Merriest Christmas, Everyone!

Hi All!

I promised I would be more diligent about updating you on our lives via my blog. I haven’t been good about it lately, but one of my new year’s resolutions is to become better about updating it.

2021 was a good year. Let’s see…. we’re still living in the Algarve, Portugal. Yes, our 1 year-planned adventure abroad has now become 3 years and counting. We did move to a different city in mid-October, however. We said goodbye to Albufeira and now live in Quarteira, a little further East and closer to Faro (the Algarve capital and airport hub). We now literally almost live next door to our dear British friends. We also finally caved and bought a used car – a Toyota Prius, which I bought from an only-Portuguese speaker on Facebook Marketplace. This – after we succeeded in having the longest ever rental contract with AirAuto: almost 3 years! That business was so lucky to have us as loyal customers. Anyway, good or bad, we now have our own car but since it has so many miles on it, it’s not the most reliable. The car practically broke down on me on the way to catch-up with friends visiting in Lisbon. But, Jax and I were able to hitch a ride with these kind Dutch brothers that happened to be headed that way. We were in their car for almost 2 hours, and as we know, no one in their right mind would ever attempt this in the US!

From January – March, during our Covid lockdown, I did my 200 hr. Yoga Teacher Training and completed it just days after my 50th birthday. And lo and behold, even though I had no intention of actually becoming a Yoga Teacher, I actually am a bona-fide Yoga Alliance-certified yoga teacher! I’ve taught my mom and her friends, countless dear friends, and I scored an actual yoga teaching job (!), teaching classes regularly at The Magnolia Hotel in Quinta do Lago, one of the nicest and most exclusive towns here in the Algarve. On top of that, I have had two regular private yoga clients and that I absolutely love because I get to see them progress on a weekly basis. Who would have ever guessed that I would be doing this? Not me, that’s for sure. But, I am so happy my yoga hobby has given me this opportunity. I’ve always loved yoga but now I love it and appreciate its benefits even more.

This year, I also picked up two other fun activities – Krav Maga and Pole! I’ve posted some of my pole videos via social media, and that stuff is so hard! I am in awe of my teacher, my friend Emilie, who makes flag pose and all these other incredibly dynamic poses look effortless. But, I am proud of my progress, and I have noticed that I am much stronger than I used to be, so baby steps, it is.

In terms of my professional, marketing-related work, I am still busy with my marketing consulting practice and working remotely with my California-based clients. I am so grateful, love my work, and have the best clients! The funny thing is, now, because of Covid restrictions, most people are doing what I’ve been doing – working remotely! See, it is possible – the work never stops (LOL!)

I am tempted to write a second book after some prodding from some dear friends. I will keep you posted on its progress, but here is a link to the first one in case you missed it! Thank you to my dear friends who tell me that the book was so insightful and refer to it every now and then for tips. As humans, we’re always improving and changing, but I’m happy to have published it when I did and I believe everyone needs to write their own book.

With regards to Jax, the biggest update this year is that he now goes to a new school! After 3 school years at the fantastic Eden Montessori School where he received a great education and helped us acclimate to Portugal, he is now attending a big, international school with school classes all the way up to high school and university prep! It is such a big change to go from his sweet little baby school (where no one was older than 9) to a large, more traditional school with kids that are 18 years old. But, Jax has loved it since Day 1. Moreover, we decided to put Jax in the National section so now all of his classes are conducted in Portuguese except his English class. Needless to say, Jax has picked up lots of Portuguese, and he just passed 3 National Portuguese exams! I am so very proud of him.

Our move to Quarteira also facilitated a switch to dance schools. We had to say goodbye to Jax’s former school, Sobre Artes in Luz (in the Western Algarve) and now he attends dance classes in Faro. Before leaving Sobre Artes, Jax did complete his dance exams, passing his Modern Rosette exam and receiving a Distinction with 85 marks for his Ballet exam. With regards to other activities, Jax upgraded his belt in Karate and is now a yellow-orange-yellow belt. He has also picked up drums (in lieu of piano lessons) so let’s see where this will go.

With regards to Ry, my honey finally returned to the US for the first time after 3 years of Portuguese/European living! We took our family trip back to California this summer and stayed with his parents in Fallbrook. It was so nice to be back in California after the 3-year hiatus. My family also flew in so we were quite swamped with family commitments, in addition to getting some business in order. Just as an FYI – if you need anything notarized in California, you can only do it if you’re actually live and present in California. Other states may be able to do it online but not so for California.

That’s the year in a nutshell. I’m sure there’s more that I’m missing but that’s what I can remember for now.

Happiest Holidays to everyone and here’s hoping that Covid will soon finally be on its last legs. I’m sick and tired of it. Looking forward to a wonderful 2022! Lots of love.

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