So much happened in 2012, that I get overwhelmed trying to remember it all. So, Jared and I thought we’d go through our photos and make a small monthly collage of our life happenings…but that proved to be even more overwhelming! How do you sum up so much in only 5 monthly photos?
2012 was by-far the most amazing year of our lives. We experienced so many new places and cultures, as well as learned and grew as individuals and as a family.
So, without further ado…our month-by-month playback of 2012:
Late in the month Jared’s parents came for a visit and we went to Melaque for some beach time!
In February we had more visitors…this time a few fellow business owners/friends from Alaska who were seeking some sunshine in the South! We made another beach trip, this time to Puerto Vallarta and it’s neighboring towns!
In March, some friends arrived to housesit for us, and we took off on a 6 week road trip down the West coast of Mexico (starting from Colima all the way down to the Guatemalan border). Some highlights included Colima, Zihjuatanejo, Acapulco (where we had our first experience with corrupt cops), and Huatulco.
We crossed the border into Guatemala (not the best crossing of our lives) and made our way to Antigua to enjoy Semana Santa (Holy Week…aka…Easter week) festivities in their streets! Lots of processions, and beautiful handcrafted “carpets” made from colored sawdust, flowers and fruits! It was a feast for the eyes and soul!
This month cannot be summed up in just 5 photos, and we haven’t even gotten around to blogging about it, yet! So…this month gets more
We spent a few weeks in Panajachel, on Lake Atitlan, hanging out with friends and spending time exploring the villages overlooking the expansive lake and nearby volcanoes!
We also returned to Antigua and admired the beautiful architecture, and then headed further East to visit the pyramids of Tikal.
This has to be one of the most amazing months of our lives. We sure crammed a lot in! But we didn’t stop there…this was a round-trip roadtrip!
We decided to squeeze Belize into our schedule and visited our friends who were living on Ambergris Caye (we had just met them in person for the first time in Guatemala)! We had a great time, and celebrated our 9th Anniversary!
After checking out of Belize, we slowly drove back up through Mexico, seeing Agua Azul again (when it was actually blue water, not brown), and then visiting San Cristobal de las Casas. They were stunning!
Next we hit up Oaxaca, Tepoztlan, and Taxco. We returned home to Ajijic exhausted, and grateful for the amount of experiences we had in the 6 weeks of driving through Mexico, Guatemala and Belize! Those were such rich cultural experiences!
Our slowest month of the year! It had less than 1/5 the amount of photos as all of the other months…and it was our chance to refresh briefly before speeding up again! We had some swimming days, painting classes, and Ella won first place in a competitive gymnastics competition (her first)! I also learned first-hand the value of Mexican Medical Tourism…
By the time July swung around, we had held a big garage sale to further simplify our lives and decrease our stuff. We packed up what was left and took it back up the US. When we arrived in Washington State, we dropped the kids off at Grandma & Grandpa’s house, and took off on a two week getaway to Alaska by ourselves! We cruised one-way North and enjoyed a Misty Fjords flight tour in Ketchikan, whale watching in Juneau, and spent a joyful day in Skagway catching up with our old friends and old lives. The cruise ended in Seward and we rented a car for a week of further exploration to Homer, Anchorage, and Valdez!
We returned from Alaska refreshed and a bit nostalgic, and enjoyed two back-to-back family reunions—the first one in Washington State, and then another one in San Diego. The San Diego trip included Disneyland, Seaworld, the beach and many of the other typical California fare!
Then we returned to Mexico with my parents, who were visiting for the first time. We re-explored San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Leon with them! It is always so wonderful to share experiences like this with family!
Did I mention we were getting stir-crazy in Mexico? We had considered moving to Guatemala in September…but decided it wasn’t for us (too small…Jared would run out of places to drive to and explore!), and then we started considering other areas in Mexico. However, in the end we decided to push up our plans by a year and head to Europe in Fall 2012! We started our European adventures in Northern Germany—spending much of our time in Hamburg and Lubeck with friends.
Then we made a beeline South for family who lives near Frankfurt, and spent a month living in their extra apartment and jumping out from there for trips throughout Southern Germany and Austria! Our favorites included Rothenburg, Wurzburg, Salzburg, Lake Obersee, and an amazing gorge hike we did with the kids! (there’s so much left to blog about from Europe!)
The whole countryside of Germany and Austria are filled with vineyards, farmlands, old historic farmhouses, and overall greenery that makes our hearts melt! Not to mention the architecture!
It was starting to get cold by late October, so we made a quick trip down to Switzerland and stayed in a town very near where my great ancestors are from! Waking up to cow bells on a mountaintop farm is a beautiful way to start each day!
But alas, we were cold! We started driving south through Italy, France, and down the Eastern Coast of Spain (first hitting up the Catalonia region—beautiful!)! We spent the remainder of October lazing around in a rental house near Marbella, wishing Spain was warm and sunny like we had hoped.
Fortunately, by early November we made some trips out of the rental house (rain or shine!) and visited the stunning Alhambra, Ronda, and Arcos de la Frontera where we caught up with my traveling Aunt who I hadn’t seen in 15+ years (and who had never met Jared or the kids).
We finished the month off by driving up the Western side of Spain, through France, and back to Frankfurt for another week or so. Then…an international flight landed us in THAILAND!
We celebrated Thanksgiving among friends (a large crowd of like-minded traveling families), and experienced a breathtaking lantern release in Chiang Mai, an International Hot Air Balloon Festival, and enjoyed the overall amazingness of Asia for the first time.
It was time to renew our Thai visa, so we set off for a 2 week holiday vacation to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. We took our friend’s Saigon Street Eats tour, split our time between their house and a hotel in the city, had a traditional huge Christmas dinner with an American family we met at church, visited a Buddhist-themed water park, saw the amazing Vietnamese water puppet show, and in general had a great time trying to navigate street crossings in the insane motorbike traffic of a city of 9 million people!
If you’d asked me last January what I thought we would be doing in 2012, there is NO WAY I would have guessed this!
So….what does 2013 hold? Only time will tell!
Meanwhile…I’m overwhelmed that I still haven’t blogged about 6 months worth of adventures from 2012, yet. I haven’t gotten to some of the very best adventures, yet!
I’ll get to it…someday. But seriously…how can blog posts capture the magic of an amazing year like that?!
Happy end to 2012…and Happy New Year in 2013!