Nothing like a good surprise to spice up your life.  Some might even say that surprises are right up there with the best of adventures.

As you know, Judy’s been living in Australia since February 2022.

As soon as the Covid lockdown was announced in Australia I purchased her ticket and with a week’s notice she had packed up her life in Long Island (New York).

Sometimes surprises can be tough to deal with.

One day you’re given a week’s notice to move halfway around the world, the next you’re packing frantically and saying your goodbyes…

Not the best type of surprise for her mum, dad, and family I’m guessing.  Yep, all with me to blame!

Now as a counter to that we’ve been planning a trip to visit her family in New York since April when we purchased our tickets.

Initially, Judy was tossing up whether to keep it a surprise or tell her parents.

After much thought she decided to keep our trip to herself and surprise them.

As I write this week’s essay, I’m on the plane flying from Singapore to Newark (New Jersey).  It’s late and everyone is asleep except a few screens scattered around me.

Thinking back over the last six months keeping our trip secret has been quite a feat of arms…

There were days when Jude really wanted to tell them, but she held out and I’m guessing will give them a huge surprise.

To cover up our intentions Judy told her parents that she had to travel to North Queensland for a few days with her job.

Although Judy doesn’t have to travel with her job at Queensland Rail, many of her colleagues do exactly that so it isn’t far-fetched.

Judy can be very convincing when she puts her mind to it!

She said that given the remoteness of where she was going and the lack of cell reception  that she likely wouldn’t be able to call them during the few days she was going to be away.

Meanwhile prepping for our flight to Sydney and indeed onto Singapore and the US.

Here’s where this adventure got sticky!

When we were in Singapore, I posted a photo on Instagram (as I tend to do during my travel adventures) of planes and the airport.

As often happens I get comments to the posts and a mate of mine from Toronto asked if we were coming to North America…

Before I thought it through, I said yes, and that were going to New York to surprise her parents.

Judy saw the post and quickly reminded me that her sister-in-law Wanda follows me on Instagram.

Oi vey!

I quickly deleted my response (sorry Kieran), but literally moments later Wanda texted Jude to ask if we were coming to visit.

And you know the level of excitement in the text when it’s all in capitals.

Clearly, I had put my foot in the surprise…

What to do next?   We decided to ignore the text and if questioned later to say that we were in the air and therefore couldn’t respond.

Although that will only get us coverage on the initial deception as Wanda is super attentive and can put two and two together.

We’re just hoping that she didn’t then alert her parents to the fact of my post, deletion, and non-response with some follow up questions.

The next part of our surprise was to order bagels from a local store and have them delivered hot to her parents early Saturday morning.

We were going to order them when we were close to arriving so that we could literally follow them up the steps to the front door.

Of course, I’m planning on having my video ready to capture the reaction, I just hope I haven’t totally screwed up the surprise after all these months.

I’m thinking it’s a 50/50 proposition now of having kept the surprise…


Fortunately for us our cover wasn’t blown and were able to totally surprise Judy’s mum and dad.

In fact, Judy had ordered bagels to be delivered via Uber Eats prior to our arriving at 7:00 am and fortunately for us her parents were still in bed.   Not even the delivery, with clear instructions not to ring the doorbell woke them.

When we arrived the steaming hot bag of bagels was sitting on the front porch – nice touch!

No lights were on when we made our way up the front steps, and after opening the front door Judy decided to ring the doorbell instead of call out.

From upstairs we heard her mum ask whether her dad had left the front door open the night before with a hint of consternation in her voice…

We were hidden behind the front door in the foyer as her parents called out and made their way down the stairs.

Achieving total surprise was greeted with lots of hugs and tears all around.

Such a joyous homecoming moment and one that we’d planned for over six months finally came to fruition.

Of course, the questions came “how come you didn’t tell us?”

Jude just shrugged and said she liked surprises best.   That’s my girl!

Until next week where we explore New York city.