January 02, 2016

Year in Review--2015

It has been interesting to be back in the United States and see some of the Holiday traditions that are celebrated different from other places. One of which is Christmas Cards. For the first year since Lady Hiva and I have been married we have received a WHOLE BUNCH of cards. We are not sure what to do with them. We have never sent out cards, because we have lived in other countries (that was our excuse) and every year I do a Year in Review. So we might as well keep our tradition alive and forgo the formal Christmas cards and present our Year in Review for 2015.

As with many years past, 2015 has been a year of change and adventure. Life was on full rush from one project and experience to the next. It felt like we were busy preparing, working and concentrating on the project at hand and as soon as it was complete, there was no time to rest because the next project was waiting our attentions.

Through it all we feel we have been very blessed. We have a happy little Lucky Dragon, who has matured and gown so much this year--he has learned to speak more understandably, his alphabet, his numbers, colors, shapes and is trying to sound out words (we aren't sure where he gets that). We have been able to spend plenty of time with family here in Utah and in Hawaii. That has been one of the biggest changes for us. We have so many aspects of being from two large families that we missed for so long and now it is all right in our face! (All the good AND the...not so good included).

Some highlights include, moving to the States again, something we never expected to do, and purchase another house (one that we actually get to live in for longer than a few months). Dustin finished and graduated with his Masters Degree, we spent several weeks throughout the year at home in Hawaii, we added 8 countries to our list of travels. We literally toured through the Book of Acts in all the ancient sites located in Turkey and Greece. Most of all we are thankful we are all healthy and happy.

Here are some highlights by month:

We kicked January off with a bang! After a trip to Cappadocia, Turkey we made our way to Paris, France and loved the food, sites and people. We also made a beautiful trip to Belgium and saw one of our favorite quaint European villages--Bruges.
Paris, France
Bruge, Belgium
In February we said goodbye to one of my heroes--Normy. He has a battle with health issues at the end and that, coupled with the knowledge we will see him again, it was a mix of sadness to know he is gone, but thankfulness he is no longer suffering. We spent time in Greece touring Athens, walking on Mars Hill, and visiting some of the most ancient temple sites around the country. Back in Turkey we traveled to Izmir (Smyrna in the Book of Revelations), Ephasis (from the Book of Acts) and other historical sites in Turkey.
Athens, Greece
Ephasus, Turkey
March is the month we celebrate Lady Hiva. Ok, you are right, we celebrate Lady Hiva being part of our lives all the time, but in March we specially get to celebrate her with her birthday. And this year her request was to travel to Poland to buy some Polish Pottery (a new addiction for her). On the way we spent time enjoying the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic then finished a beautiful circle by touring a special corner of Germany--Dresden. 
Prague, Czech Republic
Polish Pottery
Dresden, Germany

We finally told everyone that we are separating from the Foreign Service. A emotional and stressful and happy experience all at the same time. It is such a part of our lives but we were excited to see what the journey ahead was bringing. We celebrated Easter weekend in a country 95% Muslim and had a blast. We were blown away with Spring in Turkey with all the Tulips and then made our way back to Poland for a second wind (I told you she was addicted) and stayed in a Castle. We also made a visit to Berlin and saw some sobering WWII sites. 
Easter Egg Hunt, Istanbul, Turkey
Berlin Wall

May was the biggest month of change. We went left Istanbul, Turkey full of excited apprehension for the future and a bit of sadness to be closing a loved chapter of our lives. We made another stop in France and saw our old friend Paris and then spent time in the French Countryside. We were then welcomed to Utah. Dustin also graduated with his Masters.


We explored our new surroundings in Utah Valley and found all of the things we like about it. We also found plenty of time to spend with family members all over the state. Lady Hiva and Tau'aho spent most of the month visiting family in Hawaii. Now Tau'aho begs to 'go to the beach.'

July we celebrated Independence day--which was amazing to be back in the States for, my patriotic side spilled out everywhere. We ran a 5k together in waist deep bubbles and then celebrated the 24th of July together. Tau'aho turned 2 years old this month!

We had a family reunion with Lady Hiva's family from all over the world in Heber City. We also found a house that we liked enough to buy after months and months of searching.

This month there was not much travel or fun because the house we bought we decided to remodel! YIKES! We literally worked from morning until...well, morning...trying to complete it. But the end result is something we are proud of.

October was full of family experiences and events. When we weren't going from event to event we filled our time with projects. Lady Hiva and I dreamed up all kinds of projects to work on.

The highlight of November was spending several weeks at home in Hawaii. We loved being there among the people we love and the places (and food) that make us comfortable. In other words, we came home fat and happy.

This last month we look back and are so thankful for all that we have experienced this year. We went to the NFR for the first time and supported a cousin that was competing and we filled each day with a celebration of Christmas--a craft, a project, an event or anything that we could do to enjoy the time together. It was also fun to help Tau'aho, for the first time understand the Christmas is more than receiving gifts and Santa Claus (which is not too hard because he doesn't understand the 'Santa Concept' anyway).

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