says, "You can sleep when you're dead."

Our family has a tradition. When people visit us, or when we go on trips, we'll make a list just like this. The cool thing is that our family treats the list like actual rules...not as mere guidelines. If you write it on the list, we'll make it happen. If it's not on the list, it's not gonna happen. Therefore--you better write it on the list!

So, tell me, what did I forget to put on my list? I'm sure it'll only get longer as the trip gets closer! I feel like I still need a few more activities for while we're in Texas...

What would be your must-do after being away from your birth country for 3 years?
Farrah said...

I'd probably go to town on eating a ton of different things and would want to spend time with friends/family + visit all my old favorite "haunts"...and go hiking + exploring! <3!

I laughed about the Panda Express, hahaha. :P

Suzanne said...

Ha! What a great idea to make a list to ensure you squeeze it all in. Looks like you are going to be very busy and not hungry at all ; P


The Lady Okie said...

Okay if you are coming all the way from Asia and fajitas in Fort Worth top your list, I really need to go there seeing as I'm 3 hours away! Also if you like fried chicken/chicken fried steak, Babe's in Texas (there are a few locations) is amazing. Cracking up over Panda Express. A man wants what he wants! Also, when jordan and I took a trip to South Dakota a few years ago, our lunch at Arby's was the best meal we had over 4 days so no judgement from me on that one!

The Lady Okie said...

Also, I've never been but my parents LOVE the Dallas arboretum if you'll be over that way. I'd like to go at some point. (That one is on my own list ;)

Anonymous said...

MINI GOLFING!!! Sounds SO fun. I haven't done anything fun outside in forever and was just thinking how this summer I really want to get outdoors. I worked so much last summer that I never took time to stop and smell the roses.

Madison Polihan said...

I'd probably do all the "touristy" stuff that I thought I was too cool for when I lived there. I'd also visit significant sites to my life.

Brita Long said...

This list cracks me up. But I totally get it. Now that I'm in Georgia and can visit my hometown in SC more often, going to all my local favorites is less important. But once upon a time, I had to eat at all my favorite restaurants!

Dan and I went to France a few months ago, where I used to live. Besides our touristy destinations and typical souvenirs, we also bought my favorite French groceries to take back (chips, cereal, tea--none of which is available in the States).

Anonymous said...

OMG! You're going to be in DFW! Jeez, the world is either really small or this metro area is really big XD. Enjoy!!!!

Rhiana said...

I recommend Bass Lake, CA if you're in the area. It's one of our favorite places!

Catherine Short said...

I love that you included a bunch of food. I'd visit In n' Out if you're going to California even just for my sake!

The Peculiar Treasure said...

With that schedule, you're going to HAVE to wait until your dead to sleep! ;) It'll be fun though!

by breharne said...

That is such a good idea to list all the things you want to do while you're there! I always get overwhelmed when I travel and always forget a bunch of stuff i wanted to do or buy!

Unknown said...

My list would be full of food, especially Southern food and Memphis barbecue. There's nothing better!

Shani Ogden said...

Wow, I seriously have no idea what I'd put on my list if I was visiting home after being gone so long! It looks like you have a great list though and I hope you get to do everything you want!

Rach said...

HA! Cracking up over your "NEW racing flats" comment! ;) Looks like you guys are going to have so much fun (and eat so much good food) while in the States!

Amanda Rosson said...

This looks like such a fun bucket list!! I absolutely LOVE that your family has a tradition of writing lists and then making them happen! If you're going to be in Anaheim, I HIGHLY suggest eating at Portillo's and getting their chocolate cake shake - it's all incredibly affordable too! I live in LA and my friends and I have made the hour drive to Anaheim just to satisfy a Portillo's craving lol.

Raluca L. said...

This is such a nice bucket list! You have planned a lot of things to do during your visit in the USA, so I think you will have a lot of fun!

AnneMarie said...

This looks like such an awesome list! I think it's a really neat idea to make lists like this. The Panda Express thing is hilarious :) I love Arby's (especially the fries!) and I approve wholeheartedly that you're making it a priority.
I was wondering, what are Hobo Pies?

Grady said...

HAHA This is so awesome! The best part, of course, being "no sleeping." You can't waste time doing that when there's so much other stuff to do! ;)

Carolann Chambers said...

I love your family's tradition! Nick is the same way. I will get all excited, make a list of all the things I want to do when I go somewhere or when someone wants to visit, and then when the time comes, I'll get lazy. So Nick will say, but it's on the list! We have to do it! If I were going to California I would really want to go to Yosemite National Park. I know it's far from Disneyland but I had to throw it out there. Whenever I go back to New York, where I grew up, I always have to eat pizza and a bagel, get coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and go to NYC if I have time. I grew up just a few minutes from the beach so I always try to make that happen too.

Krystal // The Krystal Diaries said...

Great bucket list! Food is so important when I go away. I love to try all different places to eat.

Unknown said...

Great list! I completely subscribe to the "who needs sleep" philosophy when traveling. YOLO! ;)

Unknown said...

Dude, Disneyland by yourself? Also, I like your bucket list graphic with the color palette.

I've also been thinking about this lately (the idea of making a 'going home' list). We're probably going to be crossing the ocean ourselves for Christmas this year, or perhaps in the spring of '18. It'll be our first time going back since we got here (4 years ago! Ahh!). I was actually planning to write a list and email it to my mom a month or so before we left. We've never had to deal with the international thing in my fam before, so it's been an interesting experience all around, I think.

My list will definitely include Mexican food...(miss that so much!) and I totally understand why Angel wants Panda Express (orange chicken!) Plus they totally change the food for Americans over there. It's spicier, and sweeter..and not that healthful, but tasty. American Chinese is definitely much more of a flavor bomb than it's European incarnation. Kinda miss it too sometimes.

Also, I'm from a seafood state, so there will definitely be crab cakes all around!

And, like you mentioned: clothes shopping (though your reasons sound more pragmatic). Want to visit all the familiar shops. It's the little things you kinda miss the most. *nods*

Leah | Five for the Road said...

I love this list!! There are so many exciting and fun things to do in the USA. Every year I have a few mini-road trips planned to see all the states!

Patty said...

What a great list! There is an Arby's less than a mile from my apartment, and I've got to be better at no late night runs there ;) Something about curly fries and a mocha shake that gets me!

California Globetrotter said...

Ugg Five Guys! I'm a California girl! It's all about In N Out! #MondayEscapes (

Tanja/the Red Phone box travels said...

fun list! #mondayescapes

April Berry said...

Wow! That's a very full list! Sounds like you will have a blast! I love the idea of getting the entire family involved in creating your vacation "bucket list". I may give that a try for our next big trip. #MondayEscapes

Ruth said...

Sounds interesting. Not sure why but Arby's caught my attention. I have never eaten there (but I think there are not a lot around where I live). #MondayEscapes

Tania @ Larger Family Life said...

And no doubt, no matter how much you've listed, there will always be more to add along the way! You're going to have a great time! #MondayEscapes

Corey @ fifi + hop said...

Love this! I got a kick out of reading it..Five Guys is one of my favorite burgers - you have to go if you haven't. I live in NY, but as for beaches in Cali, Big Sur! #mondayescapes

Karen said...

You are going to be super busy! I love how many food ideas are on your list too! That's what mine is like - always! Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

Sarah Christie said...

This look so amazing, we had planned to do this this year, but a teenager and GCSEs got in the way so we are shelving it until another year. Thanks so much for linking up #Mondayescapes x