Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas, family and friends!

Can you believe it’s this time of year again already?!

Charlotte wil tell you that some years she tries to delay thinking about Christmas until the last possible moment.  This year, however, she has been looking forward to Christmas even before Halloween has passed.

We haven’t really had the “International” year this year like we had in 2012. A few work trips to the US, and a short stop in Jamaica, but other than that, we’ve been focused on our new careers and being “tourists in our own backyard”, and that’s actually been a lot of fun too!

As we talked about in last year’s letter, we spent the winter last year house sitting on BC’s Sunshine Coast. In December and January, we were up in Sechelt, before returning to Gibsons at the end of January for two months.  It was nice to be a bit closer to Charlotte’s family in Powell River for a few months and we had a great time getting connected with Christian Life Assembly (CLA) church in Gibsons and making some really good friends on the Coast as well. Though we definitely took our time enjoying the homes we were staying in, we also made sure to take a few opportunities to explore the area and the communities of Gibsons and Sechelt a little better.

01-CanyonLights

Pics from Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge. The top left and bottom pictures are of the bridge lit up looking from the top and the side.

We actually brought in the New Year in Coquitlam, just outside of Vancouver, while visiting with CLA friends Tim & Sharon.  They had a couple of extra tickets to the Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which was a great way to close out the year.  The lights were amazing and we enjoyed some warm cider and some glass blowing as well.

Don’t think our life is all about holidays and travelling (though we often would like it to be)!  As we touched on in last year’s letter, we started back to work officially in December last year working with an internet marketing company called RevLocal.  We were introduced to them by a colleague from our book-selling days.  Between the opportunity for growth, the company’s previous success, and the fact that we loved the integrity of its leaders, we decided to sign on, and foray into the digital world.

02-Snowman

Fun in the snow with RevLocal Founder and CEO.

After 15 months of semi-retirement, it was quite an adjustment getting back into the routine of going back to work daily, but we both have had a lot of fun getting out and connecting with business owners.  RevLocal serves as the internet marketing partner for over 3500 small and medium businesses across North America, helping them get found by new customers online as well as maintaining contact with their existing clientele.  Last year, as Christmas arrived, we were just 2 weeks into our RevLocal career, but now, one year later, we are still very happy with our decision, and look forward to building into our future with RevLocal even more.  We are now in the process of expanding our team here in Vancouver and bringing on some additional experienced sales professionals in the Vancouver area and then expanding to other provinces over the course of the year.  We already have clients scattered across different cities in Canada.

We started the new year attending a RevLocal meeting in Ohio but after the meeting did get a chance to play in some snow, which doesn’t happen often in Vancouver.

January and February were relatively quiet for us but March turned into a busy month as we started the month with a snowshoeing and chocolate fondue adventure on West Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain.  It was a fun evening with some wonderful fondue!

03-Snowshowing

A couple of weeks later, we were lucky enough to take in a Fox Hunt in Gibsons.  Modern day fox hunts are not what they used to be.  There are no longer any foxes involved, just a horse and rider leading the way carrying a fox scent.  But it was fun to see everyone get dressed up for the event and to watch the hounds run through the fields.

04-FoxHuntEaster happened to fall on the final weekend in March, which was a great way to end our time on the Sunshine Coast.  Charlotte’s family made the trip down from Powell River for a couple of days.  Her brothers, Rolf and Sebastian, and Sebastian’s girlfriend, Emily, graciously helped us moved all of our things from our locker into our new place.  We were fortunate to be able to move into a place that was already empty and to have a landlord who was willing to let us move in 2 days before the beginning of the month.  This was the first time we had committed to staying in a place for 1 year and actually plant some roots.  Charlotte was excited to be able to have a small freezer in our place, which we have kept filled with fruit all year.  Charlotte thoroughly enjoyed picking all the wild blackberries that grow around our neighbourhood.

05-MovingWe then went back to Gibsons to enjoy a nice family Easter dinner along with some naturally dyed Easter Eggs that Charlotte was excited to work on.  We were a little saddened to be leaving the Sunshine Coast after a wonderful 5 months.  Even the deer came to see us off on our last morning.

05-Moving2

At the end of April, we took a couple of weeks and road-tripped to a friend’s wedding in Calgary.  We took the scenic route through the Kootenays and caught up with old friends (some we hadn’t seen in 10+ years!) in Kelowna, Nelson & Balfour, as well as a few of Charlotte’s cousins and their families. We were lucky enough to have a mixture of heat-wave weather in Kelowna, and a drive through a blizzard on the way from Fernie to Calgary… ah, the Canadian west!

