Monthly Archives: January 2013

Making Memories

This year Sebastiaan and his family joined me in the States for the holidays. While cultural differences and a crowded house caused a bit of stress along the way, it was absolutely wonderful to celebrate all together. Sebastiaan’s parents hadn’t been to the States in nearly 30 years so we spent much of the time showing them around my home town and visiting the capital for the first time. Of course, we also had to expose them to all things ultra-American (big cars, big portions and even bigger people…).  They joined our annual family Christmas party, meeting most of my extended family, took day trips to different cities in the area and got a glimpse into the life I left behind. Driving Sebastiaan’s family around my hometown, visiting my high school and having them meet many of my closets friends was an almost surreal experience. These two lives that for so long have seemed so separate were for a few days one. As usual, it was really tough leaving home, leaving that life behind and transitioning back into the one I’ve moved into.

As a Christmas present to Sebastiaan’s family, my parents asked a photographer and close friend of mine to come over and take some portraits at the house. Not only did we have a blast taking the pictures, but they came out beautifully and are memories we’re sure to cherish for a lifetime. While I think I’ll need a bit more time before I’m ready for another group vacation, looking back, I feel pretty lucky have 2 amazing families to call my own. 🙂


A New Year a New…

The start to a new year always leaves me feeling a bit uneasy. I can’t help but feel pressure to make some drastic change in my life or evaluate my actions over the past 12 months.

Living abroad, without the same support I’m used to, and dealing with the personal tragedies of the past two years have left me with noticeably less energy for heroic action. In fact, during my little annual end of year assessment I noticed that, perhaps as a kind of coping mechanism, I’ve spent the past year merely existing, gliding through life with blinders on- paying little attention to the details and unable to muster and real (although trust me I’ve learned how to fake it) enthusiasm.

To be fair, at least to myself, maybe that’s all I could handle at the time. My time abroad hasn’t exactly been what I imagined. That’s not to say that I haven’t had many amazing and absolutely unforgettable experience, but all in all it was a lot tougher than anticipated. I guess in some ways I kind of didn’t expect ‘life’ to follow me over here. I thought planning weekend trips and adjusting to quirky cultural difference would be the biggest obstacles I’d face. Turns out that’s not the case… Instead I spend a lot of my time worrying about the things I used to worry about back home- bills, work, my relationship and more than ever, the health of my family.

I’ve kind of always been one to fall for the whole “the grass is greener” ruse and this experience has been no exception. I’ve learned, albeit the hard way, the grass is just green. It’s that simple. Life, all the wonderful and the horribly tragic parts of it, will follow you wherever you go. While some places might include a bit more sunshine and familiar faces than others, you just can’t escape all the nuances of this thing called life.

So, that being said, we’ve all got a choice. We can spend our time stressed, anxious, self-conscious and far too preoccupied with the little things or open our eyes (literally and figuratively) and look at the big picture. I have so much to be thankful for and while life’s speed bumps may slow me down now and again, it’s all about keeping the momentum going.

Here’s to facing this year on the right foot, head on with open eyes 🙂


Bringing in 2013 with the best of friends!