I used to be a huge journal writer…until I found out a boyfriend had been reading through them without telling me. Now I just put everything on the internet. 😉 But one of the things I loved to do was ponder the events of the past year.

I haven’t done that in a while. And since I now post everything on social media, I no longer send Christmas letters to summarize it all either. But this has been a pretty spectacular year, and by this time next year, we will be at a different post, so I thought I’d take a moment to appreciate it.

First and foremost, I’m thankful for my husband and my son, and the fact that we get to share all these things together. It wouldn’t be the same without them.

Friends

One of the first things I heard about working in London was not to expect much of an embassy community because the embassy is so big and there is so much to do in London without relying on your coworkers. For the most part, this has turned out to be true. But I have made some lovely friends at work and hope that we will keep in touch and that our paths will cross again someday.

But we have also made a special set of friends outside of work through our son’s nursery school. They have two little boys around his age, and they’re from New Zealand and South Africa respectively. We have had some great times with these friends, and our son loves their boys. We will miss them dearly and hope that our friendship will last beyond London. (But we’re not gone yet!! 🙂 )

Visitors

We’ve had two wonderful friends come visit from California, and I so enjoyed spending time with both of them, getting all caught up and exploring new things around London together. These same lovely ladies also visited us in Belize, so that is a mark of true friendship as far as I’m concerned! 😉 We also got to see a few Foreign Service people that we know that were visiting London from other posts, which was an unexpected bonus.

And my mom also got a chance to come for the holidays, which has been fantastic. Now that our son is four, he’s also been able to really enjoy having his grandma around. They’ve played board games and tag and hide-and-go-seek and read stories. It’s been lovely to watch them getting to know each other more.

Travel

Okay, we all know that this is my only true hobby…the thing that really floats my boat. This year we started off with a bang and spent a week in Russia (St. Petersburg & Moscow) for my birthday. I had wanted to go there since I was a little kid. So the only thing wrong with the trip was that it was too short!

We also made it to Amsterdam and Dublin; been out and about in the UK to places like the Peak District and the Orkney Islands (Scotland for my hubby’s birthday!); and got in some good day trips to the Cotswolds, Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Whitstable, Bath, Windsor, Hever Castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Harry Potter film studios.

We’ve also had some once-in-a-lifetime experiences here in London. I can honestly say it never would have occurred to me that I would ever record a song with the great ladies of the Rock Choir at Abbey Road Studios…or plant memorial poppies in the moat at the Tower of London…or go anywhere near London Fashion Week. I will NEVER forget those experiences.

Work

And work has been pretty great too. We get a ridiculous amount of official visitors…in the thousands. I would swear we had less than a dozen in the two years I was in Belize. So I’ve been able to meet some amazing people, like the Administrator of NASA!! And a few cool celebrities like Benjamin Bratt, Sally Phillips and Beth Nielsen Chapman.

We’ve also been treated to events like the Children’s Christmas Party and the Fourth of July at the Ambassador’s residence, as well as our first ever Marine Ball at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

And there’s been some actual work done too! I’ve been able to support major events like the NATO Summit in Wales, the Russia-Ukraine peace talks, and several visits by the Secretary of State. All amazing things to be a part of!

We were also assigned to our next post in Iceland, which I am absolutely ecstatic about. I love the sea, and cold climates and Nordic culture. And we’ll get to stay in Europe but be able to have a larger place and drive our car regularly again. As amazing as London is, I’m looking forward to being surrounded by calmer energy.

So that pretty much sums it up. I thought of trying to add pictures to this, but after several failed attempts at trying to narrow them down for the Facebook end-of-year highlight reel…I shall simply leave it as text. I will save other “lessons learned” from 2014 for a different entry.

Happy 2015, everyone!!

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