Monday, January 29, 2018

2017- year in review

Time goes by fast, I figured I'd better get the year in review post up before January is already over!  How would I describe 2017? Busy.  nice.  awesome.  normal (normaalne for our Estonian readers).  Our lives work around the academic year so it is split up into two halves with one incredible summer in between.

Part 1- January-June:

Busy, very busy.  The kids were not in preschool so we took turns tending them, usually me in the day and Maris in the evenings.  The kids are energetic but cute and it is great to spend time with them and watch them learn and develop.  We enjoyed a visit from Mom and Dad in February.  Nothing cheers up a dreary Estonian winter like a visit from Mom and Dad.  May was a great month.  I had my birthday, Keila has it's annual fair (Keila päev), and to top it off there is Eurovision. 

Super summer:

The summer's in Estonia are short but awesome.  I had conferences in Denmark, Hong Kong, and San Francisco.  Maris took a trip to Austria. Maris had a good time at girls camp and I enjoyed participating in my first pride parade.  The summer went by fast.  My new dream in life is to take my kids to Hong Kong Disneyland!  Hong Kong was truly magical and what could be more magical than going to the Magic Kingdom in magical Hong Kong!?!?

Part 2- September-December

  The kids began kindergarten which was a big step for both of them.  We started practicing in August and slowly got them used to it.  All in all they have done very well.  It can still be difficult to take them in the morning, there are many points for discussion along the way (clothes to wear, food to eat, toys to take, ect).  One thing that I must say is that Estonian kindergartens rock.  I mean 10/10.  They are educational, meaning accredited teachers, curricula, and so on.  It's a great opportunity for the kids to learn and develop.  They even have theater days where they bring in professional actors who put on a play for the kids.  Our oldest loves the fish soup and has a good friend in kindergarten. 

Unfortunately the 2nd half of the year was also very busy.  Maris got her work load bumped to full time (she would have preferred part time) and the down side of kindergarten is that the kids get sick rather often.  When one kid gets sick they both get sick and when one is sick then they both want to stay home so the healthy one can take care of the sick one.  Great sibling love.  They keep life interesting though.  Our oldest cut off almost all her hair when Maris was in the other room.  She wanted to look like one of her friends in kindergarten who happens to be a boy with a buzz.  She now looks like 11 from Stranger Things. 

To top it off we ended the year by selling our beautiful apartment of 5 years and moved into a rental across the street.  The rental market in Keila is not great so we are grateful for a place in a good location for a good price but it's a step down from what we are used to.

What to look forward for in 2018

2018 will stay busy for the first half.  We are excited to move into a new bigger apartment, hopefully in a few months.  There will be more posts to come on that.  In the summer we'll visit Idaho which will be jolly good fun.  Top 3 things on my to do list?  Target, KFC, and Culver's. 

Awards for 2017

This wouldn't be a year in review with out my own set of awards.  

Movie of the year: The Founder.  It turns out that there is so much more to a big mac than the trans fat and special sauce!  I loved this movie.  It's a heart wrenching movie but at the end of the day McDonalds has colonized the world and we're all fatter and gladder for it.  There is a story to be told and this movie tells it well.  On a different note, I asked Maris what she would do if she knew the world were to end in 4 months.  My answer to the same question was that I would eat at McDonald's every day. 

TV show of the year: In an upset surprise: the Expanse! We loved season 2 and are eagerly waiting for season 3.  What gave the Expanse the surprise nod?  Well it is the perfectly realistic portrayal of humankind in the future.  Exploitation, colonization, othering, and even Mormon mega projects!  The best though is the character Chrisjen Avasarala, a UN undersecretary and is played by Shohreh Aghdashloo.  Excellent character, great acting.  It was so incredible that I bought her autobiography for Christmas.  Honorable mention goes to Stranger Things and Star Trek Discovery.  The new Star Trek show is unlike anything ever seen in the Star Trek Universe and (spoiler alert!) will most likely win my TV show of the year for 2018.  half way through season 1 I am completely blown away. 
Book of the year:

Person of the year: Sam Young is a former LDS Bishop who is fighting to change bishop interview policies with LDS youth.  Here is a great article that sums up his efforts.  Having middle aged bishops interview young teenagers one on one about the intimate details of their lives is a recipe for disaster and will likely get the Church sued at some point in the future.  While making a minor change in interview policies might not seem news worthy, small changes can have a big influence in the lives of many.   Good luck to Sam Young and thanks for your efforts. 

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