Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Great Whirlwind of 2013

It's the 4th of January (Happy anniversary, mum and daddy!), and the excitement of the new year may already be wearing thin, but I'm feeling nostalgic for 2013 and the great memories it contains. 

It was a year that made very little sense. I mean, summer, autumn, a few weeks of winter, summer, autumn, winter...? I started the year as a Bentley, speaking English and surrounded by family, and said goodbye to the year as a Bartlett, speaking German in a country not my own, and surrounded by new friends and so many fireworks it made me a little afraid.

So, some highlights...

January: 


Wedding planning kicked up a notch and I started the year excited to no longer be a student but working: I was officially a ballet and French teacher and I loved it. (Why don't I have any photos with my entire French classes?)
At the end of the month Malcolm got a job too, which was a serious answer to prayer.

February: 


I was super-surprised by my kitchen tea party, and Malcolm was kidnapped and taken sword fighting for his bachelor party.

March:


8th: We found out that Malcolm got the funding to study in Germany.
16th: Malcolm's crushed finger incident... At least I have an x-ray so I know that the left hand I took in marriage has good-looking bones.
23rd: our wedding and then our honeymoon.

April: 


Malcolm's birthday, his master's graduation, our first Easter alone...
God answered and provided many, many times in the process of visa applications etc...

May:



We booked our tickets, sorted out all our stuff in our flat, said goodbye to our friends and family, boarded the plane, and arrived in Frankfurt and then Cologne.

June:


Malcolm started his language course and I started this blog and completed an online TEFL course.
It was rather surreal and idyllic as we explored Dunnwald and Koln, got given bicycles to use, made some friends, and connected with a Church.

July:


We booked tickets to Paris, figured out some things about Germany, went to the zoo, visited a museum and generally just enjoyed Summer in Cologne.

August:


My best friend got married and we celebrated all the way over here, I got some serious home-sickness, we explored Bonn and spent some time at the Hammermuhle, enjoyed the company of Margaret, visited the Roman-Germanic Museum, had fun at the "beach", and finally made it to the Rhine Park.

September:


we spent my birthday in Paris, explored the Drakenfels, Malcolm finished his language course, we finally got our love-lock on the bridge, we got things ready for our move, and made the most of our last month in Cologne.

October:


We moved to Marburg (Malcolm's 4th home this year, and my 3rd), we spent lots of time settling in and figuring things out, and explored the town. We enjoyed the kirmes festival (as small as it was), and the beautiful Autumn colours. Annnnd, while I was getting ready to get back to ballet, Malcolm started his doctorate - such a dream-come-true-opportunity!

November:


I got back to dancing, Malcolm got back into the Chemistry-groove, we learned about the cold, the first bit of snow fell, and things started looking a lot like Christmas!

December:


We Christmas-i-fied our home to match the Christmas-y town, kept snug as Marburg was blanketed in pretty snow, Malcolm got a break from work, we visited Frankfurt (hmm, no blog post about that!), and we celebrated Christmas here, and then New Years Eve too.

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It's been one heck of a year; one filled with so many emotions and probably the most tears since I was a baby. It's also been the year where I've learned for real that I cannot control my world, I'm learning to trust and have faith that God will look after me. It's 7 months since either of us have had a job, yet the money that Malcolm gets for his studies somehow just seems to stretch. We've been blessed from every direction as we've taken this chance for Malcolm to study here. 

Since getting married we're also learning many, many important lessons. Though we're not entirely there yet, we're learning to take care of each other, how to celebrate both big and small things, how important hugs are, and how unimportant being "right" is. 

It feels strange when I think back on this year - how vivid some memories are and how other things seem to be so far away already. Driving in the PMB heat to go meet Malcolm or go teach a class. Or Malcolm picking me up to go on a date, and standing in the driveway to say goodnight. I think back to standing at the alter vowing to love Malcolm until death, to all the stress of figuring things out for our move. Of the way he held me close after we'd walked through the check-in gates and my legs just didn't want to go. To the elation we felt as we finally walked out the airport in Frankfurt. How crazy-blessed we were when we saw our home in Cologne. And how God has carried us through all the trials this year. 

I'll also take this chance (for those who reached this point with me...) to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU 
to those who've supported us in so many ways.

24 comments:

  1. :) And what a year 2013 was! I got to be the-mother-of-the-bride and am a mother-in-law. I miss the trips to PBM, the sleep-overs and the bot garden picnics, but thanks for sharing your life in Germany with us through this blog. God is good and knows best. Octopus arm hugs!

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    1. And you were the most beautiful mob ever :D I miss having you for sleep overs, but I'm more thankful than ever for all the things we did together - the trips to Zini, the holiday gardening, the early morning coffees, the trip to GTown, the drive to PTA last year, the baking, the sleepovers, the shopping, the wedding planning, and picnics :) Looking forward to making even MORE memories with you when you visit!! :D
      Octopus arm hugs your way too! :) xx

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  2. You guys have gone through some big life changes, and, I imagine, have learned a lot in this past year! How awesome! And wonderful to hear that you've recognized the evidence of God's faithfulness through it all!

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    1. It's really been a challenging year, but such a good one. God's hand has been SO evident in our lives and when I look back on the year as a whole (as opposed to individual blog posts), it's even clearer :)

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  3. What a crazy and wonderful year for you both! I am so glad that so many things worked out for both this year and I hope that 2014 is full of more great memories and crazy adventures!

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  4. wow Erica, God is always in control my dear. It's amazing how He orders your steps and everything else falls into place.

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    1. Ellis! :D I saw some photos on FB the other day and it looks like things are going well with you too! So true, God is ALWAYS in control :)

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  5. Wow, Erica, what it ride it has been for you and Malcolm! :) Getting married, moving to Germany… it seems like more things have happened to you this year than other people experience in a lifetime! :) I wish you and your husband the best of luck for 2014 - I'm so glad that I met you through blogging and I'm excited to keep on following your journey!

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    1. Absolutely! I does sometimes seem that way, but I'm always reminded of that quote along the lines of "it's not about how many breaths you take but how many moments take your breath away". And it's really cool that no matter where one is one can find opportunities and moments that are breathtaking.
      All the best to you too, I look forward to this year following along with what you're up to :)

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  6. I love posts like these. What a whirlwind year for you both!! A big move, a beautiful wedding, fun adventures! I love all these photos. What wonderful memories! =) May 2014 bring just as much happiness!!

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    1. They're fun (but soooo time consuming!!!) to write and really put the year into perspective and it was fun looking back and reminiscing :) Wishing you SO much happiness this year too!

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  7. You had quite the eventful year!!! I hope 2014 is your best year yet!

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  8. You've had so many adventures this year with getting married, moving to another country! Just imagine all the neat stories you and Malcolm will be telling your grand kids one day! :) You two are the sweetest couple, enjoyed looking through your 2013!

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    1. Absolutely, we feel so blessed to have experienced so much already!

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  9. what a wonderful recap of memories - the collages you put together are gorgeous. oh, and i love every picture i see of that gorgeous wedding dress. did you keep it??

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    1. Thanks!
      And thank you, I loved my dress too! Because I had it specially made, I've kept it, though it's at my parents' house :)

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  10. I love year in reviews! You guys have had quite a crazy/awesome/exciting year and I bet 2014 is going to be even better :)

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    1. I hope so, I'm excited for 2014!

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  11. Last year just shows the Lord's providence and blessings in your lives! I am so so happy for you and am sure 2014 will be a BLAST as well!

    Miss you ma fleur! <3 <3 <3 <3

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    1. Absolutely! He's SO evident!
      Miss you toooooooooooooooo!!!!

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