After feeling like just another member of the hoard of tourists that constantly pulse through Venice, Italy, we found a remarkably local-feeling celebration in the city on New Years Day, 2014. It was at Lido Beach, at an annual event of the Ibernisti club. I joined a bunch of other so-called "hibernators," mostly middle-aged men clad in Speedos and ladies in swim caps, in a celebratory plunge into the ice-cold Adriatic sea. (Anyone is invited.) Scroll down to the lower part of this blog post to read details.
During the ensuing adrenaline spike, I enjoyed a warm lentil sausage soup, and, improbably, the sounds of my Carolina upbringing as a live band played Beach Music there on that Italian beach.
In February we spent some time enjoying the not-so-dry season of the dry lands around Israel and Palestine, including the examination of an extra large hole in the ground.
As Spring came to Palestine, I spent a lot of time at Juthour, the arboretum nurtured into being by our tree-loving friends, American-Palestinian couple Morgan and Saleh.
Out on the land, I enjoyed long walks with Jelly Bean, getting away from the commotion that came with living in the city center of Ramallah, and picnics with a dear group of friends that we became close to and who made Palestine feel like home into our second year there.
As the year wore on, I started to feel the pangs of wanderlust.
In April, while celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary at the beach in Tel Aviv, we scheduled a visit to a doctor nearby and learned that the home pregnancy test I'd recently taken was correct.
I was pregnant! We'd been trying for what seemed like a while and had been discouraged and thought it might never happen. After we heard that little heart beat, we joyfully called our family to share the news.
In the first half of the year, we had the pleasure of hosting some friends in Palestine.
When Kimberly visited us, we had the usual Dead Sea shenanigans, plus some new explorations in Nazareth and Jerusalem.
In late June and early July we took a big trip to the USA that included a cruise with a stop in Canada. We saw New York City; Boston; Halifax, Nova Scotia; then Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; and San Francisco. I had an inspiring bowl of Pho. We went on a cruise with family and I have a wonderful memory of soaking in a hot tub on deck with my dad and siblings as evening came on and Hurricane Arthur pelted our faces with cold sideways rain.
We arrived back to a summer of chaos and bloodshed in Gaza. In our home in the West Bank, we were never in danger, but our hearts went out to the people who lost so much during the escalation in Gaza, those whom Prince Charming served in his position with a large humanitarian aid organization.
August and September were bittersweet, as we prepared to leave our friends in Palestine and looked forward to giving birth in the U.S., surrounded by family and friends. My belly was growing, and I looked forward to being able to not worry about overcoming a language barrier with healthcare providers in the U.S.
Morgan spoiled me with a spa day that included an all-natural face mask that made me look like an alien.
We visited Armageddon (underwhelming) and the Bahai Gardens in Haifa (wow).
We arrived in Lumberton, North Caroline where we've been staying with family. They have been so generous in giving us a place to land in the U.S. so that Prince Charming can take a sabbatical and enjoy new fatherhood.
Once settled, we set up the baby stuff and took some short trips: babymoons to the Richmond, Virginia area; to Holden Beach and Asheville, North Carolina and to Charleston, South Carolina. We met the medical staff who'd be attending the birth of our baby.
Then, just before we were scheduled to sit down for a Thanksgiving feast with lots of extended family, I started to feel the birthing waves begin.
Some fifteen hours later, he arrived. Our beautiful son.
We spent the rest of the holiday season lost in Babyland, the reason this blog post is so late. It's an enchanting place to travel to and get lost in. It's a hormone high every time he coos or caws. It's been so fun to get to know this little boy who gets bigger and brighter every day. Time is flying.
Packing Advice on Packing Lust
IN 2013, I posted only one packing advice article on packing lust. in 2014 I did a little better, and posted 5, with a little help from others:
I'm happy with the increase in posts about what to pack this year.
Professionally, 2014 saw me simplify my web business situation, combining my coaching practice with Packing Lust. I continue to learn and grow as a creative entreprenuer. I have some changes planned for 2015 to clarify what I do and make my site easier to navigate so visitors can find what they are looking for. Sales of Minimalist Living were strong in 2014 and the Facebook community continues to grow. The Minimalist Living page had around 6,000 "likes" at the end of 2014. I worked on my next book, which will be about the habits required to make a living as a writer or artist, in 2014, but did not make my goal to have it finished and published in 2014. Hopefully I will publish it in 2015. I want to share what I've learned about making money from my writing, but I want to test what I've learned before I do so. I want to earn more income myself through the application of the habits and practices I've been studying. Then I'll share what I've learned in the book since one of my professional goals is to help other writers do the work independent creative work they want to do and get paid for it.