What a difference a year makes

We’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately, and that’s largely because we found more activities to fill our free time, which leaves less time for us to sit around and wait for photos to upload. Sorry, family and friends, but we’re not that sorry!

Happy New Year!

We took our second R&R trip during the first two weeks of December, and split our time between our home towns.  We were fortunate enough to catch Cormac’s uncle who was visiting from Ireland, and were surprised to find that my grandparents had very generously given us the gift of my brother’s presence for Christmas this year (he lives on the West coast now, while everyone else is on the East)!  To add to the excitement of the holiday season, we also got a new puppy on the first morning we were home.  We were pretty close to overdosing on happiness for two solid weeks.

When it was time for us to fly home, just five days before Christmas, it was hard to say good-bye, but not nearly as hard as saying good-bye was in March after our first R&R ended.  For one, we were pretty distracted by the stress of flying with a 12 week old puppy, and secondly, we knew that there were friends and our Malabo family here to celebrate the upcoming holidays with.

Christmas 2013, I may have sat at our giant 10 person table and silently wept pity tears because I missed our families so much.  Calling home was heart breaking, as we heard the laughter of our loved ones in the background and listened to the narrations of holiday traditions we missed.    Fast forward 365 days to Christmas 2014, and we were busy cooking up a storm for our own Christmas dinner with friends and packing for a weekend camping trip.  It wasn’t until after dessert that we found time to call home, and cheerfully swapped stories of the day.

The days between Christmas and New Years dragged on and on last year.  I believe we rang in 2014 from the comfort of our bed, perhaps already asleep.  This year, we spent the time between holidays on the southern beaches, swimming under water falls, cooking over an open fire, and I even had my first drill sighting!    We rang in 2015 with a dance-karaoke party with friends, which we had to leave prematurely in order to get on the roads before drunk drivers became an issue.

While the last half of 2014 is going to be tough to beat, we have a lot to look forward to in 2015.  In true New Year’s tradition, here’s our top ten favorite memories of 2014, in chronological order:

  1. Cormac going on the BBPP Expedition, and Lauren visiting.  Seeing sea turtles and monkeys for the first time.
  2. Going on our first R&R to the USA.  A whole month in America flew by quick!
  3. Going to Sao Tome for a long weekend.
  4. Going to South Africa for training (each of us got to go on separate occasions).
  5. Going on safari and seeing all of the big five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhinos (both black and white!), buffalo, and hippo)
  6. Touring Cape Town: hiking Table Mountain, standing on the most southern point of Africa, seeing a penguin colony, tasting wine, beer, and olives.
  7. Celebrating Cormac’s birthday and Thanksgiving.  Finding seats for 22 people to eat, and then gather around the TV.
  8. Going on our second R&R to the USA.  Seeing family, picking out a Christmas tree, hiking Pilot Mountain, taking our nieces and nephew to a trampoline park.
  9. Getting our new dog, Molly.  Managing to get her to Equatorial Guinea without a hitch.
  10. Visiting the southern beaches after Christmas and seeing a small family of drills.  Eating s’mores, visiting the turtle research camp, and not getting drenched by rain.

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