I left for a Canadian Christmas on Friday the 13th with no qualms. Three planes to Canada, and reached my final destination at 2 am. I had a marvellous visit, seeing all the family, talking and visiting with old friends (some even from high school days) and even enjoyed a fall of snow (all of about 5 inches!). I was treated very well, made to feel welcomed and the gift exchanges went well. Another set of three planes returned me to Panama on the 31st. The final part of my trip was the bus ride from Panama to Chitre where Chris waited for five hours due to miscommunication between us! The ride was straight from hell - really! The cost was the best part ($9.50),but we were over-crowded, the bus was old with tatty pink drapes and ruffled headings, and Spanish music played loudly all the way! Over four hours of this, and I was almost ready to kill! The saving grace was the little boy who took to me, sitting on his grandpa's lap, and babbling in Spanish, delighting in my lack of understanding. He slept part-way,but I could not be comfortable as squished as I was with my coat and bag on my knees. I will NOT do that again!
Chris met me and we arrived at the house around 9 pm; our party invite had been cancelled which was a blessing, as I felt absolutely wiped. We spent the next three hours sharing our time apart stories and saw the New Year in together. I know no-one who spent "good" 2013, and we all expressed hope for a better 2014! As January 1st dawned, we thought back over this first full year in our home, wondered how we had managed sometimes, laughed about the ups and downs and the many frustrations. Would we do it again? We concluded we had the adventure we desired, and more besides, and this second year could be even more interesting.
I bought a soccer autobiography, a new manicure set, apple TV, and Quality Street chocolates for Chris - and he bought me a bicycle! I have talked often of maybe riding to town if I had a bike. Now I have to walk that walk (actually ride the ride). OOPS!?
So the year has ended, and now I intend to summarize some of the main points I need to make for you. I'll include suggestions and references wherever possible...stay tuned.