Happy New Year – Reflections on 2015

I meant to get this up as a Christmas greeting, but alas that did not happen.  This Christmas break has been the most relaxed and unscheduled break I think I’ve ever had in my adult life.  We stay in our pajamas a lot, we watch movies at night and we sleep late in the mornings.  We go out when we are restless and we stay in when we’re lazy.  It’s been positively wonderful. 

That’s not to say that we haven’t missed the excitement of extended family Christmases of years past, or the excitement of traveling that we experienced last year.  We missed our families fiercely this year.  Tears were shed.  But we’ve made the best of our isolation, and it’s been quality family time.  (And a LOT of messes.  Spending so much time at home can be disastrous to order and cleanliness.) 

Picture

I have no idea what Richard was doing behind my back as I took this picture, but I guess it was pretty funny…

I asked the kids to each write a little bit about their year, what 2015 was like for them.  A year is a long time for a kid to recall, so take that into consideration as you read. (You can also tell they were copying each other’s ideas…) And lest we be hypocrites, Richard and I also reflected on our year. 

In their words.
Simon – 
I loved it when it was my birthday.  I liked playing with my friends at school.  Sports day at school was really hard because I was in Nursery. I was sad this year when I was a little bit missing my mom at school sometimes.  I was really happy when I went on a trip to see the firemen at the school.  My favorite trip was to the Canary Islands because I loved the sand dunes. 

Mim – 
This year I loved going to the Canary Islands and playing in the water.  When I acksudently [sic] dropped the harmonica on Eli’s eye that made me upset.  The most important time of all is when I listen, be kind, help people, be nice and do the right thing.  At school I loved playing with Eseosa, Isabella and the other girls.  My favorite place to go in the summer time was the playground at Greenwich Park where I played in the big sand pit.  

Eli –  
My favorite memore of 2015 was when I saw the parrots.  This is because my favorite animal is a parrot.  My favorite animal is a parrot because parrots can talk and can fly and are very smart.  There are two things that I thought were very tough this year.  The first thing was the Christmas colouring.  The second thing was sports day.  Christmas colouring was hard because colouring in the lines was hard.  Sports day was had because my legs were not as long as everyone else’s.  The happiest time was when it was my birthday because I got presents and we had a fun time. 

Cameron – 
2015 was an exciting but difficult year for me.  It was the year that marked a decade from the year of my birth.  I finished Year 5 and started Year 6 which was a happy but sad thing because I had to leave my old teachers and begin with new ones.  My favourite vacation of the year was “The European Tour”.  I loved the Eurocamps and I made friends from Essex; AJ and Dana, (nick-named Minion Boy) who I will always remember.  The hardest part of 2015 was seeing family members have to end their visit. Especially Charlie.  The most annoying part of the year was when I had to spend my whole birthday in a car.  

Jo – 
I suppose it could be said at the end of every year, but this year seemed to stretch me to my limits.  The travel was definitely the highlight of my year, visiting new cities and countries never stops enchanting me.  Experiencing just about every form of transport; airplane, train, gondola, tram, subway, bus, funicular, car, boat, bicycle gives just a sampling of the adventures I enjoyed (and endured).  I feel grateful for new relationships, strengthened relationships, and relationships that barely hang on. This pregnancy brought with it emotional upheaval I’ve never before experienced, and that has increased my compassion and empathy for the emotionally fragile.  I’ve faced loneliness and homesickness that seemed to incapacitate me.  And then I’ve had moments of joy and contentment that were equally overwhelming.  Looking back and pondering over the year’s struggles, I still can’t help but feel profoundly grateful for all God has done for me in my life, and for all this world has to offer in the form of delicious foods, remarkable scenery and best of all, wonderful, wonderful people.  

Richard – 
The year 2015 was our only full year in London, so making the most of it was one of our top priorities. One of the things that made it possible to do this was that my job was very flexible. Not only was I able to work a standard 35 hours per week during much of the year, but I was also able to use my payroll to purchase an extra week of vacation time, giving me six in total. And, as we’re prone to do, we burned all six weeks! There are two things I will remember most about 2015. First, of course, our many travels. We travelled through so much of Europe that I often have to stop and think carefully about all the places we’ve been or I forget about them. And it was all great (since the memory of all of the stress, weariness, and family fighting fade easily over time). Second, but at least as valuable as the first, would be the many wonderful people we’ve been able to associate with here. There have been so many eye opening experiences and conversations, all of which have had a significant impact on making me who I am. It wouldn’t be overly dramatic to say that 2015 has been one of the landmark years of my life.

We hope your Christmas season has been merry and bright, with minimal stress and drama and maximum love and relaxation.  And we wish you all a Happy New Year! 

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