Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

Before I start this entry, I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year! Hopefully this year will see you all safe, happy and healthy, and bring whatever projects or dreams you are working on to fruition.

My dreams and projects include this blog, some short story writing on Wattpad, and outlining my first novel. I've been working on it on and off for three months or so, but being my first attempt, and with no formal training (not to mention my tendency to procrastinate), I am finding it something of an uphill battle. No worries, I will continue to plod on, if only for my own personal satisfaction.

Working on writing!
(Books: Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland
and The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gorke.)

As promised, without further ado, here is my very first blog entry of 2017.

It is now officially more than one year since we moved to England, and I can't believe how fast time has passed! Last year around this time, I was trying to be positive and up-beat, if only for my husband and kids, but I was raw from leaving my family and friends, our home, and everything I'd ever known.

Luckily, we are far from the days when my grandparents immigrated to Canada in 1957: Our "adventure" was agreed on by the four of us (though my little one wasn't very pleased about it); the move was researched and planned in great detail; our goals for travel and exploration were clearly defined; and most importantly, our eventual return to Canada was conceded.

Also, today's world-travellers are equipped with long-distance tools such as Skype or Facetime, we have the internet to send/receive messages instantly, and even international calling has greatly improved, not to mention gotten affordable. I remember calling my aunt in Italy from Canada every Christmas and Easter, hearing that pause between messages... Remember that? "Seeing" and hearing our loved ones regularly, even though we can't physically touch them, makes it possible for me to survive abroad.

So, so far, I'd say that we are accomplishing what we had originally set out to do. We get out regularly as a family to see the sites here in Southern England, and we have travelled to four countries (for a total of 49 days) in 2016, something that would not have been possible budget-and-time-wise had we been living in Canada.

Technically we have 2 more years here, although our current plans are to move in roughly 1.5 years so as not to face another split school year. Upon our return to Canada, our oldest will be going to cégèp (something like college, for those living in Quebec), and that will be a big enough challenge as it is.

Travel plans for 2017 include Ireland, Germany, Belgium, and Spain. Despite there being enough breaks/holidays during the school year, we have learned that travelling does take its toll, so in order to enjoy ourselves to the fullest and appreciate what we see and learn, we will take it down a notch this year.

As you know, over the Christmas holidays, the four of us travelled to Italy again, this time to visit the more southern cities of Florence, Pisa, Rome, and sort-of Pompeii. Seeing as this entry is not about our trip, stay tuned for my guides to these famous places in the near future.

Bucket List Item: The Vatican, December 24th, 2016.