I’ve received Christmas letters each year for about 3 years now and as each year passes, I receive more and more Christmas letters. I love them!!!
This totally inspired me to write one of our own but in my non-traditional way, I’m writing it on this blog and sending it to you electronically.
What is a Christmas letter for those of you who have never seen or received one? It’s a one page letter that’s often enclosed within a Christmas card, telling you of all the highlights for the year, in the lives of the sender and the members of their family – a general update for the year.
It’s such a nice way to catch people up with what you’ve been up to, especially your nearest and dearest and the ones you don’t see often as you’re living far away from each other.
My only problem now is how to succinctly write it so it all fits in just one page. Let’s see how I do!! 😉
And so without further ado, here is our Christmas letter to you:
Dear family member / friend (or enter your name here),
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from London! Wherever you are in the world, we send with our message lots of love, hugs and warm wishes to keep your hearts filled for the coming year and beyond.
2017 has zoomed by very quickly for us and the whole year was one of many transitions, lots of healing and family.
Paris & Rome
We started the new year welcoming home our new furbabies, whom we named Paris and Rome. We went from being childless to being parents to two beautiful, naughty and cheeky rabbits, overnight.
The transition was enormous and difficult. All the additional chores, vets appointments, toilet training, feeding, cleaning, personalities and just having to constantly think of the wellbeing of two beings other than ourselves, who are dependent on ourselves, was a huge learning curve but being able to share in their joyfulness and zest for life has been very rewarding.
They’re also very therapeutic for Tony. He comes home and sits, pats and chills out with them every day, perfect after a hard day’s work.
They’re now neutered, toilet trained, well behaved for the most part and will come when called by name (if in the mood) and they’re both trained to stand on 2 legs when you say “up”, take two steps forward while standing when you say “walk” and they spin around (on 4 legs)when you say “spin”!! Paris also hops inside his hutch when you say “bed time” and when you say “are you ready to go to bed Rome Rome? Come on then!” he’ll run to his litter so we can pick him up and put him back in the hutch.
❤ Argh! They’re too cute!
After changes within management at the beginning of the year, Tony’s love for his job diminished to it becoming unbearable. So, Tony quit his job at the end of May and we spent the next 3 or so months vegetating on the couch watching every season of every TV series known to man. We also did multiple movie marathons to the point where I don’t know what any of the movies were called and they’ve all merged into each other! Some we even watched twice because I could no longer recall if we’d watched them or not.
We definitely both regressed to our previous university student selves during that time but at least we got to enjoy lazing about on hot summer days and even enjoying a picnic now and then.
The long break also got Tony to refocus, get clarity of mind and search for something he really wanted to do and by the end of August, he found a job that he really enjoys with competent, intelligent and friendly people, challenges he likes taking on and pay he’s happy to get up for every morning. For the detailed people out there – he’s now leading a project implementing a financial system worldwide, for a commercial installations and fittings company.
I reduced my time on my online retail business to a half hour a day and focussed more on keeping the bunnies feeling safe, happy and healthy in their new home and Tony sane and upbeat during a time of uncertainty. I also transitioned us from using a lot of chemical products to all natural. I now make all our personal care and household cleaning products and even our perfumes. We’re about 90% of the way to being all natural and chemical free!
Cutting down my focus on my online retail business was also a decision I made after a horrific customer ordeal where I was threatened with all sorts of defamation and prosecution over a period of time. All unfounded but nevertheless stressful to deal with.
This event got me to re-evaluate where my time and energy are better spent and the rest of the year has been introspection, restrategising and personal development for me. More so than usual!
We finally got to visit the Archbishop of Canterbury’s gardens and library (Lambeth Palace Gardens) which are open to the public once a month (on a weekday) over the summer. The palace and gardens included a 400 year old fig tree and tiny doors made for small people like me!! That’s because people were as small as hobbits back then. I would be considered tall for a woman in the 1800’s 🙂
We did Hip Hop classes for a few months. They were actually very fun and the first dance classes Tony has attended where he actually wanted to go back over and over. They were challenging but a really fun way to do exercise and a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and cross-brain activity. Plus we got to bounce along to some funky tunes. I did feel my age though because the only song I knew was a Luther Vandross tune that one the teachers called “OLD Old School.” Did he really have to say old twice?! 😛
Tony’s cousin and her children also graced us with their presence, visiting us from Hong Kong, during their school holidays and we enjoyed spending time with them including a lovely day in Cambridge, punting on the river, eating ice cream and getting a personal guided tour inside one of the colleges at Cambridge University.
I reconnected with my brother and we have spent once a week, every week, chatting and focussing on small changes on ourselves, to improve our emotional well being. In healing modality terms, we spend each week clearing at least one thing. The result has been subtle if you are looking from the outside but astronomical feeling it from the inside.
This year we’ve had friends move away (Simon & Ange) but we’ve had new ones arrive (Simon & Emily) and in more recent months we’ve had a visit from friends from Australia and we had lots of fun connecting and eating with them, rekindling old friendships and making new ones (Yuana, Jamie, Zarah).
Christmas & New Year
The bunnies are going to stay at a 5 star bunny hotel. Crossed fingers the bunny sitter is everything she advertises to be.
Tony and I are off to the Philippines and Hong Kong. Our first holiday in a year (if you don’t count the 3 month hiatus).
My Lola (how you say Grandma in Filipino) just passed this year and so I will visit her grave at the place where she raised me from age 6 months -4 yo. I will also spend time with both sides of the family including my only living grandparent left, my Ama (how you say Paternal Grandma in Chinese/Fukien), a strong, flamboyant woman whom I share a birthday with! None of my extended family have ever met Tony and he’s never been to the Philippines so we have new adventures awaiting!
We are spending Christmas in Hong Kong with Tony’s grandmother who is 98/99 years young. It will also be the first time in about 20 years where Tony and his other 3 male cousins who are of similar ages, will be together at the same place, at the same time. They’ve all grown up in different continents but have somehow maintained a close bond with each other and their grandma. To top this off, their spouses, siblings, all their children and their parents have also made the trip. There will be a few family members who haven’t been able to make the trip but in any case, this will be a very special reunion. A 4-generation family Christmas.
New Year’s will be spent reuniting with our furbabies in London, celebrating the 1 year anniversary of us all becoming a family.
And there it is – my very first (of many, I hope) Christmas letter.
Hope it finds you and your loved ones happy and healthy.
Wishing you a wonderful year ahead full of love, evolution, healing and wonderful memories in the making.
With lots of love,
Tony & Joy xox