I’m starting off the new year with a much better half.

It is the best way to start.

It is sad, in a way, to say goodbye to a year that was so good to us; I graduated from college, Jimmy moved from Detroit to Boise after his first year with the company, my sister is expecting #2, my nephew turned 1, my other sister got hitched, Jimmy and I tied the knot and left for Finland (after a dream honeymoon), we’ve traveled endlessly…the list goes on.

It has also been a very trying year, much for the same reasons. It was a year of endless changes, uprooted comforts, and a lifetime of lessons. Moving to a strange country 10 days after our wedding proved to be much harder than I had anticipated. We left our amazing families and friends behind to try our luck at starting anew. I learned that I could let these changes get the better of me -usually an outgoing and enthusiastic person- and I spent too much time feeling lost and wallowing in my own misery. However, the lack of physical contact with our familiar support systems has made us find solace in the constant presence of our other half. We have been forced to deal with each other, to push each other, and to settle into an quiet, happy routine. We have to resolve disagreements almost instantly, because where else could we go (other than email or skype)? We know each other better than we ever did in our first 10 years. We have not spent a single day apart for the last 4 months, and now I cannot imagine being alone for one night in this small apartment. This, after the months-long stretches of our long distance engagement.

So it is with both nostalgic sadness and also with excitement that I bid adieu to 2014 in order to welcome the coming year.

New year, new you right?

No. I am sick of hearing that. A new year does not make a new you. But it is an opportunity to make you a bit better.
I think resolutions are a bit half-assed. I would rather make changes than resolutions; goals rather than expectations.

And by putting these goals on the blog, you are all going to hold me responsible.
….right?

#1: Invest in the opportunity
Until now, I never really grasped Helsinki as my home, but rather as an temporary stopping point. Coming into this next year, I have realized the fact that I live here and I will be living here for at least another year and a half, if not more.
Therefore, I am going to invest myself in this place. I am signing up for classes. I am going to actually apply for work, despite my absolute fear of being turned down because of my lack of foreign language skills. At the very least, I want to find volunteer work through church. I am doing these things so I can meet people. When I leave Finland, I want to leave behind a community as strong as the one I left in the states. This is an opportunity that most people would die for; to meet new people and to do something with their time that they want to do. So I am doing it.

#2: Physical health
What are New Years resolutions goals without something to do with fitness?
I am going to wake up when Jimmy does. As he goes off to work, I am going to work out. Run outside, weather permitting. Strength training inside. I have gotten lazy with fitness, which is a poor habit to form so young. God gave me a working, healthy body, so I should respect that. I get to run and lift and be healthy. Plus, “exercise gives you endorphin’s, endorphin’s make you happy…”

#3: Launch Graphics Site
After we moved, I spent some time and energy brainstorming what to do with my time/life. I am still hesitant about architecture being the right path for me. I really enjoy graphic design, which correlates to architectural training more than you would guess. I did most of the graphics for my wedding, in an attempt to “brand” the event. This eventually lead me around to what I have been slowly working on: a line of customized wedding invitation suites and other paper goods.
For the last little while, I have been focusing on the family Christmas cards. But going into this new year, I am determined to actually get this thing up and running.
I will have a website up by the end o February.
I will have at least 5 full lines ready by then.
I will establish a reliable printing source.
Even if in this thing doesn’t take off in this saturated market, it will be really good practice for me. I am very excited about it, and I will fully invest myself in its development.

#4: A Word a Week
…will help us to speak…?
Each week, I will post a commonly used word or phrase in Finnish. This will not only help me to learn some language (which I have otherwise given up on), but should be fun for you all! Seeing the words spelled out is usually entertainment enough…
Tip: If you want some good family fun after dinner (and a few glasses of wine), buy a Finnish phrase book and pass it around the table, taking turns to try and pronounce the words. If you don’t get lost in the middle of one, you win.

So there we go.

I have a great feeling about 2015. With projects on the boards, a few trips in the making, and this amazing place that we live in, I cannot imagine it being anything other than awesome!

Happy New Year to you and yours! May your New Year dreams come true.

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