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With only two days left to go in the year, I decided it was time to do some obligatory reflection.  Let’s see if I can recall some highlights from 2011.  I am in no way organized enough to give you something like a top ten.  That would mean planning out this blog post before I started writing, and you know that never happens.

One of the most exciting moments of my life technically happened on Christmas day in 2010, but it was one of the things I wanted to share that made me start this blog in the first place.  Geoff asked me to marry him. I cried like a girl and then said yes.  I was ecstatic for days, and I’m sure it must have spilled over into the new year, so I feel like it most definitely deserves a shout out.

After doing a ton of research into the immigration process, (This was all done by Geoff.  He’s the smart one on this team.) we decided that the only way for us to move to Hawaii without the possibility of being separated was to get legally married in Taiwan and apply for a green card for Geoff from the US “embassy” in Taipei.  This meant a ton of paperwork had to be gathered from all over the world, but eventually we gathered all of the stamps and signatures.  Without any ceremony, we went down to the household registry office and filed our marriage certificate.  On March 4th, we became husband and wife in the eyes of the law in Taiwan and America.  We’re still not legally married in the UK.  I should probably hide his passport.  Okay, not really.

A lifelong dream came true in April when we flew to England for two weeks for Geoff to be in a friend’s wedding.  I had grown up reading and loving English literature.  It only takes half a second on my blog to realize I adore Harry Potter. England has always held a romantic fascination for me.  I couldn’t believe I would finally get to walk the streets of London and stroll through the English countryside.  It was an exhausting and wondrous trip.  We traveled all over England by train, and we had nearly perfect weather.  I absolutely fell in love with the country, and I can’t wait to go back, especially to see Geoff’s family and my great friend Gaz.  I know a lot of people who live there aren’t that fond of England, but to me, it’s still of place of magic and wonder.

Definitely the most stressful experience of  2011 was getting Geoff’s visa.  There was a week when we thought it might not happen.  He had pretty much already been offered his job at the zoo.  It was time to book the tickets.  Everything was happening.  But we didn’t have that one piece of paper that said he could get in to the country.  I cannot express the level of relief when, without ceremony, they told us he was granted the visa.  I nearly fell over right there in the immigration office.

With that most important piece of paper nicely laminated in his passport, we were able to pack up most of our belongings into our suitcases, give the rest of our stuff away, and leave Taiwan forever.  There’s not a lot about that place that I miss, but I do dearly miss our friends and hope they come to visit soon.  Also, we have yet to find a place as perfect to hang out in on a Friday night as the Early Bird Diner.  Go and drink a white Russian for us, Taiwan friends.

So now we’re here living in paradise, and it is as completely beautiful as you could have imagined.  Every single day I am in awe of its beauty.  I hope I never take it for granted.  We found a place to live, two scooters, and now a car.  I got a job, got another job, quit the first job, and am now really happy working retail at Island Sole selling flip flops and not being responsible for any children’s futures.  We’ve made some really cool friends here.  And the most exciting thing is, there’s still so much to explore on this island.  But that’s in the future.  And that’s a blog for another day.  The last day.  Well, probably later today.

I guess this is the part where I say, “Well, a lot can happen in a year.”  Well, it can, and it did.  It’s been stressful and wonderful and full of laughter and full of tears and completely horrible and completely perfect and it’s my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The best thing about the new year is that it’s the end and the beginning at the same time.  That’s its own kind of magic.  I’m ready for it.


About Renee

Life should be awesome, even if your paycheck isn't. I'm trying to live awesomely on $20 a day.

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