Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What a year it has been...

As I sit here on New Years Eve (avoiding packing to go back to Abu Dhabi after 2 wonderful weeks at home), I just want to use this post to reflect on this crazy, exciting, and unexpected year.

When I first started thinking about all that has happened this year, I actually felt like it all went by so fast!  Don't get my wrong... time has flown by... but there has also been so much that has gone on this year.

Almost exactly a year ago, I had just got approved to BUY a house. Yes, a house. Well, technically a town house... but almost the same thing. I started the year with a tight budget and a Pinterest board full of ideas for decorating and furnishing a house. I was supposed to close on the house in early February...but clearly there were other plans for me. My closing got pushed back and then one night at dinner with my family, I checked my e-mail and saw an e-mail from Teach Away about a prospective job in Abu Dhabi. Everything happened so quick and next thing I knew, I had accepted a job teaching in Abu Dhabi and cancelled the closing of my house - all within about 2 weeks. Things really do happen for a reason. Now, my Pinterest board is filled with all the places I want to travel during these two years and the rest of my life.

Fast forward a few months (after hours of preparing documents for teaching abroad) and it was finally time for my summer trip. I had been saving up for months (long before deciding I would move across the world) for my first trip to Europe. I have always wanted to learn Spanish but took Latin in school. I found a great immersion program and had 6 weeks planned in Barcelona and Valencia to learn the language and soak up the culture (and sun on those great beaches!) The trip ended with a wonderful visit from Will where we spent almost 2 weeks in Valencia and Paris. 

When I got back, it was time to fully accept the fact that I was moving across the world in just a couple of weeks. After lots of shopping, packing, and tear-filled goodbyes, I was on the plane headed across the world. Let me just say that 14-hour flights are pretty rough, but I was so excited and nervous that it went by quickly (sleeping for 6 hours of it helped a little, too). 

Fast forward again. The weeks went by and I started to settle in to my new "home". It still doesn't quite feel like a home but I'm thinking an Ikea trip in the near future will help that situation a lot. All the pictures I printed that I'm bringing back with me will help too. In just 4 months abroad, I have started a new job, met tons of new friends, explored the new city I live in, gone on a desert safari and rode a camel, experienced traditional celebrations, seen a UAE National Day event, attended the Formula 1 race and a Jay-Z concert, saw my first sandstorm, and traveled to Thailand, China (kind of), and London.

So yes, this year has gone by very fast! I am so blessed to have all these amazing experiences and to have family and friends supporting me the entire time. I am so thankful to have made such great friends over in Abu Dhabi to make this transition easier and to give me something to look forward to all the time. It will be hard to say goodbye to my family and dogs again, but there is so much in store for me in 2014 and I can't wait to embrace it all. 

In the spirit of New Years Eve, I just want to share a few of my resolutions. I'm normally not one for these but it doesn't hurt to try something new!

Live healthy and be more active
See more of the world each chance I get
Be open to adventure and new experiences
Follow my heart

I know I've promised a blog post on the desert safari... and I also have one I'm working on about London! I guess I know what I'm doing on my 14-hour flight tomorrow! I should also probably add "blog more frequently" to my resolutions... 


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