Looking back and forward

Happy New Year!  Feliz Año Nuevo!


NYE fireworks in the plaza

Christmas came and went quickly, and bizarrely this time.  I don’t know that it ever ‘felt’ like Christmas for me this year, missing all those familiar sensory inputs of cold air, cinnamon and apple smells, sweaters and scarves,  mulled wine, and nonstop Christmas radio music.  I think these representations of Christmas 2017 opposed to Christmas 2018 illustrate my use of the word bizarre:

They don’t do Christmas music on the radio here, so while at home, I’d go on youtube and find whatever Christmas type I had a hankering for.  Here’s a couple of my top hits: First a couple hours of soothing jazzy Christmas tunes that I’d put on in the background while doing things around the house:  (This one I am sharing for you mom, I think you’ll like it.)

And second, an animated video of the song ‘Joy to the World’.  This is my absolute favorite version of the Christmas classic and is one of those songs that fills up my heart.  It’s a clip from ‘Claymation Christmas‘, which is an awesome Christmas video I watch every single year:

Since I am sharing music, here are a few songs that were popular on the radio here (and that I like) in 2018.  When I hear them in the future I think I will associate them with happy thoughts of my first year in Bolivia.

This first three are fun happy tunes that make me want to dance while driving the car:

This next one is more of a love song as it’s lyrics are something like this, ‘to have 100 years with you, with you my life is better, you help me see the rocks in my path as steps, 100 years with you dancing the same song …’:

And finally, this one is just so fun to listen to. The group Maná, I venture to say, is the Latin world equivalent of Aerosmith in both age, and staying power.  I love a lot of their music.  In this one, they teamed up with an artist who is famous in his own right and re-recorded one of their older hits:

2018 is behind us now, and frankly, good riddance!  It was a heavy year for me (us) and I am happy to move forward with hope and determination for a better year.  These last couple of days I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting, and have made a list of 19 things for 2019.  You may remember, I did a list of 18 for 2018 and although I didn’t complete all 18 of the tasks, I did like having it as a guide to check-in on throughout the year and it was helpful in reflecting.

19 for 2019

  1. Meal planning – it’s a thing people do and I hear it’s super helpful, I am tired of hungrily scrounging through my fridge and cabinets trying to cobble something together last minute.  I can do this.
  2. 2 nights out per month with Mauricio – we’re upping our game this year from the last, and looking forward to it!
  3. Foster new friendships with C and L – these two ladies I met just in the last month.  Both are very cool and easy to be around.  I’ve been so lonely this last year and while you’d think that would motivate a person to reach out, it’s been hard for me to do exactly that.  These girls have been making efforts and I am determined to reciprocate!
  4. Private
  5. Keep in touch with friends in other places – important!
  6. Get Mica in preschool – we’ve got a spot reserved for Mica at the preschool Naomi attended last year, she will start in March and that will give me free mornings!
  7. Car tuneup – Bolivia measures by kilometers and my car hit the 6,000km mark a few weeks ago so I am due for an oil change and a routine check up
  8. Explore side hustle ideas – I’ve started listening to a daily podcast called ‘Side Hustle School‘ that talks about the various side businesses that people around the world have started without leaving their current job.  It’s a short podcast usually around 15-20 minutes, but very interesting to hear about all the different problems people have found solutions for, or different niches people have found a way to cater.  I’ve been bouncing around a few ideas but nothing too serious.
  9. Facts of Life Book – this is a project I started last year but lost steam and haven’t worked on it since.  I got the idea from author Gretchen Rubin (who does the Happier podcast I like to listen to). She suggested making a book of all the important facts of your life that someone may need in case you were no longer available to take care of your family or finances.  These facts include topics such as:  where is your money, who are your doctors, how to contact family members, medical history, allergies, mortgage or rental info etc… She talks in depth about it in this video if you are inclined to hear more (the link for the video will open in Facebook) or if you prefer to listen, they discuss in depth the idea on the podcast here.
  10. Submit final medical insurance claims from Germany – ugh, there’s a reason this hasn’t been finished. However it’s also utterly stupid to miss out on money that is rightfully ours, so I’m gonna buckle down and do this.
  11. Go to the dentist – because teeth are important and it’s been a while 😁
  12. Go to the hair salon – I haven’t been to a hair salon here in SCZ yet and I’ve been wanting to do a drastic cut…although I may chicken out and just get a trim.
  13. More whimsy in my life – I want to have more fun in the little moments
  14. Buy a few every-day dresses– fact is, I love wearing dresses but I only have one that fits me now.  I need dresses!
  15. Better our morning routine – it’s been chaotic mornings in 2018 but I am already implementing ways to make it better and more relaxed
  16. One night a week is my night – to go to a movie alone or meet with friends, it doesn’t matter what I do but I need one evening for me
  17. Another private one
  18. Spanish!!!!!! I’m better than I was but there’s plenty of room to improve
  19. Join an exercise class – once Mica starts preschool in March I will have my mornings kid free and have my eye on a pool exercise class

So that’s it! Totally doable, 2019 is going to be better.  Last year I had a mantra that I wrote up on a piece of paper and put by the front door.  I found that regular reminder comforting (thanks cousin!) and so I’ve decided to do it again this year.  This year my mantra is:

‘Breathing in, I send myself love. (…)’

Credit for the mantra goes to Lindsay at The Little Pine.  Although the entire mantra is longer, this short little phrase feels right for me.  My inner voice this last year has often whispered negative things and a reminder to love myself will help me be happier and love others as well.

In typical sign-off fashion, here’s a quick Christmas themed Spanish lesson:

  • Merry Christmas = Feliz Navidad
  • snow = nieve
  • cinnamon = canela
  • joy = alegría
  • star = estrella
  • love = amor
  • Santa Claus = Papá Noel



2 responses to “Looking back and forward

  1. Wow, quite a post! The Claymation song is a beautiful one in many ways. Your 19 things for 2019 seems doable, nice! Will read this post again for sure. Had a lovely picture at the end. 🤗. Mom

  2. Oh Lori – I love reading your posts! I admire your tenacity and honesty. Life can be difficult and the determination to do better next year is always good for all of us. I too am ready for a happy, joyful 2019 and am planning ways to enjoy that! You are doing a wonderful job of settling into a different culture, climate, customs, friendships… It all takes a toll on a person! I will pray for you as you continue in your quest for 2019! I send love to you and your sweet family from Max and I! I love you! Aunt Sandra

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