It was an exciting and upsetting day all in one. For me personally, when I think about leaving my daughter behind I still get upset even now, a whole year later. But it wasn't just my daughter who was left behind. We also left behind my Mum and my Dad, my baby sister and 3 of my nieces. We left behind friends and co-workers, teachers and schools, homes, and a multitude of familiar and welcoming things. We made a conscious decision to only take with us the personal stuff and clothes we needed, so furniture and other material items were found new homes or were thrown away!
Now matter how I look at it sitting here this morning, it just doesn't seem like a year has past! Where did go? What have we achieved? Was it worth it? They are questions that are running through my head. They say that time flies when you are having fun, and we have certainly had some fun and laughs over the last 12 months. There have also been some trials and tribulations to go along with it all, but on the whole there has been way more good stuff than bad stuff.
- My daughter, the beautiful A graduated from Warwick University with a BA (Hons) in Theatre & Performance Studies, and I got to fly back to the UK to watch the ceremony and spend time with my family
- My eldest son, gorgeous G graduated middle school as Valedictorian with a GPA of 4.0 and the English Language Arts Prize, having only been at the school for one full semester and without any weighting on his GPA.
- My wonderful S and I got married, in the back garden, by Chris Robinson, celebrity Officiant, although we had no clue how well known he was at the time (http://www.officiantguy.com/). Now of course we can tell people that we got married by the same guy who married Scott Baio, Milla Jovovich, Gene Simmons & Tori Spelling to name but a few - that's pretty cool!
- Myself, G and H were all granted our Green Cards and became Permanent Residents of the US.
- I took my 2nd driving test and passed first time (again)
- Handsome H, discovered he has a natural talent for playing the drums and promptly gave up.
- G took up Hapkido and will pass his purple belt before we move.
- My wonderful S left his job at the hospital to work for the hospital association and then got laid off, which was not fun, but he got plenty of work privately while looking for something permanent again so it was all good.
- S got a personal letter of commendation from Colonel Noto of the USAF, for the work he has done and continues to do for the AFSO21 office.
- The beautiful A, came to spend 5 weeks with us here in Sierra Madre and whilst I couldn't persuade her to stay, we had a great time while she was here.
- My parents came to stay with us for 2½ weeks which was fabulous and we got to do some cool stuff with them, like see the space shuttle Endeavour on her last ever flight.
- More recently we have heard that my Dad no longer needs to have an intensive course of intravenous chemo for his prostate cancer, but is able to go onto a brand new wonder drug which is just brilliant.
- My Dad also got another all clear after his bowel cancer and doesn't need to be checked again on that for another 12 months - Wow!
- My wonderful S, got offered a great job with Walmart that whilst not being in the field he really wants to be in (healthcare), means that we are moving to Arkansas and buying a big house on a lake in the forest, instead of renting a small house in suburban LA. The difference to the quality of life is totally immeasurable and is way above anything we had dared to hope for here in LA where the cost of Living is just crazy high, and S says it is totally worth getting out of healthcare for!
- I finally met some great people, and believe I have a couple of new friends that I can add to my little select list of 'real' friends - you know the ones who are there no matter what. The ones that call a spade a spade, tell you when you are being and idiot, but still love you anyway.
- We have cemented relationships with new family, and got to visit some cool places on family get-together's.
- I met some of S's oldest friends and found that WE hit it off instantly as well, and I can now look forward to finally paying them a visit at their home in New Mexico, as we make the journey across to Arkansas in December. I am so excited about that :-)
- I still haven't visited my middle sister in Massachusetts yet. She has lived there for nearly 13 years and I have never visited her. We do talk a lot more on the phone now though. However, interestingly, I believe that here in Sierra Madre, I am actually further away from her than I was before I moved from the UK! It just seems closer because the time difference is less and there isn't a giant piece of ocean between us...lol
- The boys and I got to visit some cool places. We have been to Arizona, New Mexico and Arkansas - got to see the inside of airports in New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee & Arkansas. We have seen the Golden Gate Bridge, been inside the Rose Bowl and watch a football game, visited the Meteor Crater and taken photographs of the Space Shuttle as it flew overhead.
There are probably a million things that I should have added to my list and haven't, but I think all in all, this past year has definitely had more upside than downside. Now of course we are facing major upheaval again with the move to Arkansas - but I am so sure it is going to be the best thing for us as a family, and I can see us going from strength to strength over the coming months.
So no regrets - Bring on another year!
Have a wonderful day