It’s the time of year to be still and reflect on the year behind, look ahead to the year ahead, and count the blessings, big and small.
2013 has been a huge year for me and my family. We did what seemed daunting, to say the least — we moved back to the US from living 4 years abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. The move across the Atlantic on the way over was challenging, and the move back (as the experts told us) would be tougher. It was, but we did it! And, as 2013 comes to a close, with so many things for which to be thankful, I’m taking this week’s post to briefly look back at the defining moments, by month.
2013 Reflections: A Move Across the Ocean
Over the four winters in Prague, I waited and waited for a chance to photograph the picturesque Charles Bridge powdered with snow. Last January, I at last had the moment on the Charles Bridge, completely alone. It was magic.
I also had the dream moment, to spend time writing on my novel in a castle–the Prague Castle actually, in our friends’ palace inside the castle, the Lobkowicz Palace. The dream!
In Prague, our older 2 sons played on the middle school basketball team together, which was made up of boys from places like Afghanistan, China, Slovenia, South Korea. Their team competed against teams from Istanbul, Moscow, Budapest, Bucharest, Kiev, etc. and ended up winning in the final tournament game against Warsaw, Poland. It was the moment of a lifetime, especially with 2 sons on the team!
The move back to the US struck like a tidal wave. In early February, we traveled as a family to look for a house and visit potential schools. Everything aligned in incredible ways, which meant it happened fast. Our final flight back to the US was the morning after the basketball tournament in Prague.
Our boys started school to begin the final trimester in US; I lived in a hotel with our boys for the month, while we waited to get in our house and my husband finished up many weeks of work in Russia.
I read Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle during this time, my favorite book of 2013, as posted at Great New Books. Sometimes books help save us when the rest of life feels overwhelming.
We moved our suitcases into our new house. It was (still is) perfect! And our beloved dog Poppy and cat Morris arrived.
Our furniture and shipment from Prague arrived halfway through the month of May. I never realized how much I appreciated getting to sleep in a bed, write in a chair, eat at a table, etc.
I loved getting to be with my writing critique partner Erika Robuck at her novel CALL ME ZELDA’s book launch!
The boys finished the school year well, not an easy transition for 8th, 6th, and 4th grades. So proud of my boys! And, our neighbors included us in the first of many to come neighborhood parties. It began to feel like home.
I continued a routine of 5 am writing and painted a canvas of Tuscany, Italy, for our new family room. The boys and I painted the whole interior of our house (color!).
The boys transitioned smoothly into their new schools for the beginning of the new school year. My oldest son began high school!
I finished the rewrites of my novel THE GOLDEN WILLOW at the end of September, a quiet but huge milestone.
My husband and I traveled for a quick getaway to Vegas, to press pause on life and celebrate the successful move and our 40th birthdays year.
My 40th birthday! We celebrated with a big party, including a chocolate fountain, at our house with many friends. Epic, with side-splitting laughter.
Our closest friends from Prague came to visit and celebrate Thanksgiving with us — a dream come true.
I began working on a new novel …
The busiest month we’ve ever had, as all 3 of our sons play on separate school basketball teams. Also, so much fun to get to cheer them on at the sport they all love to do. As my husband and I sit in the stands, side-by-side, many times a week, we glance at each other and often whisper gratefulness at seeing our boys so happy. Transition complete.
2013 has been a wonderful, blessed year!
As I look ahead toward a new year, I am looking forward to a fresh start. And I hope, most of all, to soak up the moments, big and small, and to spread as much love and laughter and encouragement as is possible. It is a wonderful life. Thank you for joining me here on the journey.
Have a great week, filled with Christmas and family and friends and love.