We've had a great time "settling in" to Utah (yep, 2 months is settling in for us!): finishing school projects; spending time with friends and family - especially our college kids Emily and Nathan; and planning our next adventure to Asia. We're ready and rested, and very grateful for the joy we find in so many places.
1. Completing many BYU online High School classes
2. Helping Nana to get ready for her move
3. We love the arts!!!
4. BYU career presentation
5. Spending time with Emily and Nathan
6. EFY, Ballroom Dance Camp, and Education Week at BYU!
7. Finishing our Asia trip planning
8. Making new memories with old and new friends
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1. Completing many BYU online High School classes - Anna and Tyler signed up for some online BYU High School classes when we first arrived on American soil last October. Over the course of our travels to Central America and Europe, they worked on the classes and had finished about 50% of the coursework. But their deadline was looming, the procrastination monkey had been fed, and so they buckled down while we have been in Utah, and spent many long days doing school work. Their hard work paid off, and they finished their classes and successfully nailed all of their exams. Well done Anna and Tyler!
2. Helping Nana to get ready for her move - We're living in Erik's mother's (Nana) basement, and being here has allowed us to help her prepare for her move to a new house at the end of September. Providing helpful labor to take down curtains and put up blinds, and paint railings, and lift up sagging porch decks has all been part of our "rent". We are spending our last few days loading & unloading the trailer and moving all the boxes over to her new home, just a few blocks away.
3. We love the arts!!! - Utah Valley is full of the most incredible entertainment opportunities. There are concerts and plays and activities galore to choose from. Within just a few weeks, we've been to three musicals - "Newsies", "Daddy Long-legs", "Jekyll and Hyde", BYU dance performances, music concerts, art exhibits . . . all reasonably priced and full of amazing artists. We're excited to return for more!!
4. BYU career presentation - Erik returned to BYU to give a career presentation to the CE graduate students. It was a long-time goal of his to return to his alma mater and talk to the students, like he remembered so many other professional engineers doing when he himself was student. The presentation was received by both the students and his own family members, who finally got to hear about what Dad was actually doing at work for all those years.
5. Spending time with Emily and Nathan - We love being so close to Emily and Nathan! To be a regular part of their lives at this time when they are growing into adults - if only for 2 months. To be part of the excitement of wedding proposals (!?!?!?!), piano competition successes, moving in and out of apartments, finals, new classes, and to just spend TIME with them. To get to know Emily's new betrothed better, to have one-on-one lunch dates, and to just be present in this part of the world where they are thriving.
6. EFY, Ballroom Dance Camp, and Education Week at BYU - Many of our kids have marked their summers by these camps at BYU. But this time the parents got to attend a camp, too. Attending Education Week was another lifelong dream, to be part of this week-long continuing education program at BYU. We loved it: the classes were inspirational and varied, and the ability to sit and absorb and take notes and improve ourselves was well worth the time. I can honestly say, 1-month later, we are still strong in our efforts to get to bed at 10:00p and wake up at 5:00a - focused on greeting the day strong and prepared. We'll definitely be back at BYU camps again.
7. Finishing our Asia trip planning - Planning a 2-month journey through Asia was not accomplished in a single sitting. But we finally made our plans, which will include visits to 3 new countries that we haven't yet stepped foot into (India, Sri Lanka, Maldives) and visits to familiar places and unexplored places in countries where we've previously been (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore). We're excited for our next chapter.
8. Making new memories with old and new friends - There are so many people that we got to spend time with while were were here - whether they were friends we had made on our recent trip to Guatemala, old friends from the Netherlands, older friends from college, or new friends we just made. It makes Utah Valley a very easy place to be when community is so instant. This was especially felt as we put on a family and friends music recital to a room full of friendly and supportive faces in the crowd. We will leave Utah with our hearts full!
Plan? What plan?
Our first Gap Year was a fabulous "2017-2018 School Year" of travel: from the Netherlands to Jordan to Texas to Hawaii to Mexico to Central America to London and back to the Netherlands. Our "2018 Summer Vacation" took us all around Western Europe, back to the USA on a transatlantic cruise, a road trip through New York and into Canada, and ending up in Utah. We have now kicked off the "2018-2019 School year" with a trip to Asia. Follow along with us on our visits to new places, as well as revisiting some of our favorite places from our time living there. It's going to be great!!