New country, new house, new job, new life.
Bringing in the new year was bittersweet. We were tired from the house set-up and really did need the rest over Christmas and New Year’s. We have had no friends over yet, which made for a quiet evening. My mom did make the trek over the water and came to visit us last week and we did spend time talking to our family overseas and up north on Facetime. So no complaints. Our family is nice and close, if they still seem too far because of COVID-OMICRON regulations. I wish this new year to bring health to humanity, some long term solutions about global warming, population controls, and pollution. I wish for the governments to stop taking animal habitats away to produce food, so these crossover viruses do not become a normal thing. I wish for world peace… I wish for many things to happen to save the planet.
Last year I did not get around to writing a New Year’s Resolution list. Most likely, although I cannot remember why now, I was so overwhelmed by 2020; the lock downs, the grocery store line-up and restrictions, masks, school closures and online teaching and learning that I did not have anything to say. So many were out of work, I was very lucky to not have missed a beat, and actually my work in Hungary teaching English increased. Overall the year of isolation was hard; teaching to a screen and the decision, exactly a year ago today, to sell our home, and move away from Budapest Hungary. I could not carve out a list from all the things which needed to be done out of sheer survival to put energies towards selfgrowth. It seemed selfish. We had bigger fish to fry, more important things to worry about, and problems to tackle because moving countries is not for the faint of heart. It takes a focussed determination, and a certain goal oriented mindset. However, we did make a few ‘to do’ lists for sure!
During 2021 quarantine, Angelina, Daniel, Alfonz and I did a whole lot of walking and talking. I felt very close to our family during the beginning of the year; it brought us together three times a day for meals, walking to the stores, carrying food home for something to do, preparing food and moving plans and honestly, these little golden nuggets of awesome, made the pandemic bearable, if not at times wonderful. It was an introverted year of contemplation, cuddling together through the worry of it all, which going through made us want to go home; and for me, that meant closer to my own mother. Although, it was part and parcel with Angelina having health issues, which solidified our return. Canada’s health system seemed more reliable, more options that I trusted. I finally missed home for many reasons. It only took 10 long years, but I did eventually conjure up those feelings. And so we made the final steps towards a full circle home.
We wanted security from our country in times where uncertainty dominated. Canada offered more than other countries, and gave its citizens safety. It wasn’t easy to move home, but we felt it was the right choice long term for our children. Not only in terms of health care, but also job creation during the pandemic. After all COVID sank two of our businesses, we were just lucky we were still making money. So many were left homeless. Only time will tell if this was the right decision.
We packed our bags one last time to make the 10,000 km journey back to where our expat life began. We found work as soon as we landed, found a rental cottage, found a home to buy, found cars to drive, found a gym to work out in… self growth was nowhere in site… I did manage to finish my degree and received over 80%, That was my goal stated. I did manage to carve out some self care time, I did manage to read a few books, and I did manage to change my career once again. That was 2021 in a nutshell. That was in between orchestrating loans, buying real estate in a crazy market, ordering and getting the timing right for furniture and the ‘stuff’ that goes along with a house, purchasing insurances for both car and home, getting the kids set up in their new schools, navigating a new city and where to get the best price on healthy quality food products, etc… It was a marathon. Today we try to rest.
This year I want my resolutions to be more a reminder of what I need even in times of great stress and diversity; to strike a balance between work, school and play, to create time pockets throughout the course of the day and to give myself permission to rest; to root in one place and to find some peace and harmony in my new home.
New Year’s Resolutions 2022
#1 Take an hour break at lunch
This seems like a no brainer, however, for me the hardest part about working is disconnecting for a lunch break. Once I eat, I feel tired, I want to shut it down for the rest of the day. I have had to teach myself to do some errands during my lunch break to physically move and remove myself from the office environment; to go for a walk around the mall, park, or beach front; whatever it takes to force myself to stop working and to circulate my blood. I have managed 30 minutes on most days, but my goal is a full 60 minutes every day. After all they do not pay me for it, so why not utilize the time for self-care.
#2 Time to read for pleasure
Spending the last four years in university, studying with purpose was a necessity, but reading for pleasure was not an option; there are not enough hours in the day. This year I plan to read everyday for one hour no matter what!
#3 Write each day
Writing is a way for me to understand my feelings, taking account of what I am going through and often I have no idea what I am really thinking or feeling until I start writing. It clears my head of all the garbage, makes me think of the bigger picture around myself, and puts things into perspective. Journalling is my form of therapy and I cannot go long without it.
#4 Continue my studies
I would like to get a degree in psychology. I can apply two of my courses towards that degree, and take part time studies and finish in a couple of years. It was my favourite part of my education degree, and I would like to pursuit more knowledge in this vein. If for any reason, this would be for myself.
