I’ve been thinking, I really enjoy blogging but have such a hard time keeping up with it. Why? I get so caught up in being able to really live and take in wherever I am that I forget to sit down to reflect and record my memories. That’s what this blog is for me, a way to collect my thoughts on my experiences. Yes, it’s so I can share them with friends and family but on a selfish side, it’s very much for me too. It’s my public journal. On that note, I decided one of my main new years resolutions will truly be to keep up with this blog. I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences and have come up with too many excuses not to keep it up.
…. beware…. it’s a long one…..
I have a good bit of catching up to do since it’s been almost two months since I’ve posted anything and SO MUCH has happened since then. After my incredible trip to Paris, I headed to Arcos de la Frontera, Spain to visit my dear friend Alex and his family. It was such a fun few days! I have never taken any Spanish in my life, so it was a completely new experience being in a country so literally foreign to me. He was a gem though, constantly translating the funny jokes and sayings I had no idea were taking place all around me. It was a wonderful week full of balcony views, chick peas, language schools, rural ranches in the mountains, trips to seville, tapas, and long talks about our futures. His family was so generous to take me in and share their family dinners and traditions with me. My last night there we had a family dinner that ended in a discussion and his fathers’ words of wisdom. It was my absolute favorite.
the language school…
view from the top of his town in Arcos….
Shortly after my Spain trip was Thanksgiving! Living with another American, Kait, we decided to make a feast and share our favorite holiday with our European friends. After much planning, cooking started at eleven and the preparations for the feast began! We made: an 18 lbs turkey (Jeffery, it was an adventure in its own to find him!), kait’s homemade stuffing, green bean casserole, too many mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, roles, roasted walnut cooked brie (appetizer), glazed carrots, apple pie and pumpkin pie! It was my first holiday away from my family but it didn’t feel like it, because I was just with a different family of mine.
Kait and Jeffery….
My apple pie…
Brad’s plate with all the trimmings…
charlie, antonis, jan erik… ❤
kait, antonis, me … hannu creeping….
It was truly an evening to remember! We “recharged our batteries of happiness” as Antonis (the greek) so gracefully put it. 🙂
Up next was my weekend in Scotland with Kait and Chloe. We had a wonderful time venturing on walking tours, trying haggis, being FREEZING!, eating cupcakes, finding the Harry Potter origins, enjoying christmas markets and setting off for the highlands! We set out on a bus for the highlands, enjoying the beautiful snow and taking in the incredible mountain tops. Our last stop was Lochness as we look for the tall tale monster and came up short. A weekend I will relive when I go visit Kait in her future home and wonderland!
james bond’s property!
That week it also started the real Christmas holiday with the Norwegian tree lighting ceremony. It started out as a best friend date with my man Jan but quickly was invaded by a couple of our favorites, Hannu and Antonis. Once we got there it was actually already over…. and raining. We then settled for dinner, gelato and a few pictures….
the lit tree….
…. mystery man….
my dinner date…
love him 🙂 (antonis)
Such a wonderful night with some of my best friends 🙂
Up next was our Southlands College christmas dinner!
the three amigos!
family. kait, me, antonis, brad, chloe, tanita, megan
After a wonderful night it was time for my last big adventure…. Rome!
Hannu and I ventured out and did everything we could there from seeing the Vatican city, trevi fountain, spanish steps, THE COLISEUM, meeting my gelato quota for 6, eating the most incredible food (5 times a day), and getting lost in the streets. It was such an incredible weekend!
hannu and our yummy pizza!
Then the countdown to the end began. Leaving was one of the hardest things I had to do. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with London and the life I had created there, but it was such a beautiful unexpected surprise. The last week I spent it checking off the last things on my list and enjoying the people around me. Hannu and I spent the day in central taking in the city on the London eye, drooling over the crown jewels, eating more amazing italian, and ending the night with a fabulous surprise of Lola’s cupcakes (my favorite) and ice skating in Hyde park. One of my absolute favorite days 🙂
The last weekend Chloe and I spent it with the boys (Hannu and Jan Erik) again eating, finally seeing the broadway show Chicago!, exploring brick lane, and trying on too much fake fur. Goodbyes were said with heartfelt tears and promises of staying in touch and visiting were exchanged. Saying goodbye to Hannu and Jan Erik was the first hard goodbye I had and unfortunately only meant I was that much closer to the dreaded end.
Thankfully I had one great day left to spend with one of my best friends, Brad….. so of course we went shopping 🙂 Exchanging each others styles and buying all too much was the theme of the day. That night we had a feast of all of our favorite english foods and drinks! It was a night just for the four of us, Brad, Kait, Chloe and I. The next morning I woke up Kait and Brad for a final goodbye before leaving for the airport with Chloe. My heart was breaking leaving the two of them. I found two amazing best friends and we became a group that should never be separated again! They will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Coming home was such a blessing having so many people here that have loved and supported me along my journey, welcome me home with open arms.
alex and sweet tea!!! ❤
I miss London everyday. It’s only a matter of time before I will be back.
I love you London, and London family ❤