Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2011 (and to life on the road)

One year ago today, Greg & I were in Vientiane, Laos. We had survived a harrowing 11-hour bus ride from Luang Prabang two days prior so I was quite glad to be on solid ground for a few days. Although there wasn't much to do in the capital city overall, we rang in 2011 at a huge party in Vientiane's main square complete with live music, bubbles, firecrackers and cheap beer.
Greg celebrates the new year in Vientiane, Laos
This year things will be quite a bit more subdued. Since returning to Nashville on December 4th from our 3-month honeymoon we have been busy planning for our move to Portland, OR. Originally scheduled to fly out on January 4th, we quickly realized that with all the Christmas parties and other things we had planned over the past month, we would not have sufficient time to prepare. Not to mention we still haven't found a place to live! So we delayed our departure until January 25th which gives us a bit more breathing room.

Yesterday I went to Summit Primary Care for my annual physical and well woman exam. I had almost forgotten that our insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield TN) provides 100% coverage for these checkups once per calendar year and luckily I was able to snag an early-morning appointment at the last minute. The last time I saw a doctor was in Rome, Italy in late March for treatment of bursitis in my left shoulder. And the last time I had a physical was prior to our round-the-world trip in May, 2010!

They ran all of the typical bloodwork, did a chest xray and EKG, and I got poked & prodded pretty thoroughly. The good news is that the doctor pronounced me in good health overall (assuming all the test results come back clean) with the exception that I need to see a dermatologist to have a mole removed on my upper back (one that has gotten larger & darker over the past year). Unfortunately I returned from our Christmas trip to Indiana with a cold so I am now suffering with sinus congestion and frequent sneezing. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic in case it gets worse but in the meantime I have to rest and let it run its course.

I don't plan to stay up to ring in 2012 tonight. And sadly I won't even spend the night with Greg since I'm trying to avoid making anyone else sick. Instead I'll have a quiet night at my grandmother's house in Hermitage and probably go to bed by 10pm.

I want to end this post on a more positive note with a few highlights of 2011. Greg & I completed the first leg of our RTW trip on May 4th after 278 days of traveling through 22 countries and 4 continents. Greg proposed to me on Memorial Day so we spent the next couple of months preparing for our wedding and organizing all of the parties we decided to have as an alternative to the typical same-day post-wedding reception. We got married on July 29th in a small, meticulously planned ceremony in Nashville. Then we were featured as Couple of the Week in The Tennessean's Wedding section on September 11th. Finally, we traveled to 23 countries in 92 days for our honeymoon!
I am thankful for the quality time we were able to spend with friends and family over the past year. We were actually "home" for about five months total, during which we spent lots of time with our immediate families, visited with our extended families a couple of times, took a trip to New York City to see friends there, incorporated visits with friends in Europe and the U.S. into our honeymoon, and I got to take two separate trips (girlfriend getaways) with my best friend Amy. On a sad note, my maternal grandmother passed away on November 9th, so I am especially thankful for the extra time I got to spend with her this year.
Greg & I with Grandmother Patterson at one of our wedding parties this summer
I have no idea exactly what 2012 has in store for us. For the first time in our three year relationship, we are actually planning to stay in one place for longer than a few months! We will soon be searching for new jobs in Portland, OR but are looking forward to enjoying all of the things we love about the city, including lots of craft beer, the mild climate and a car-free lifestyle. I am sure we will face many new challenges that are quite different from what we encountered while traveling in the U.S. and abroad over the past two years. But I think with patience, compassion, good communication, and lots of love we will not only adapt to but also thrive in our "new" life together. Happy New Year, everyone!
check out my star tiara!

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