Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reflections: Circle Post


You may remember from this post on Thankfulness last month, that I participate in a blog circle with amazing, creative women from all over the globe. On the third Thursday of each month (today!), our circle of 15 women each post on a particular topic.  It's kind of like a game of "Tag! You're it!" The first blogger writes her post, sharing a hyperlink to her sister blogger at the bottom. This goes on and on until the circle is complete. If you click on all the hyperlinks (please do!), you should experience an array of creative, inspiring blogs and posts!


This month's topic is: Reflections.
I don't know about you, but I just can't wrap my head around the fact that it's nearly the end of the year. Since today's topic is reflections, I thought it only apt to do a Year in Review

It's perfect timing, too, because I won't be sending out any Holiday Cards this year; living in Myanmar, it's difficult to send reliable post to people overseas.

This year was jammed-packed with stuff, so you might want to snuggle in there on your computer chair for a bit! 

Here it goes!

December 2011
In December, we were still living in the Pacific Northwest, USA.  We hosted Christmas parties with friends and soaked up as much time as we could with them and family. We knew the impending move to Myanmar was right at our door.

We had special celebrations with family at my brother's house with our entire immediate family.  My mother had just experienced a terrible accident where she had broken her neck; thankfully, she was recovering and back home with us for Christmas.  All of us were incredibly aware and grateful for the time we had together.

Can't do a year in review without giving a shout-out to our doggie, Jack . It was the last Christmas with our dog because we decided it was best to leave him with a new home and not ship him all the way to Myanmar. Our dear friends - thankfully - took him in.

He's very loved and happy, yet we still miss him!

I tried to soak up as much of the holiday season as I could because I knew December 2012 would feel different in a tropical country.  We took many wintery, cold outings.  On one, F got to see Santa. He was part of a Victorian Christmas celebration at the local, historic Gilbert House.  What an amazing Santa, right?!

February 2012
My birthday is in February and my special friends threw me an epic birthday party. I hadn't ever had a party like this before. It was held at our local bakery, Essencia bakery, co-owned by one of our dear friends. I felt incredibly grateful to have been so completely and utterly spoiled. It was really one of the best and happiest nights of my life, ever. 

Our friend, R, who works at the bakery, made that phenomenal tiramisu for me; the candles were bedazzled by one of my BFFs.  She also made me a spectacular, sparkly birthday hat. There was a photo booth where one of my besties took shots of all of the guests; they could even write special messages on a board. This was especially memorable because I knew we would be moving overseas shortly afterwards. 

I felt completely loved.

A couple days later, reality started to sink in because The Husband was packed-up and off on a plane to Myanmar. F and I would join him later...

March 2012
By March, F and I had finished packing up our house with the help of friends and family...and movers, of course! We were lucky enough to find great tenants to rent our home.  My mom lived just down the road, so we were able to camp out at her place for a few weeks. 

After saying good-bye to our home, our friends, family, and all our favorite places to visit in our community, F and I flew to England to spend time with family for 2-3 weeks. We had a fantastic, magical time.

In England, we spent a lot of time with The Husband's family having BBQs, taking walks on the beach and in the forest, and hunting for fairies in Furzey Gardens. My sister-in-law was working at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust; we were actually able to go see wolves and hear them howl! 

The best thing was watching F reconnect with all her cousins, Aunties, Uncles and her grandmas in England. One of the challenging things about being in a bi-cultural family where relatives live oceans apart, is that at least one family is always much too far away; however, that just makes visits that much more special.

By the end of March, F and I had met-up with The Husband in Bangkok. The plan was to spend a few weeks in Thailand, on holiday, easing into life in SE Asia. It was a perfect idea. We were able to visit lots of fabulous places and spend time with dear friends.

You can read more about all those adventures here and here , here and here.  (I know, lots of adventures! And I haven't even blogged about all of them yet!)

April 2012
We arrived in Myanmar just after the Buddhist Water Festival which also marks the beginning of the hottest time of the year. It was boiling. 

Thankfully, The Husband was able to find a house for us and move in before F and I arrived in Myanmar.  This certainly helped for a smoother transition while we waited for our belongings to arrive. 

