You might have noticed it's been pretty quiet over here. We've tried to keep our social channels updated with candid snippets of our lives, but otherwise have been on a little blog break. As our wallets have been tight, we've been less "travelling Shus" and "storytelling Shus" and more "living life Shus."
I (Erica) have settled into my awesome writing job, but have found it difficult to motivate myself to continue writing at home. At the same time, Brian took his house-husbanding very seriously, but now he's back at work, having landed an exciting new gig at Booking.com. It's 2017, and we feel refreshed and eager to resume sharing our stories on the blog.
A trip to Edmonton over the holidays to visit friends and family, the celebration of the New Year and our return to home in Haarlem - the last few weeks have been a tad overwhelming to say the least. But first and foremost I will say that the last item on that list is a sweet, sweet thing. Rainy, foggy, chilly Haarlem is home. If we were ever in any doubt, we are no longer. Starting 2017 knowing just exactly where home is, is a wonderful feeling.
We intend to share more about our adventures in Edmonton, but to sum up, we really went all out. Our two and a half weeks were jam packed - so much so that we were often double or triple booked - and we saw as many of our friends and family, and as much of Edmonton, as humanly possible. We're so, so glad.
I, especially, had prepared myself for major reverse culture shock returning to Edmonton. I even planned a video series about it. But it turned out that most everything was the same as I left it.
There were still moments - like entering a grocery store - where I was taken aback at the sheer amount of stuff or the amount of space or the absolutely genuine niceness of people. But it was like I still knew dear old YEG like the back of my hand from almost two years ago. It's just not my hand anymore, you know?
Nougat survived our absence, and I think he liked his caretaker better than us anyway. Though he had some mysterious health issue late in the year (also accounting for our radio silence), he appears to have made a full recovery. He is playing in his favourite Christmas box (perhaps we shall never buy actual cat toys ever again.)
Our trip back to Edmonton reminded us how much we've grown, and got me thinking about our sense of self-reliance. As something that we have cultivated out of necessity, it's not always been something we've appreciated. When you're good at fixing problems for others, the responsibility can feel like a heavy burden - a burden that doesn't seem to ever get lighter, not even when you yourself could use some relief or a helping hand. Going back meant lapsing into some old patterns, and it felt a bit unfair. But the more I think about it, the more grateful I feel that we have the skills, means and fortitude to (usually) help ourselves.
We've done something extraordinary and I think we can truly say that we made it happen. by. our. selves.
That's something I start 2017 off trying not to take for granted. The more impossibilities we prove wrong, the more we find we can actually achieve. We are all more powerful than we know, and this life is meant to be a slab on the pottery wheel. Don't feel like you have to take the factory model - - - make it yours.
This Haarlem life is our life now, and we feel mighty. I might be a little biased, but I think our cat is the absolute best. We work in Amsterdam. We have cool jobs. For the first time in a long while, we're going to make some money above and beyond our living costs. We feel confident and sure of ourselves. The world is at our fingertips. We are happy.
Happy 2017! Health, love and adventure to you and yours this New Year,
~ Erica ~ Brian ~ nougat