06-RoadTripFriends

06-RoadTripSites

Top left: The world’s longest free ferry ride in Balfour, BC
Top right: The North Woven Broom Co. which makes hand made corn husk brooms, including the one in the Bewitched movie poster and used in Harry Potter promos
Bottom: A gorgeous view from the Balfour ferry

In June, we were blessed with a short visit from Charlotte’s brother, Dan, from Winnipeg along with his wife, Lauren, and adorable little Lola.  We were also able to enjoy some of the music at the Vancouver Jazz Festival later in the month.

07-JuneIn July, en route to the US for some training and a company meeting, we had the chance to spend a couple of days visiting with Earl’s family and friends in Toronto. And we were lucky enough that our visit coincided with his cousin and her family from London (who we spent 10 days with in August in 2012) being in Toronto, so we were able to enjoy a meal with them as well!

After that, we wisely spent most of the summer in Vancouver. With 30 days of sun in a row in July, why go anywhere else?!  Starting at the end of July, it seemed we were up to something each and every weekend.  First, we attended all 3 nights at the Festival of Lights.  A few days later we took in our first CFL/BC Lions football game with some friends, and season ticket holders.

08-Fireworks-FootballThe following weekend we enjoyed the StrEAT Food Cart Festival in New Westminster followed by a stroll along the New Westminster Quay.  The next weekend we enjoyed our first Vancouver Canadians baseball game on a beautiful day that was followed by some fireworks.

10-StrEAT-CanadiansA week later, we had the privilege to be tour guides for some friends visiting from Nashville.  We enjoyed another beautiful day walking around downtown Vancouver, taking in Stanley Park, the Olympic Torch and the new Fly Over Canada exhibit.

12-RoyCindyWe closed out the summer by attending the PNE for the first time, which was a great evening of friends, food and fun.

13-PNEIn case you’re wondering, we were still working during the week and even enjoyed some little picnics at the park by our house.  Earl also joined a church softball league, and even though it wasn’t the most competitive league, he had a lot of fun getting out there and playing the game.

14-PigRoastThe month of September started with some great food events in back-t0-back weekends as we enjoyed a pig roast with some new friends followed by a rib cook off at CLA in Gibsons the following weekend.

The rest of our fall has been filled with small local activities.  We’ve taken advantage of some great Groupon deals over the year and have enjoyed some new activities in the city, including several restaurants, an amazing chocolate tasting session, a kayak and pedal boat rental on Deer Lake, and some West Coast Swing dance lessons.

15-JamaicaWe enjoyed a short trip to Jamaica at the end October with our RevLocal team and followed it up by having our most successful month of the year in November, with each of us having our best month in sales for the year.  This fall, we’ve also had the opportunity to take a series of seminars through Landmark Worldwide which has been amazing for our personal lives but is helping us strengthen our relationship and making it even better.

Our final activity of the year, before we left for Toronto for the Christmas season, was attending the Vancouver Giants hockey game on Dec. 13 for their annual Teddy Bear Toss night.  We attend the Teddy Bear Toss game a few years ago and it was an amazing spectacle to see.  Earl was especially happy to go to this game as it was the 5th Vancouver sports team he’s attended this year, which covers the extent of major sports teams in Vancouver.  Thanks to some good friends and great deals, Earl has been to a Whitecaps (soccer), Lions (football), Canadians (baseball), Canucks (NHL hockey) and now Giants (junior hockey) game in 2013, which are featured in order from left to right below.16-sports0117-sports

As our first full year in Vancouver comes to an end, we look back on our year with fond memories.  It’s hard to believe that our world trip was over a year ago.  We’ve been so active throughout the  year that even our iPadNomads blog has only progressed through 2 additional countries (which was about 2 weeks of our trip) over the course of the past year.  We still have about 3 months of our trip and most of Europe to write about!

Thanks for reading and for all of your love and support.  We wish you and your family and wonderful Christmas and may blessings for a fabulous 2014!

PS. We wanted to share some cost savings to our friends across North America who are reading this.  We discovered an alternate solutions for ink and toner cartridges that will save you money.  Tonerparts.com sells brand new cartridges for almost every single printer on the market that are 50-70% cheaper than the name brand options and just as good.  You can buy directly from their website and if you use the code RTNEA you’ll also save the $7 on shipping!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

2 comments to Christmas 2013

  • kitty

    Wow! You guys did do a lot of things even when you don’t travel to all these different countries. So many little and bigger trips and wonderful experiences. Don’t ever lose the desire to experience life any which way you can and keep sharing the stories and pictures. They are great

  • Heidi

    Wow! What an incredible year!I love the fox hunting adventure(as you’d expect;)). You are both so amazing. Can’t wait to spend some quality time with you. Much love.

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