The house had been somewhat painted and fixed-up before we arrived, but it still needed a lot of work. The A/Cs had broken down and it got up to 104F (40c) with a crazy amount of humidity. Yes. It was hot and many of my days ended in tears.

The first few months living anywhere is tough..it's all a process and takes time to adjust.  I've given some top-tips for helping ease a moving transition here. 

June - October 2012
The Monsoons spanned across this time period. I'm not sure how to explain the amount of rainfall that occurs during the Monsoons. Despite the rain, it was hot, incredibly humid, and damp. Mold grew everywhere.

I don't usually mind the rain (in fact, I love rain), but four months of it incessantly falling does get to be a bit much. Even at the beginning of December, we still were experiencing a bit of rain here and there!

In July, I started this blog; I had only lived in Myanmar for a few months at that point and most expats were away for the summer, so there were some lonely times. I also was able to meet some very special people during that period, too, who really helped ease the transition. (V - I'm talking about you!)  You can go back through my archive here and take a look at those early days.
In August, F started Kindergarten. It was quite a memorable day and one filled with reflection.  You can read more about that in this post here.

June - October was a time of tremendous growth for me; I began meeting new people by joining a book club and the writers' group. I started to feel like I had a life here. 

September unearthed a new joy: the Flying Lessons e-course I took from mixed media artist extraordinaire, Kelly Rae Roberts. Through this five week course, I found a network of over 600 women globally. It's how I found my blog circle friends! The experience was incredible; the greatest part about this, though, is that we're all still quite connected!

Around the same time, our entire family began settling in. F found good friends at school. The Husband joined an indie rock band, LUCID, where he drums. Through the band, we have an extended little family. And that's super cool. In addition to his day job and the drumming, he's also a talented photographer. You can check out his stuff here.

In October, our family took a fabulous vacation within Myanmar to ancient Bagan and serene Inle Lake.

The new Yangon community website which I'm the editor for, What's on Yangon, officially launched at the end of October. It's something I haven't really blogged about, but the exciting project keeps me really busy and helps me feel more integrated into the Yangon community.

Do you need to refill your cup of coffee yet? lol   

Almost done! lol...

November 2012
In November, much of my time was spent preparing for F's sixth birthday party.

After her birthday was over, preparations for Thanksgiving began.  It was hard to be away from family during Thanksgiving: it's by far my most favorite holiday. I blogged about how much that time of the year means to me here.

Despite feeling a bit melancholy about missing our traditional family Thanksgiving, we had a lovely international Thanksgiving at our house. F and I were the only Americans. The motley crew included families from England, Ireland, Myanmar, and Italy: a group of people I'm grateful for.

December 2012
And now, we're here. Towards the end of December. 

This weekend, we're off to the north of Thailand for the Christmas holidays; we're really excited about that!

Looking back on this year full of change and transition, it's no wonder our family is now feeling run-down with nasty chest colds and experiencing overall exhaustion!  The holidays have come at the perfect time and we're all looking forward to much-needed rest. 

Though we'll be in Thailand for Christmas, we decorated the house. At CityMart, one of the local supermarkets, I bought a few very tiny trees that I can easily pack in my suitcase and put in the hotel room.  I'm also taking our stockings and some garland in hopes of making the hotel feel a bit more festive! (I've never spent Christmas in a hotel before, so it will be weird!)

I'll blog from Chiang Mai, where we'll spend Christmas and New Year and keep you updated on what kind of cool things we do there over the holidays.

What I'm most looking forward to this holiday? Just relaxing. My Christmas wish is that my daughter sleeps in past 8am some mornings with the help of black-out curtains!! (Isn't that every parent's wish?)
And I cannot...cannot...wait to have long, hot baths and long, hot showers with the proper amount of water pressure!  Though feeling much more settled in Myanmar, you still miss those little luxuries that we don't have at our house.

It's been quite a few years since we haven't spent Christmas with family either in the US or England. It will be strange and a little hard this year, but we will think of them. Thankfully, there's Skype and good internet connection in Thailand: we'll even be able to video Skype there. 

Phew! 

So that's my big, 'ol Year in Review! To all our family and loved ones in our respective countries: we're sending you lots of love over the holidays and wishing we could be with you. Thank you for being so supportive of us during this big - yet exciting - change. 

Roll on 2013!

