2016; an open christmas letter, for those near and far.

Last year I wrote our first Christmas letter’s to everyone. I had everything organised, had the cards written, the letters printed and personalised…and then I forgot to post the damn things.
This year, with things still a bit ‘all over the place’, I thought it was probably just as well to pen our annual letter ‘online’.

First things first, let’s get the elephant out of the room.
Yes, I’m in Australia.
No, I don’t have my visa yet.

We submitted the visa application in September, after nearly a year of planning and 6 months of evidence gathering and saving I had my fingerprints taken in Phnom Penh and we got confirmation that evening that it was officially at the bottom of the pile submitted.
Once again, we want to thank everyone who wrote something for us and helped us provide evidence towards the application. It took a hell of a lot longer than we expected, but it’s all worth it.

For now? We wait.
Right now, I know as much as you do about the status of my visa, and we know you care, but please stop asking. It’s a pain in the arse. We have no idea.
As long as it’s seemed to you, trust me when I say it’s seemed three times as long to us. We just have to keep on going as normal (ly as we can) and in the meantime, instead of waiting for my tourist visa to expire, I’m avoiding the slow insanity of unemployment by  waiting out the rest of sentence in New Zealand.
Rest assured, when we know, you’ll know. It’ll be everywhere. There’ll be parties and frantic texts and probably a whole heap of soppiness on social media, so just keep your eyes peeled for that.

This year I was swapping out my Christmas jumper for my thongs, and after a record breaking, sweltering hot Christmas, I think I might be on team beach.
I still miss snow and hot chocolates, but all the things I associate most with Christmas are best enjoyed with a dollop of ice cream and a whole heap of sun. Family fun being top of my favourite Christmas activities, after being bombarded by brothers, we had a chilled out day – I hopped between the hammock and the air con, rounded off with a stroll along the beach to watch the sun set.

We’ve swapped one set of in-laws for another, bunking in with Mama G until Zac’s saved enough to find us a place to call our own. We’ll just be renting, but it will be the first time in our relationship that we’ll have lived in our own house and that’s far too exciting to be patient about.

We’d do it now if we could, but as the plan stands, I’ll be moving back to our sparsely furnished pad – boys just can’t be trusted with cushions.

This year has seen it’s fair share of adventure.
From Amsterdam in April, Scotland in May, Australia in August, Cambodia in September, Vietnam in November and New Zealand in January for me, we’ve hardly felt like we’ve stood still.
It has of course, been incredible.
I will admit I’m a little travelled out, yearning for some sense of stability. Particularly when there are so many young nieces and nephews here to distract me, especially when they’re starting to understand I’m going away and definitely when I can see them getting upset I’ll be gone again.
But when you come back, this time it’s forever, right?”
“Forever and ever and ever.”

Our main distraction has been the gym, and while I still have a love/hate relationship with exercise (deep down I’m still a fat girl who loves cake), it’s been nice having somewhere to burn off steam.
It’s nice being back to our big, fancy gyms in Melbourne and while Zac is bulking for a fitness competition, I’m working my arse off building strength to be a weightlifter.
I even won a Christmas fitness competition and got a nice bag of goodies.
Migraines still cause problems, as does my shoulder, but nothing severe has happened this year

Saying goodbye to my family at the airport was probably one of the hardest things I had to do this year.
I apologised to my Mum, but told her I had to go and made a teary exit through security.
Zac was perfect, letting me cry enough to feel better, but keeping me away from full emotional melt down until we weren’t going to be flying for 24 hours.
It felt real this time, like it was a forever, and I’ve struggled with coming to terms with that.
Worried I’m not doing the right thing, that I’m being selfish, that I’m going to miss out.
Ultimately, as my parents have always taught me, they just want what’s best for me, I need to do what’s best for me. I don’t think they ever imagined that would involve moving hemisphere’s, but technology makes it easier now than ever and as is usually the case, Mum and I are closer emotionally the further geographically away we are from each other.

The end goal for this year was Australia.
We kind of got that, in a ‘here’s what you could have won’ type of way.
I’m not any more patient about my transient status than I was a year ago, just slightly more worn down by the process.

Love is such a precious thing, we take it for granted and it’s only when that love is questioned and denied that you appreciate it, in all it’s messy glory.
Some days I wake up and wish I’d fallen in love with someone who was if not from the same county at least from the EU; then I remember Brexit wasn’t a dream, but a hideous reality and I’m kind of glad I at least settled on the Commonwealth.
We’re safe from America too down here, you know.

Merry Christmas to everyone we love, however far away you are.
Happy New Year.


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