I started writing this post a few days ago and then stopped. I thought: there’s just no way that I can talk about this year in a positive light. There’s no sugar coating it: 2012 was a tough year for me in all kinds of ways. We had to move again and were without a home for five long months. Robert’s Dad passed away and my Dad struggled with his health issues. Money was tight. We did not do our usual travels. But we did a lot of reassessing of what we want in life and I realized how much I love living internationally in spite of it all. But stress was through the roof for a myriad of reasons that I won’t go into here. Let’s just say that this was not an easy year.
All that said, it feels like things may be turning around. I started a new job in October and we are finally living in a new small apartment with most of our stuff, while the rest is in a storage unit. So I am calling 2013 our rebuilding year. As I sit in my parent’s house on new year’s eve in Cincinnati, I am hopeful for what is to come.
Because of this optimism, I don’t want to focus on all the tough stuff. Instead, I want to remember some of the wonderful moments of 2012. Because yes, even in a tough year, there were many good times with family and friends. Here are a few highlights:
In February, we arrived back in Sydney and enjoyed a knock-out Thai dinner with friends Jenny and Bill. Robert and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in style on the beach and did a lot of exploring around Sydney on foot. With Robert’s Dad Kevin, we took an epic outback journey that left us stuck in the desert due to flooding for five days. We saw kangaroos, camels and lizards and when we were finally allowed to travel again, made our way to tropical Queensland where we saw banana, tea and sugar cane plantations and snorkeled on the gorgeous Great Barrier Reef.
Back in Stockholm, we enjoyed cooking nights with friends, stayed at a friend’s place outside of Stockholm, hosted a Spanish wine tasting party, enjoyed the cherry blossoms at Kungsträgården and valborg or the big bonfire once again in Stockholm and I did at lot of thinking about my life as an expat.
We played tourist with Jim who visited from Australia, enjoyed another spectacular midsommar at Nici and Roger’s and in the midst of our grief while taking a way-too-fast trip to Australia in July for Kevin’s funeral, I got to hang out with a baby kangaroo. After a long journey, I had a fantastic month month in my hometown of Cincinnati during a steamy July and August and totally loved seeing all the changes around town, sampling good food and reconnecting with family and friends from childhood and university.
Back in Stockholm while we were in between homes, we were lucky enough to get to spend a few weeks at a friend’s house on an island in Stockholm’s archipelago. I did a lot of reflecting about how much I’ve changed thanks to living abroad for eight years. And in doing so, I think I fell in love with Stockholm all over again.
As for the blog, I tried out a few new series, including Travel Tuesday, Food Friday and A Perfect Day in Stockholm. A New York agent expressed interest in my book, Going Viking, but ultimately did not take it on. And while I’ve taken a hiatus from the book lately as I get settled in a new job and home, I do plan to make a new effort to get it published in 2013.
While we may have our differences, as I look ahead to celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary and 14 years together, I do know that there is no one else I would rather be on the journey with than Robert. As for my readers of this blog, thanks for traveling along with me.