2013 has been an amazing adventure. I am way behind on blogging about the whole experience, but thought I would try to sum up how awesome it has been. We have seen pieces of five continents and ten countries since Christmas last year, and that has meant seeing some amazing sites. We have had almost 100 random visitors in our new home in New Zealand from all over the world, and that has meant meeting some amazing people. We have been successful in all that we needed to do to stay in this amazing country beyond this year, we are healthy, we are happy, and we have a new Hartlen joining the herd in the new year.
The best part of our whole year has been being able to spend some quality time with my family experiencing all of these things. 2012 had its ups and downs, but one of the ups was getting to know my extended family a little bit more, and appreciating the importance of family in times of need. This carried forward into this last year as we traipsed around the world. I was thrilled that Stephanie and the girls finally got to meet some of my UK family, and we have had the opportunity to spend more time together as a family. For the first time ever, we have all been living in the same house seven days a week for a whole year!
My father passing last year was hard on me, and reinforced for me the fragility of life. I have tried to make sure that I do things now in the pursuit of happiness, both mine and my families, and I hope that I am headed in the right direction. For four years I missed out on family life while I worked in Two Hills. I liked my job, but hated the situation I was in. New Zealand had been a goal for a long time and it felt like it was slipping out of grasp. We could have stayed where we were and been much more successful financially, but what is money if you are not fully content?
So here we are in New Zealand, one year into living the dream. However, the dream has not been all roses. I was not particularly happy in my job, so despite a promotion and a raise, I resigned. It was the first time since moving furniture that I dreaded going to work, well, perhaps not dread, but definite displeasure. If I came to New Zealand to experience the country and be happy, it was not going to happen at my current job. So, 2014 will begin with my third teaching post at the South Island's largest school, working in a real live English Department with more than just me! So, excited!
But this is more about the awesome year that was, and what made it awesome: my family. Aurora started school this year, and has "heaps" of new friends (heaps is an over-common kiwi expression meaning lots). She has grown a lot, I mean, heaps, and I am happy to report that I have had more time in this last year to actually hang out with this amazing girl, and cannot believe that she is already school-aged! Brynn has shown us so much character, and is proving to be as hilarious as she is stubbornly independent. She speaks in full sentences, and is a very active child, and, full, of personality. She has shown us the beauty of interior bedroom wall murals, and is nothing short of amazing, just ask her, she will tell you, she is amazing!
This last year I have also been able to share 360 odd days in the same house as my beautiful wife Stephanie, and been able to see from a closer perspective all the amazing things she does, and better yet I was able to spend more of my evenings with her, something that has not happened enough because of my various job situations. I am now ending 2013 with some time off, and a lot more of that to devote to my lovely wife. We just had our first extended camping trip together, and will be finishing off the year with more of the same, maybe now that we know a few potential babysitters,and with mom, and Mom in law visiting, we may actually go out for a change!
2014, will likely be a little more tame, but we are still at the bottom of the world in a beautiful country trying to get used to Christmas in 25°C+ weather. Not sure that's going to happen, but I don't miss shovelling my driveway or scraping off my car one little bit.
Happily married to my beautiful wife Stephanie, and proud father of three beautiful girls, Aurora, Brynn and Clara. Instructional designer, writing when I find time.