I'm just thinking back over the last month and how utterly our lives have changed for the better due to the generosity and love of the people in our lives.
Some of the things that happened were small, and some not so small, but they've all added up to a drastic improvement in our living situation and possibilities for the future.
First off, obviously, is the amazing opportunity we have to move into the house in four weeks time. I cannot believe that we will be living on our own in what amounts to the lap of luxury after the past few months of living in someone else's space.
A second huge thing that happened this month (or maybe it was late in Dec. Either way, within the last 35 days) was that it is suddenly possible for us to come home for a visit. WHAT??? That's right. We're coming home, probably in September over our anniversary, but the dates are still up in the air. I'm really hoping that after flying for 7 hours driving for 4, and taking a 1.25 hour ferry, that people will come and see us on the island because I highly doubt we'll be taking many road trips (particularly after not driving for a YEAR!). So. Plan ahead. Road trip to Vinalhaven sometime in September. There's an awesome motel that you should all stay at: www.tidewatermotel.com. Massive reunion times, here we come! Wooo!! You heard it here first, folks.
Third huge amazing thing that happened in January: Chad has received two of his grades back on his papers. Now, before the drum roll, I feel like we need to explain a tad. EVERYTHING is hinging on these grades. He's been told over the course of his undergraduate career that his writing leaves something to be desired, so a lot was riding on his pulling it together and doing his best on these papers. They are the first grades that he has received back since we've been here, and our staying here for the next year has been hinging on his passing "with distinction" (i.e. 70 or above - I won't even go into the crazy UK grading system). So here it is folks: a 75 and a 78!!!! Let me emphasize that he did not have any feedback from any of his professors and that these were all done by himself (with plenty of blood, sweat, and tears, I might add), but I think I can safely say that he is officially an awesome writer. He's looking into options for publishing one in a journal and probably submitting one for a presentation at a conference in Edinburgh in June...field trip!!!
Finally, last huge thing that's happened - Dad and Elaine have made their travel plans and will be here on the 16th of March!!! Super, super excited to see them and to have guests in our new place! Already planning what we will do and what I will cook ;)
There are all sorts of sweet, small things, too, though - like the surprise birthday party the girls at work threw for me. They took me out to a bar nearby and then to a club for salsa dancing. Even though it was not up everyone's alley, I think it was one of the most fun nights I've had since I've been in the UK, so that was pretty huge. Also, when it was all rainy and icy here just after Christmas, and my half marathon training was going by the wayside, one of the girls from work offered to let me use her treadmill so I could get back on track. Thanks, Claire!
The best things in life are often the gifts that keep giving. After Christmas, Chad started picking up his guitar now and then, but was mostly so engrossed in writing his final papers that it sat all sad and dejected in the corner. This month, though, after his papers were submitted, I've been able to once again bask in the background music glory of my husband playing around with a new rhythm. It's good to have it back. I've missed it.
Lastly, yesterday I auditioned for "The Fabulous Stockingtops", a women's singing group with an attitude that specializes in swingin' tunes - we sang "And All that Jazz", "Breaking Up is Hard to Do", and "One Fine Day", among others, and I even recognized a few of the women as customers from the shop. So I think I'll probably end up doing that, which will be a great way to get to know some more people. Chad and I are also looking at joining a karate dojo once we get settled in our new place. It's on Tuesday nights and quite close by to where we'll be living. Some friends in Bar Harbor do it together with their two sons, and it just seems like such a great family activity, not to mention great exercise, so we thought we'd give it a whirl.
So. That's our story and we're sticking to it. Thank you all for making our lives so full and joyful. We love you!!!!!