I’ve been a bit incommunicado lately. I don’t have one good reason, but several weak ones. I’ve been busy. And I had a little freak out about putting my family on a public forum (still kind of freaking out about that). Between the new house and new puppy, our 2016 ended on a beautifully high, but very busy, note. It was a year full of positive change and self discovery and now that the new year is well under way (I’m sooooo far behind in my writing), we’ve been making even more changes to our lives and my writing had been taking a bit of a back burner to getting things done.
As you know, we purchased a new house at the very end of December. We have spent the last 5 months undergoing renovations. The first month we weren’t living here and the last four we’ve been in the midst of detail work and just living amongst the construction. It’s inconvenient but not the end of the world and with the biggest projects done before we moved in, it’s all manageable. There are still some bits and pieces to work out, like our kitchen that was installed incorrectly (and we are about to embark on a legal battle with that one), but the majority of the work is now complete and it’s really feeling like home.
We’ve already had a few visitors in the new house, but more on that in separate entries coming up (now that I’m determined to catch back up on this blog). We’ve learned that “adulting” gets expensive. After 7 years of renting, we’d forgotten what it takes to take care of a home and this house has had a number of unexpected expenses and surprises but hopefully the biggest are behind us now.
Living in a foreign country is always fraught with challenges. Surprisingly, buying a house was not one of them. It wasn’t that much different than buying a house in the US. The kitchen was another story, but that’s another entry too. However, what I’ve found is that living in limbo, always wondering when we are going back home, versus settling down, no matter the location, can have a significant impact on how you feel in a place. I’m feeling settled for the first time in a very long time and it’s such a good feeling. We know this house isn’t our forever home and that’s ok, but for the indefinite future, this is it and there is a feeling of calm that has come over me as a result.
The kids are really happy having their own house with rooms they can decorate however they please. Josh and I love adding details that make it our own, finally hanging all our pictures up after 7 years of them being in boxes, buying new furniture that’s meant to last rather than to get us through a year or two and investing in our future here. Aidan has been riding his bike and taking the bus all over the city with his friends and has a freedom that he hasn’t had before and truly embracing it, yet being incredibly responsible about it at the same time. He’s growing up fast. Liam has made himself comfortable here and loves living on the water, having a trampoline in the garden and just hanging out with Scout.
Both kids are engrossed in their sports these days. Aidan dropped tennis after 9 years of lessons since it was conflicting with his baseball schedule and Liam is still doing tennis, baseball and krav maga. Rarely is there a free weekend these days. I’m coaching Aidan’s baseball team (not to be confused with training because that is a work in progress) and I’m realizing just how much it takes to be a good coach and how much I still have to learn!
Scout is growing fast – we’re past the challenging phases of peeing in the house and eating the furniture and shoes. She’s super chill and loves going for walks and to the beach. She’s sweet and just a total love!!!
In other news, I’m incredibly fortunate that we have not needed to rely on my income in the last few years and that since I sold my company last spring, I’ve been able to take my time, take a few classes and engage with a career coach to help point me in the direction of what’s next. I wish I’d taken more leisure time, but maybe that’s just not me. I spent most of that time thinking I was being productive by doing busy work but am now recognizing it was just that and I should have made better use of that time.
I started working part time in January on a 6 month contract. It has been a challenge for all of us and hasn’t worked out quite how I had hoped, the fault being on my end. It’s a long story and I won’t bore you with the details other than to say that it’s really hard to teach an old dog new tricks and apparently I’m no longer the spring chicken I once thought I was. But I’ve learned that there is always room for improvement and am trying to refocus and redefine my end goal. I’ll get there.
With the expense and time of the new house, travel has been limited this year so far, but we are slowly starting to get back on track with that as well. We were in London a few weeks ago and heading to Berlin soon. After that, we’ll be sticking around until our annual trip home this summer (kids don’t even finish school til the end of July!). This fall we have some tentative plans that need some more fine tuning.
Re-reading this entry, it feels like I don’t have a lot to update you on, but the move and renovations has taken up a lot of unexpected time that I didn’t anticipate so that’s the bulk of my update. Hoping to get back on track now that I’ve written this post – sometimes just getting back on the wagon is the hardest part!
Knuffels en kussen,