A Tranqui, Tranqui Year

Good intentions are sometimes not enough. But thankfully, the wonders of technology will aide me in distributing my late holiday letter before the new year is ushered in. I love living in the future...

2007 was an incredible year for us, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But, another year like just might kill me.

The year started with moving everything out of our apartment and into storage in Minnesota in January (something that I wouldn't recommend). We managed to pull it off only because of the generous efforts of our family and friends. The final days of January saw us lugging hundreds of pounds (or kilos if you prefer) of luggage through the streets of Barcelona searching for an apartment where we would live while Eric studied law at a Spanish university over the next 6 months. After trying on a few, we finally found one that was perfect. Okay, so it didn't have a sink in the kitchen and the hot water had some serious work effort issues that took some getting used to, but it ended up being perfect for us.

Over the next few months, Eric studied while I worked online for my job back home, learned Spanish, became a gourmet tapas chef, and generally roamed the streets of Barcelona. We met some amazing people, fell in love with 'jamon' (salted pig's leg), and learned how to light the oven/water heater/stove. The word 'butano' (Spanish for butane) hollered very early in the morning is something one must experience for oneself. We viewed our six-month stint in Europe as a pull-out-all-the-stops opportunity to experience and see the world from our home base in Barcelona. And I think we did quite well.

Our travels, some planned, some spontaneous, took us all over Spain, Italy (Rome, Naples, Capri), Morocco (Tangier), Paris, Amsterdam, Czech Republic (Prague, Olomouc), London, Belgium (Brussels, Leuven, Brugge, Ostend, Gooik), Switzerland (Geneva, Bern, Sankt Gallen, some Alps), Germany (Lindau) and Liechtenstein (the whole country!!). Sometimes we traveled with friends, sometimes by ourselves. We traveled on planes, trains, buses, boats, subways, cars and on foot. We stayed at nice hotels, sketchy hostels, in friend's guestrooms, in lodges, in train cabins and everything in between. We saw museums, mountains, concerts, restaurants, cathedrals and mosques, big cities and tiny villages. We conquered fears (Patty's ascent of the Eiffel Tower) and saw things we'd only dreamed of (Eric and the Pantheon in Rome). We had the time of our lives.

After our tour of Europe, Eric and I embarked on a "Getting Reacquainted with America Tour" to pick up Harper, who was long since convinced that we had left him for dead. Following that glorious reunion, we once again counted on the help of family (plus Jay) to move us back into an apartment, this one with hot water, a cloths dryer and a parking spot for our car. We had lovely visits from family and friends, who traveled from near and far to spend time with us. And to fill in the rest of our time, Eric studied law for 90 hours a week and worked as a barista, and I returned to her old job in addition to a part time job taking scores and stats for the sports department of a local newspaper.

With Eric finishing law school and finding a job, and me searching for what comes next, 2008 is sure to be an exciting year with many life changes and experiences as well. We can't wait.