#5 Learn all there is to know about my new job
My job is complicated, running the full gamut of human emotions daily! It is exciting, interesting, complex and fulfilling, challenging and diversely different every single day. Nonprofits help people achieve their basic needs of survival; shelter, food and water and also create opportunities to give back to the communities we do business in. There is a level of accomplishment and satisfaction at the end of each day… I actually feel as though I am changing the world in some small way, making things better than they were before.
My goal is to learn everything in this industry. All aspects of housing to get a better idea of property management on this level, and how assets can be managed to make the most profit which then goes back into creating more affordable housing. The possibilities for the future within housing is a vastly growing industry especially in light of the current housing market and how out of reach it seems to be for the younger generations. It feels revolutionary to be part of something that should be a basic human right for all. We are making real change to make things happen.
#6 Write my new book
I have the outline constructed, sorted into three acts broken down into 3 chapters each at 3000 words and I am on Chapter 3/27. The introduction is already completed. I want this to be the ending and written account of the last decade of ‘My Expat Life’. It is my goodbye to the phenomena that was the last ten years of adventure with my family. It was brave, honest and fricken hard, but we loved every single second of it. I want moving around like vagabonds to have meant something deeper in the scheme of things. This is after all my (our) small mark on the world, the account of being an insignificant human life on a rock blasting through the universe. Travelling helped me make sense of this thing called life, showed me how we are all connected and alike. It made me whole. I love the story and so happy it is mine to share.
Dr. Phil once said, “Make a life you can get truly excited about.”
I believe with all my heart and soul that this is exactly what Alfonz and I did. I can only hope someone learns something from our experiences. My Expat Life, was the most profound thing I have ever done, with the exception of the miracle of bringing children into this world. I am very proud to have done this with such an incredible person, my partner in crime, Alfonz. He has put up with lots of crazy from me over the years, and managed to keep me grounded the whole way through. I also hope the kids being dragged along for the ride, can help them oneday realize the sacrifices we made to ensure a bright future for them. It changed all of us on so many different levels, rounded out our hard edges, and developed our characters and all sorts of different parts of ourselves. We learned to rely on each other, develop survival skills, carve out lives, and mould ourselves to fit into different roles, customs, and traditions. I hope this book will come across as a pursuit of happiness. I still feel incredible grateful for these unique experiences. They have made me who I am today.
#7 Find our furry baby
It is time to make our house a home. A pet is the last step in our family. We have not had a dog since Kiona and Elvis our cat being left in Hungary has left a giant hole in our family unit. We are searching for a poodle cross puppy or maybe a Beagle. My work said we can bring our puppies in, so I plan to and have even more reason to get out of the office each day.
#8 Same time each day, exercise
Movement for me now is something different than it was when I was younger. In my 20’s, 30’s, and even early 40’s sport was to stay fit. End of story. Now, it is about which sustains energy, which is hard for me to admit, because I am certain I have ADD, energy has never been an issue for me, in fact I always have too much of it. Now, I am nearing 50 and my body is starting to slow down, have aches and pains when I wake-up and not just after a hard workout, and the things I did to burn off the extra energy is actually the things I need to do to create it. Instead of packing on more weight, I would like to try to keep my energy levels up but moving everyday. My average is about 5000 steps per day, but I would love to increase this to 6000. Of course when we go for two hour walks is goes up to 12000, and in the summer, spring and fall months, we average about 10,000 per day. I would like my goal is for an average of 7000+ this year.
#9 Asking for help
I have a very hard time asking for help. I work as part of a very strong and supportive team, and I have to remember that we are all in this together. But asking for help expands the work place for me, and I often turn to my trusted circle of friends or my mother to help me through complicated issues. Of course my loving husband is always here too as are my very cool kids. I am there for them no matter what, and I sometimes I forget they are here for me. I have to learn to ask for help when I need it most, and not let emotions fester deep inside of me. I need to talk things out to relieve the stresses from the daily grind.
So that’s it for my 2022 resolutions. Not stop drinking or lose 10 lbs, nope, just keeping things super simple… I’ll be trying to keep things real.
Wishing everyone a health and prosperous new year full of COVID solutions, deep loving connections with friends and family again, and a wiser understanding of our place in this world and maybe even beyond… <3
New Year’s Resolutions 2020 2/6 is an all time low for resolutions!
√ #1 Finish my university with over 80%! high education diploma completed
x#2 Continue to lose those last kilos, due date August 3!
x#3 Chess it will never happen
√#4 Duck we made a version in the pressure cooker, simply devine!
x#5 50 before 50 List Started, but I don’t think I have 50 things left to do, but I will try!
x#6 House Little things and future big things inside our home! Instead we decided to move home and start again. I could always make decorating this home a priority. The quality of items purchased is more for long term.