Two thousand thirteen. Thirteen! Remember the Y2K fiasco? When we all bought Amish stuff and hoped the world didn’t end?
That was fourteen years ago. Holy heck.
So, 2013 was a whopper of a year. We seem to have a lot of those, this hot husband and I. Since we met we’ve been trotting around the globe, living abroad, moving around and seeing as much of it as possible.
Let’s take a look at my favorite parts of this wild year.
We rang in the New Year in Newcastle England with my daughter. She came to stay with us for about six weeks and I was so happy to have her with me!
There’s nothing like playing host to family to bring out the tour guide in us. January was a monster of a month. First was New Year’s eve and day in Newcastle, then my girl’s nineteenth birthday which happens to fall on Burns Night. I took her on her first train ride up to Edinburgh and we had a real Burns supper to celebrate her day.
From Edinburgh we made our way up to Aberdeen and caught a ferry to Shetland. For a solid year I’d been hoping, wishing, planning and dreaming about seeing the Up Helly Aa festival, and we made it a reality. Best. Night. Ever. You can read about it here.
We had a few weeks back in Newcastle to get to know the local area. My girl and I did a lot of exploring in this thousand year old city and loved every minute of it. You can read our Newcastle posts here.
After my girl went back to the US, Brian and I packed our bags for a three month working/apartment hunting trip back to Brazil. Plans for the move were rolling in earnest.
Our new city of Jundiai in Sao Paulo State is very different from the small beach town where we lived in Rio de Janeiro State. We enjoyed our weekends when Brian wasn’t working to explore the streets. You can read more about our finds in Jundiai here.
Back in the UK we took a few long weekends to see more of Scotland and England, including multiple trips to Edinburgh, and a trip to the Isle of May. Visiting Brian’s (and now my) friends was the best part of those trips, by far.
Except for the part when my son showed up. That was better. My boy arrived in June along with my nephew. We had a great two weeks to explore Scotland with them. We loved having them with us! You can read a little about their visit here.
It was a big summer, which included Brian’s oldest son’s incredibly beautiful wedding on the island of Arran.
You can read about our busy, wet and wonderful weekend on Arran here.
There were a few more big stops along the way, including a day in Sterling. In my four years of visiting and living in the UK I had somehow missed visiting Stirling Castle, but we finally had the chance after the wedding.
While Brian was off to Brazil again I had a chance to mark a few more things off my bucket list before I joined him because I have awesome friends. Stonehenge was certainly one of the highest on that list, and I was there! (Thanks, Sharon!) You can see more of my photos here.
I also made it to the standing stones at Avebury, and spent a day in Bath where we drank the mineral water at the Roman Baths and of course we had to eat some of Sally Lun’s buns.
Brian came and went a lot this past year. Preparation for his new job in Brazil while waiting for our visas meant a LOT of business trips for him. Poor guy, when I got him back home with me I ran him ragged. We knew we were on limited time to see as much of the UK as possible before we left again for good.
He didn’t even complain that much.
Especially when we got to see beautiful and historic places like York. I made it there twice this past year, once with Brian and once with our good friends. You can read about those trips here.
And then we were gone. The visas came through, the flight was reserved and we left the UK.
And here we are, finishing out the year in Jundiai.
We’ve been lucky enough to make new friends already, and we’re enjoying ourselves in the summer heat as the rest of our friends in the northern hemisphere complain of ice storms, snow and frozen temperatures.
Our Christmas was spent with the best of friends back in Rio das Ostras where we used to live. It was our first Brazilian Christmas, and we couldn’t have asked for better. You can read about it here.
And tonight, New Year’s Eve, we are at home in our Jundiai apartment where we’ve been listening to fireworks since noon. In about an hour we’ll head down to the condominium party hall and celebrate the new year with our neighbors. We’ve only met a few of them and I hope we make some more connections tonight.
Really, out of all our travels, those connections are the most important of our 2013 memories. Friends new and old, and family near and far. They are the ones who made this year incredible. Visits with our children, long dinners with our friends, skype calls with our family, facebook chats with those who kept us grounded. Those are what mean the most to us.
Excuse me for a moment while I go call my mom.
Update – I was right! We met some of our neighbors last night and had a blast. We have a few new friends, and I think that’s the best way to start a new year.
As for blogging, our most popular post of the year was about the Up Helly Aa Torch Procession. What an amazing night! I’m so glad so many people enjoyed reading about it and seeing our photos.
And just to top it off, my photo of the morning Viking procession on Shetland was my most popular photo on Instagram with 301 likes.
What an incredible year.
We want to send out a giant THANK YOU to all of you. You, our family, friends and online connections, who have given us so much this year. Knowing you’re out there and supporting us means the world to us. We are so lucky to have our health, and to live our lives the way we do. The only thing we could ask for is more time with those we love. We’re sending that love out to all of you and hoping you all know how much you mean to us.
Happy New Year!