When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve this year and we watched the fireworks explode, I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief that 2014 had finally come to a close.
Sure, there were good moments during the year. But 2014 brought us a lot of change and surprises and uncertainty, and truth be told, it wore me out!
Here's the highlight reel of our 2014!
We rang in 2014 in Split, Croatia, part of our Christmas-New Years trip to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Croatia, and Montenegro. We were pretty tired of living out of suitcases by that point, but it was still a fun way to spend our last big trip around Europe before our move back to the US.
Once we were back in Germany, the moving madness set in. Cars had to be shipped, papers had to be signed, and the movers had to be arranged. To escape the craziness, we spent a weekend in Berlin to say our goodbyes to friends and to the city where we met and fell in love.
February seemed like a blur. Movers came and packed up our house, we moved out of our apartment, and we said goodbye to all our friends in Bavaria. It happened so fast I barely had time to be sad. Before we knew it, we were on a plane and Germany was suddenly a faint green dot below.
We landed in Atlanta during a freak southern snow storm, spent a few days recovering from jet lag and eating mom's homemade cooking, and then we were off for our new duty station in Georgia!
We found an apartment quickly once we got to Georgia, but once our stuff arrived we realized we had to buy furniture...all of it. We had no bed, no couch, no dining room chairs, no lamps...so thus began our frantic quest for household goods (TJ Maxx, you're awesome). A lot of DIY, paint, and creative uses for tablecloths and cardboard boxes, our house felt like home.
Of course, since we were back in Georgia, we spent a lot of March weekends down in my hometown of Savannah enjoying the Irish season!
Fionn started his school and I threw myself into making friends and inventing DIY projects to make our house feel like home. I learned how to mat and frame pictures and loved spending time with my family (now within driving distance!) and friends (old and new).
May was full of weddings and adventures around Georgia. We made the most of the weather before the intense summer heat hit!
In June I flew halfway around the world for a family reunion in Bali (with a stop in Hong Kong!).
I met my Kiwi cousins for the first time, ate tons of bami goreng and wore a swimsuit pretty much every day.
(I REALLY need to blog this!)
We spent 4th of July in Florida with family-our first real American Independence Day in years! As an anniversary present, Fionn sent me off to the Swannanoa Irish music camp in the mountains of North Carolina. It was a great treat for a musician like me!
Our last month in Georgia seemed to come out of nowhere. We received our orders for our next location (West Texas!) and started the moving preparations yet again. We were pretty disappointed about our new orders, so to cheer ourselves up we spent a lot of time in Savannah with my friends and family.
Didn't we just do this?? Yep, time to move again. Our stuff got packed, our keys turned in, and it was time to say goodbye to Georgia. Luckily I managed to squeeze in a trip to DC to reunite with my German study abroad friends! Fionn wins Husband of the Year 2014 for taking care of cleaning our apartment for inspection while I had fun.
Before we knew it, we were driving 1600 miles to our new home in Texas, making stops in New Orleans, San Antonio, and Austin (and then 10 hours of a lot of desert wasteland).
We made it to Texas, found an apartment, unpacked our stuff, Fionn started his job, and I started taking some classes to earn a paralegal certificate. West Texas was a huge culture shock! In terms of culture shock stages, this was definitely the month of the Honeymoon stage. We explored new food, traveled to Southwestern cities like Tucson, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, and even bought cowboy boots!
Our culture shock continued into the Frustration stage. Y'know, that point you hit after the newness wears off and everything just seems so different and suddenly the smallest task feels like climbing a mountain of frustration? West Texas felt very, very far from home some days. Still, we managed to experience new things, like the Dia de los Muertos festival and some weekend trips into beautiful New Mexico.
My birthday was quiet but really nice-a new friend took me out to lunch and Fionn and I had a simple dinner of take out with some presents and cupcakes. We spent most of December back on the East coast-first for the wedding of Fionn's friend from college, and then for Christmas and New Year's with mine and Fionn's families back in Georgia. It was pretty wonderful, and a nice break from West Texas, which we're still adjusting to.
2014 was one of those weird years that seemed to flash by and drag on at the same time. Maybe it's because we were always waiting. Waiting to move, waiting on orders to move, waiting to find out where...so much uncertainty is a weird way to spend a year of your life.
I'm happy we got to spend so much time near my family and friends though. After so many years abroad, it was nice to have my parents just a car ride away for a little while.
As for Texas...well, I hope it grows on me in 2015!
2015 is already shaping up to be a year of adventure, but I'll save that news for my next post. I hope 2015 brings you happiness, health, and contentment! Anyone have any fun resolutions?