Homeward Bound

Well, friends. We have had an amazing overseas adventure over the past five-plus years. But it’s time to wrap it up.

For every incredible place we’ve seen and every wonderful friend we have made along the way, we’ve also been faced with health struggles, financial burdens, and feelings of being perpetual “outsiders”. These carry a balance over time, and slowly the scale has tipped; our hearts now weighing heavier and our wanderlust quenched. We are ready to live “easy” for a while, in a familiar place, where our spirits feel at home and we have the support and comfort of many friends and family around us.

The benefits of living abroad have been huge, and we have zero regrets. We would do it again in a heartbeat. Maybe we’ll take it up again when the kids are off on their own, or maybe sooner, who knows. But for now, our compass is set for home.

So what’s next? Our timing is still tentative, depending on how quickly we can navigate the complicated Swiss bureaucracy required to leave here (which is another story, for next time!), but we plan to be settled back in Ottawa either at Christmas or by mid-January at the latest. We’ve already started putting down some roots – we have a house and car ready and waiting, thanks to our family’s generosity and support. Our new car might look familiar to anyone who remembers the one we had before moving!

Does this look familiar to anyone?

Also, B has decided to renew his university degree, and has already registered to start classes in January. We’re still missing a lot of pieces to this puzzle… like, say, jobs. Whoops. And it will be complicated to move back and re-establish banking, healthcare, school registration, and everything else in between. But if our past five years have taught us anything, it’s that we can probably handle it, and hopefully even better than ever before.

So, this isn’t goodbye! We still have lots of backlogged adventure stories to tell, and new ones to come. This is just another step in our journey, and one we’re facing with joy in our hearts. Stay tuned!

Eight already!

I still remember when J was just a little baby. And today she is eight!

We had a fun party last weekend at a climbing gym in the neighbourhood. It was quite early on Sunday morning, which turned out to be a mistake for BigB who partied a bit too hard at a another friend’s 30th party the night before – remember, friends, shots are a young man’s game.

But we made it on time and enjoyed the casual place all to ourselves for the morning. Nine kids and two instructors, and they had the run of the place – playing games, racing to the tops of the walls, obstacle courses, and just general silliness. Of course we also had snacks and cake. I stayed up late the night before baking cupcakes and a cake, managing to whip some heavy cream straight into butter – luckily I was able to turn that butter into buttercream icing. No regrets!

Today, on her actual birthday, we got free tickets to a kids’ expo at the convention center in Geneva. There were tons of fun stands, including great sports and science booths. We played laser tag and bubble football, rode drift trikes and electric scooters, flew drones, made our own balloon animals and panned for gold. And we capped off the evening with a skype-cake and presents with the grandparents. A week of birthday was almost too long, but well worth it. Happy eighth, little sugarplum!

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Cabot trail

Cape Breton
This photo of the Cape Breton coast (not quite the Cabot Trail, but close enough) is in honor of all our relatives meeting there for a family reunion this week. We’re sorry to be missing the rich blue ocean, rugged landscape, kitchen ceilidhs, whales, and hugs, but we’re with you in spirit!
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Seat with a view

Seat with a view
We spent a magical weekend on an island off the coast of Jakarta, and this was the best seat in the house, on our villa patio – where, after a day of snorkeling and exploring in the clear blue ocean, we sat and watched the stars blink to life and thunderstorms roll across the horizon like fireworks.
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Sky giant

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While visiting Rotorura, New Zealand, we walked through this forest of giants – looking up, sunshine obscuring the upper canopy, the trees continued on forever. We measured the trunks with our bodies, circled around in a family hug, amazed at how small we really are.
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Hobbiton, NZ

We have so many great memories from so many beautiful places on earth. Starting today, we’re sharing them with a weekly photo from thecayas archive. Enjoy!

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Is there a more magical place on earth than New Zealand? We visited in January 2014, when the sun was hot and the fields overgrown. But it was the perfect day to stop in at Hobbiton. No hobbitses, but plenty of fun.