I must say, this was a good year. I feel I've grown closer to Jaime this year than any other year, perhaps with the exclusion of our first year of marriage. Plenty of micro and macro adventures. I feel I need to recap some highlights, just so they are recorded.
It started by flying to London on Jan 3rd. I spent most of the next eight and a half months there. I got to know our Hoxton / Shoreditch neighborhood pretty well. Turns out the London winter wasn't so bitter cold as people warned. It's just that the sun rarely showed itself. We walked a lot. The first 4 months are chronicled by Jaime on her temporary blog abroad here. Scrolling through it, I realize that we did quite a bit in the first 4 months during little forced gaps/weekends when I wasn't working:
- Spent some time the Somerset English countryside and fell in love with the area and people.
- Took the Eurostar through the Chunnel to Paris a couple times for work and brought Jaime along once. That was something I've wanted to do with her since I went there for work in 2010. We had a wonderful time taking in the city, eating good food and just spending time together for a couple days. (Jaime's Day 1 post here.)
- Took a train up to explore my Scottish heritage in Edinburgh. Ate Haggis. Smiled proudly when Jaime ordered her own Forsyth tartan scarf. Was nice to hang with the Scots, even if it was cold and wet up there.
- Took the quick 3-day trip of the year with Jaime to Munich, Germany and Salzburg & Hallstatt, Austria. Rented a new VW Scirocco 2.0 TDI 6-speed and drove on the Autobahn, around lakes and windy Austrian Alp roads. And it was towed in Salzburg, just to add to the overall adventure. Such an amazing trip.
- And of course explored all over London. Lots of street markets, good food, parks, museums, more food, London Symphony Orchestra, playing open mic nights, living the London life. Lots of walking, buses and the underground.
I stayed in London through the middle of August and without Jaime I fell into the life of a London local. Not so much touring around (except the weekend Triumph motorcycle ride and showing visiting friends the sites). Just a lonely guy without his wife, working long hours and continuing to explore London on the weekends. With Jaime not around I ate a lot more Vietnamese, Indian and street food and I cooked for myself more, whereas when Jaime was in London, she did almost all the cooking since she didn't have much else to do.
I was in London when the riots went down which was very interesting to follow both on the UK news, US news and in person.
I was able to come home to Colorado for a couple weeks in May and then again in June, so splitting my time was nice, even if it did throw my brain for a fry fest, always working on London time regardless of where I was or how much I was able to sleep. I was able to play a couple gigs while I was home in Colorado and play open mics and work on new songs while in London.
Even with all these new experiences, the biggest change of 2011 came when Jaime picked me up at the Denver airport in mid May. She didn't wait for me to get in the car, she was beaming and told me right on the curb that she's pregnant. A boy, due January 14, 2012, just in time for the Mayan calendar to run out, I guess. Jaime makes for a very cute pregnant lady and we feel very blessed and excited. And then I was off, back to London for a few weeks. Then back to Jaime in Colorado for a couple weeks in June. Then back to London until August 14th. Jaime visited London for a week over my birthday in July, which was really nice break from my long distance life in London.
Then back home to Colorado for good (for now) in August. Besides generally enjoying being back in Louisville and Boulder and taking advantage of the normal day to day joys here, here are some other things I've been up to since being back stateside, not necessarily in order:
- A Trip to Yosemite with Daniel and Francesca right away, climbed Half Dome in personal record time.
- I climbed Longs Peak with Nate Woods and Zach Olsen in September.
- Generally preparing for the baby and all that goes along with that (lots of classes Jaime signed us up for, shopping, researching, thinking, talking, more shopping.)
- Remodeled the bathroom, painted the bedroom finally (which needed to be done since we moved in 2009), playing gigs, a hot air balloon ride on Jaime's 25th birthday, Durango Songwriters Expo for me.
- A trip back east to hang out with my mom and Ian. A day in NY. 2nd annual "Vampire Weekend" and paintballing fun with friends at a rented cabin in Estes Park.
- A great, simple Thanksgiving with Jaime's parents at home in Louisville, CO. My Grandpa Gordon Forsyth's 90th birthday we were able to share with him while he was in town. A cold spell, snow, and here we are. Almost Christmas.
What next? Oh yeah, a baby. Crazy. This year of deprived sleep patterns was probably good practice for next year.