Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: A year in thanks

I'm a big fan of New Years Day, it's basically my favorite day of the year. This of course helps me get the year started off right if I'm like 'hey day! I freaking love you!' so it sets a good tone.

Right now I'm planning out some goals for 2014, not something I've always done, but something I desperately need now, being a self employed gal and all.

While I'm doing that,  I thought to take a quick break and look back on 2013 and thank God for His epic Grace in my life and take a moment to be thankful for a good year. (Every year above ground is a good year hey?)

January:  Starting of a new year as a new wife in a new country, snow, fireworks, Manito Park discoveries, First Friday art walks, brand new gifted sewing machine.

February:  Short winter month, first sign of Daffodils in the store, Princess Bride at Bing Crosby theatre for the first time, 3 years with my favorite person romantically, home made chicken tikka masala, Tulips appearing in stores.

March: 28 years alive, hiking, the immediate outdoors in my back yard, befriending Willful/Joyful, downtown parades, more Manito Park discoveries

April: 6 months of wedded bliss, longer days, cabin fever lifting, more hiking, internship that averted crazy housewife meltdowns, GREEN CARD APPROVED, running

May: Completing Bloomsday, Spring whispers, longer day trips, waterfalls, yellow fields, blogging, Turnbull wildlife refuge, not wearing winter jackets

June: Yellowstone camping, bears and majestic mountains, a patient husband, free camping sites, fires and yes... more hiking, more outdoors, more roadtrips

July: Glorious summer, long days, shorts and sandals, long weekends, North Cascades camping, best hike ever, yard sales, my parents visiting, Spokane, getting my USA drivers license.

August: The Olympic peninsula camping, the humor of Forks WA, farmer's markets, picnics in the park, ice cream walks, an understanding husband.

September:  Camping with Chestnut Mocha, the county fair, last days of summer, roses, free concerts in the park, pumpkin patches and pick your own flowers for $5, surviving and learning from a depressing office job, starting the whole 30 and loving it.

October: one year of marriage to the best man in the world, ending the whole 30 challenge, Fall colors, fall anniversary camping in Washington, basically fall everything.

November: Survived and loved my first year in the USA, self employment, a supportive husband, thanksgiving like in the movies, heat included in the rent, in laws that live don't far away, Ben's promotion, free Gonzaga basketball games.

December: Another hot springs trip with friends, knowing that we'll book our tickets to South Africa soon, Christmas parties, Christmas with Ben's family, new Christmas traditions, Love Actually, snow tubing again, Christmas eve church service, Photoshop, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Christmas gift, Ben's time off, discovering snow shoeing, snow, a general good feeling about 2014.

We're richly blessed beyond what we deserve, for that I'm so thankful.

What were you most thankful for this year?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

These are the days

It was December 2011, the year I would leave teaching in Vietnam, bring my ‘life partner’ Ben with me to South Africa and visit the US for the first time. This visit had my first American Christmas in store, an engagement and a trip to these hot springs in middle of nowhere Idaho. So saying I have a sentimental attachment to visiting these hot springs would be true. What makes this place even more special is that we were able to bring myparents here in the summer. 

I thought about all these things on our short trip there with our relatively new and special friends. Then I thought about how I was thinking about that. I thought about that because I didn’t want to get too caught up in the past, memories and the general melancholy that is time flying by at an uncontrollable speed. Here I am, two days later, fondly looking at these pictures, thinking about that rustic cabin, the forehead game and the ‘had to be there’ moments shared with amazing people… Now I simply think and believe that ‘these are the days’. 

Aren’t they just? 

Check out this post by Katie of Chestnut Mocha about our trip there for beautiful pictures and stories of our trip. Also, keep your eye on Amanda's blog Willful/Joyful for post on our trip, another talented writer and photographer. My oh my I adore the company of inspiring people. 

P.S. - Did you know that I met Amanda on Instagram and Katie via our blogs! I'll never stop thinking that's cool.

P.P.S- I'm rather proud of my Instagram posts from our trip, so hey, follow me, it's fun there. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dear South Africa

Dear South Africa,

It's - 9 outside, the sun pretends to be shining but it's kind of sucking at it, and I'm cold. Even inside my 'heat included in the rent' apartment. I'm trying my very best not to think of you, you with your 'Skool vakanie is hier' summer vibe going on. Then I read this article about moving back to SA and my best intentions of embracing yet another Christmas without my family and this stupid cold went out the window (which you must know, is impossible because all my windows are double glass and shut super tight).

I also just had a nice long chat with my parents on Viber, about the places we'll go and the meat we'll eat once we do come visit you, hopefully early next year. My goodness do I need you, I need your affordable lamb chops and wine, your beaches, your lions, Woolworths! I need Woolworths!

It feels necessary somehow, to write this letter to you. It's after a year of leaving you that I need to say, it wasn't you, it was me. I didn't leave because I thought you were going to the dogs, or because of that awkward 'held at gunpoint' incident of early 2012. I left due to meeting this super hot guy while cheating on you with Vietnam, sorry about that by the way. So, yeah, something about leaving for love.

Don't be too concerned about me though, I don't hate it here in this strange land,  I will even miss this place once I leave some day. Isn't that just the lot of an expat? Your heart get's left in all these places and you wonder if you'll ever totally feel at home in one place again. Might just be me. Maybe home is not about a place?

I just wanted to write to you and say I'm totally rooting for you. You're one of kind. I know you have problems, turns out, so does every other country. Despite the etolls and that clown of a current  president, I still think you're the best country on earth and I still can't imagine saying that we'll never move back. I don't know if and when, but I also don't know a ton of other things. Like the rules of rugby (still) and what the hell EFF stands for, because surely it can't actually stand for Economic Freedom Fighters can it?

This letter isn't really about me being homesick for you, or about listing the 204 things I miss about you, I just thought we should, you know, touch base. Let you know that I'm thinking about you and that despite not hanging out for a while I'm still totally crazy about you.


'n boeremeisie x

2 hours after I first posted this: I just learned that Madiba has passed away. I've typed out at least 7 different sentences here and I keep deleting them, I guess nothing can really be said other than rest in peace great man. We love you.