Now, please join me by following the circle and clicking on Nazmoon Laila's beautiful post about reflections and magic. Nazmoon is a doctor and artist from Bangladesh, living in Australia. You will absolutely not be disappointed.


19 comments:

  1. Hi Becky! You've had a year of big changes and new experiences, which while uncomfortable at times, can be so rewarding.You're a lucky lady to see the world. I've been lucky in that way too. I've been an expat most of my married life! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.I hope the new year brings everything you need. Lots of love.

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    1. Hi Yaz!
      Welcome to our blog circle! I'm happy that you reached out to S to join in. :-)

      I'm also grateful to have met another expat! Yes, the experience is mixed with uncomfortable things, but also lots of adventures and important lessons. :) Heading over to see your blog now. Very excited! :-)

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  2. BTW my blog address is yazrooney.wordpress.com should you like to visit. I'm a new member of your writing circle!(This profile is a google address that I never use).

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  3. Nice blog Becky, I know you a little bit more. That's great ! I was an expat too, so I know what you mean...I wish you and your sweet familly a Merry Christmas in Thaïland and my best wishes for 2013!

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    1. Thank you! :-) It's great to know that you, too were an expat: we have something in common!

      Wishing you all the best for 2013 also! <3

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  4. What a year!

    I was also just thinking how cool it will be for Freya to be able to read all of these posts when she is older.

    Miss you. Excited for summer!

    NIK

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    1. I know, right! I'm happy that you were such a big part of it! (the year!)

      Love you!

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  5. Becky, lots of fun times and adventure you have had this year! I also have family in England. My sister, I miss her during the holidays especially! We see each other every 2 years. Your new life in Myanmar sounds like it's off to a great start! Happy Holidays in Thailand. I can't wait to see the pics. We want to travel there some time in the future. We want to see all the old temple ruins. I hope you enjoy a luxurious long bath!

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    1. Thank you for the holiday wishes. I hope that your family gets to go to Thailand sometime. It's such a beautiful country. And if you do go, be sure to stop by Myanmar! Yangon is only a 1 hr flight from Bangkok and this place is stunning. ;)

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  6. Beautiful log book of your year. Loved the pictures. We will be away on Xmas day and I am doing the same thing, taking a few small decorations and stockings. Hope you enjoy Xmas in the hotel.

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    1. Nazmoon, thank you for your comment. :)

      Ah! Good to know we won't be the only ones in hotels over Christmas! We should post pics of our decorated rooms! :-)

      I hope you enjoy Christmas in your hotel, too!

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  7. gail patricia willmottDecember 20, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Absolutely lovely Becky, lovely memories brought back to life there. We have so enjoyed your visits every year and will miss you all very much over Christmas but know that it won't be long before we all see you once again. I hope that you have a beautiful, restful, relaxed holiday in Thailand - I think it's such a good idea with just the three of you to spend the festive period in each other's company without any pressures of day to day life. Can't wait to hear all about it and see the photos:) xxxxxxx

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    1. Thank you :) We had a great time with you in March. :) We will miss you during Christmas!

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  8. Hi Becky.I enjoy seeing all the photos of your adventure.That must be a huge adjustment, living so far from home. Hope you have a lovely Chirstmas!

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  9. Becky, what an amazing year's journey! Your posts always puts us right there with you, which is why I love reading them! Have a beautiful Christmas, enjoying your family with lots of laughter, joy and plenty of kisses to your little one! :)

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    1. Thank you, Indigene <3 You're so kind.

      I hope you have a very special holiday with your fantastic family. :)

      Much love to you!

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  10. Becky what a lovely post of a year filled with adventure, change and new experiences. I admire you for being able to do all of what you did and with a young daughter to raise in a new country. I always love to see your photos. I especially love the one of you with your birthday hat. :) And the one of your daughter with Santa that is priceless. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas. xo

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    1. Thank you for your words, Suzanne. It felt validating for me to read what you said: I can't actually tell you how much it meant to me. So thank you. It has been a hard (but exciting) year. Sometimes it's hard to put it in words...to respect and be honest about all the stuff to celebrate and be proud of as well as the things that were quite difficult.

      I am happy you liked that picture of my daughter with Santa. It was an amazing experience. :)

      I hope you had a special Christmas...and that it was much calmer than it was just days before...

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