Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today I arrived to a new country with 2 loaded suitcases and one confused dog! One year later, I have survived and I cannot believe it! I have adjusted, unpacked, gotten settled, traveled, laughed, cried, and eaten my way through the past 12 months in Europe and even a tip-toe into Asia!!

I cannot believe it has been 1 year! It seems like 1 month ago I was unpacking all of those boxes wondering what the heck have I gotten myself into! It has been one amazing and unforgettable year!

I have learned a lot about myself, matured in so many ways, become more open minded about the world and its issues, become more cultured in ways than I could ever try to explain, and more than anything...realized what is important to me and what is not! I have also become closer to some friends while being so far away, and lost touch with some as well.

This year had quite a few bumps in the road, and sometimes literally. With every bump there has been a good laugh. A special friend reminded me recently that I have to take the good with the bad and I could not agree more. I stopped complaining about the random things that seem to happen to me and started reflecting on all the blessings! And, oh, there have been so many blessings!

God has been with me throughout this journey! He brought special friends into my life in Brussels that I could not make it over here without. And, there has been all the traveling...the fun part of my job!

Over the past year, I visited 10 countries:

* Belgium (Brussels, Brugge, Leuven, Huy, Ghent, Antwerp)
* India (Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra)
* France (Paris 5 times including a trip to Disneyland; Giverny; Normandy Region including Utah Beach, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach; Champagne Region including Epernay and Reims; Sainte Mere-Eglise; Bayeux, Deauville; Honfleur)
* Hungary (Budapest)
* England (London, Manchester, Stoke, Crewe)
* Scotland (Edinburgh)
* Italy (Milan)
* Germany (Frankfurt, Berlin, Cologne)
* Netherlands (Amsterdam)
* Turkey (Istanbul)

One thing that I have enjoyed the most while being over here is the visitors who have come to see me (Mom, Kristen, Jennie, Gail, Ginnie, Jane, Lisa, Rick). I have already begun to take a lot of my day-to-day experiences for granted so when visitors come to see me, I start to appreciate life abroad more! Not to mention just how dang awesome it is to have my friends around me!!

This next year will be an exciting one as well, but a busy one too! Preparing to go back home is already on my mind and I have a lot of countries to see before that day arrives!

Thank you all for your support, love, phone calls, emails, cards, and special treats from the good ole US of A! I cannot tell you how much it means to hear from you!!

Here's to another incredible and successful year abroad!!


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Dear Tippa,
    What a lovely post! I totally understand what you mean about learning to appreciate the blessings and how the events in your life have changed you for the better. Congrats on a big first year overseas! It takes courage and determination to take on such an adventure. You have truly embraced the wonderful journey. I know it hasn't always been easy and I'm so proud of you for sticking with it! Take care of yourself. I look forward to catching up with you in person soon!