A Re-Introduction and Is My Blog Really 16 This Year??

I'm so late wishing everyone a Happy New Year! I was sick in bed with Covid for 2 full weeks - it was my first time getting it and it hit me HARD!

It's been a while, so I thought a re-introduction might be in order. 

If you've been reading me, then you probably know that I'm a Realtor. I have been a full-time Realtor since 2000 (yep, this is year 24!) based in Central Connecticut. That decision to take a leap of faith all those years ago helped me to firmly root myself in our small community, where I was a new transplant and only knew my husband's family & friends. I had wonderful mentors in those early years, and I have been working as a mentor to support other new agents. Carl Guild & Associates is about to celebrate 6 years as the most amazing, community-focused brokerage and I couldn't be happier about it. (I wrote about it here.) Apparently it shows, because I was named our company's Agent of the Year for 2023!

My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. We have had some of the most amazing adventures together, and I've chronicled many of our trips here on the blog. We've had epic 6-week trips, 5-week trips, month-long trips, and 3-week trips, but one of my favorites might have been our very spontaneous 2nd trip to Iceland for a long weekend, right when the pandemic restrictions started to ease.  I'm such a planner because I want to make the most of our travels, but the kids loved that I threw together a trip in a couple of days. I think the fact that we'd been grounded for 2 years and it was SO spontaneous, helped to make it feel even more special and celebratory. There was so much joy in that trip

Travel is a passion of mine. Travel planning is one of my super-powers. I have at least 2 trips on the calendar for this year, and possibly an end-of-year trip to see my eldest overseas if we haven't seen him by then. (How we're going to afford all of these trips while making college payments in the Fall is still up in the air!) I've gone up to 7 months without seeing my kid, but I draw the line at going more than a year. Right now he lives on the other side of the planet in Melbourne, Australia, and I am so happy for him. I love that he's out there having those adventures and living his life. 

I write in my bullet journal and practice gratitude daily. The biggest surprise to me in looking back at the gratitude pages is that as much as I can be an introvert and not want to go out sometimes after being out all day, it's those times I'm with friends that end up in my book.

The bravest, scariest thing I've done is donate a kidney, back in 2016. I didn't hesitate, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I lived 10 years in Quebec, Canada as a child, and grew up bilingual to Francophone parents. My brother and I experienced a magical Canadian childhood spent with cousins, family, and great friends...playing in forests, fields, and our family farms. We ice skated at recess, played hockey, stacked wood, ate the food we grew, and the fish and game our dad and his brothers caught. It's wildly different than what my own kids know. I still strongly identify with my Canadian roots, and I'm so grateful to my parents for giving us that gift.  

My study-abroad in Urbino, Italy was life-changing, and I maintain that studying abroad or living abroad is an amazing experience that everyone should have. I keep going back to Italy again and again. I probably always will. There's something about it that felt like a homecoming the very first time I arrived. I'm not a drop Italian, but there it is. The food might have something to do with it, but for sure our friends there are a big draw, along with the lifestyle, culture, and art.

I'm an avid reader. I have a stack of books on my bedside table right now and at all times. I'm grateful for my 2 book clubs, which have pushed me to read books I never would have picked up otherwise. I love historical fiction, travel essays, mysteries, sci-fi, beach reads, fantasy, time travel, anything by Jenny Colgan, self-growth books...you name it!

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in French, with a concentration in Italian.

Baking or cooking bring me peace, especially when I am stressed. I think it's the act of nourishing loved ones that makes me feel whole and grounded. 

I'm creative. I paint or sketch. I used to write poetry and once I co-wrote a play. I'm not great at art, but enjoy it. I love good art supplies and usually travel with small set of aquarelles or colored pencils. I appreciate the dramatic arts, theatre, opera and music, but I don't practice any of those. I'm a great theatre mom though. 

We got our first family cat during the pandemic, and I'm obsessed with her. I think the feeling is mutual as she's usually glued to my side if I'm home. She's a big, floofy, gorgeous Siberian, and kind of spicy & controlling, but I love her.

I'm drawn to the ocean. The beach is a place I've always gone to read, or quiet my mind and feel grounded. Luckily it's less than a 40 min drive to the shore, and I'll often go after work, or when I'm showing houses on the shoreline.

I'm working on meditation. Wish me luck!

Escape rooms are my jam! We've done them on most of our trips overseas and domestically, and they're so fun! I've lost count of how many we've done.

I've been doing volunteer work forever and I love it. Be it committee work, fundraising, event volunteering, organizing work...count me in! I try to help with 10-12 events per year, and any ongoing efforts if needed. I hope I'm a good role model to my kids.

(In 2023 I organized a team build day for my brokerage at our local Habitat for Humanity Build.)

We've been a host family for International students for the past 10 years, and teachers for the past 20! We've hosted through Rotary International and AFS, and it's been an amazing experience how your family just keeps growing. I've been "American" mom to so many great kids, and seeing them again and again over the years is a blessing. We are looking forward to hosting a Chinese exchange student at the end of the month, and French teachers in the Fall. This Summer we're off to our 3rd wedding in France, this time the daughter of an exchange teacher, and we hope to meet up with at least 2 of our past exchange students. Charlotte and our German exchange student are seeing Taylor Swift in Germany together this Summer. They're so excited!

2024 is going to be a big adjustment year for me as my daughter will be heading off to college. We'll be empty nesters. I'm still wrapping my brain around that. Also, I kind of can't wait to find out where she decides to go! Acceptances have been coming in, and she'll have a big decision to make.

Am I still green? Very much so, though I've dropped the ball on composting recently. I've got to start that up again. We did replace our lovely little red Prius with a newer electric/hybrid one. We're on year 13 of being solar. I've been growing my herbs & veggies in pots on the terrace instead of in the garden because the garden has gotten to be a lot of work/weeding that I just don't have the time for these days. I don't subscribe to fast fashion - I'm still a quality over quantity girl, and I still batch errands with appointments if I have to drive out of town for something. I'm trying to reduce my use of plastics. 

I'm floored that this little blog is 16 this year. At one time my blog was mentioned in Photovoltaic Magazine, and I was a finalist for Connecticut's Most Valuable Blogger. I used to write for 2 bigger national blogs as well. One of them was Realtor Magazine, and it was a blast. I had a decent following and met some incredible people because of it. 

So, this is me at age 50. If you're new here, welcome. Thanks to everyone for stopping by, and Happy 2024! I'm looking forward to an exciting year!