Hey, I'm back! Apparently, I needed a two-year vacation from this blog. There were several times I thought about deleting it, but something in the back of my mind kept saying "don't, you'll come back to it someday," and folks, it looks like TODAY IS THE DAY.
So how have I been keeping busy since 2010? In many ways. There have been a few big changes in my life, but most things are still the same. We'll start with the similarities:
• I'm still a stepmother! So many times when these types of blogs go silent for long periods of time, I'm sure it's assumed that something has gone wrong. That's not true in my case - I've just been distracted.
• I'm still traveling to all my favorite unusual places for work every year. I went to Mongolia for the first time last summer and my 2012 season is about to kick off next month with a trip to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. I'm not tired of this job yet.
• The family and I still live in Glasgow and I'm still trying to navigate life as an expat here. In many ways, that never gets any easier...it's all about the coping strategies and focusing on what is GOOD and trying to ignore the rest. In all the traveling I've done since my big blog silence began, I still haven't been home to Seattle since 2010. That's something that WILL happen before the end of the year, come hell or highwater! It's been too long since my last visit.
• All my hobbies and interests are largely the same; I still knit, cycle, cook and read with great regularity. I still struggle to find the time to write letters. Actual pen-to-paper letter writing is something I'll always say I should do more often, but struggle with. In 2011, one of my New Year's resolutions was to write one letter a month - just one! - and I didn't even manage that. The shame!
• There's a teenager in our house now. How did that happen? My elder stepson hit the big one-three last year! His little brother is about to turn eleven, so we have a while to gird our loins for the day that there will be TWO teenagers in our house. I must say (and this isn't just a bunch of cheery stepmom "everything's GREAT" BS) that so far, having a teenager in the house hasn't been the scary experience I thought it might be. Our teenager in question hasn't been acting like the stereotypical insufferable teenager (yet?) and most importantly, the lines of communication are still as open as they've always been. My husband and I love being kept in the loop, so this is really important to us. Long may it continue.
• I started running again late last year. I used to run ages ago because I was on my high school rowing team and running was a necessary evil to keep in shape for crew, but I've never really loved it. Even now, I still don't LOVE it, but I run because it's an efficient way to stay active and more or less in shape. Since I restarted this running kick back in November, I've run two 5ks, and I have another one next weekend and on the 24th, I'll run my first 10k since 1997. So I'm sure I'll blog a little bit about that, but I'll try not to bore you to death with all the minutiae of my running life.
• The biggest and best change in our lives of late has been that we moved to a new flat last month. It's just half a mile from our old flat, but it's a world apart in terms of our quality of life. I never really liked our old flat - it was just a place that we had to move to because we needed to live in a two-bedroom flat in order for me to get a visa (the first flat we all lived in together was just a one-bedroom, and as an immigrant I could have actually been deported for living there). So we lived at the old place for two years and eleven months and in all that time it never really felt like a cozy home. I'll spare you the litany of things I hated about that flat and just say that our new place is PARADISE! It's bright, fresh and clean, it has a dishwasher (my #1 requirement for wherever we moved because we didn't have one before), and we have lovely views of the hills and countryside north of Glasgow. To me, this place is more than just a flat - it has signaled the start of a whole new life and I'm so glad to be here. It means a lot to me to have a home I can be proud of, and I never had that feeling at the old flat. It's great to have a place I like coming home to.