JOY42

2017 in Review

LifeHannah Drake2 Comments

WHAT. A. YEAR.

JANUARY

I can't even remember the first day of the year all that clearly. Luke was visiting for the holidays and we had just gotten back from a quick (and I mean quick!) road trip to Texas to visit his brother on New Years Eve. We ended up ringing in 2017 in our PJ's watching Westworld, but still drinking champagne of course. He was here for a few more days before he had to go back to England. Though we were hoping the massive snowstorm that came through that day would delay his flight out of CO and he'd be forced to stay longer. Saying goodbye was never easy, but it wasn't quite as bad as his first visit because we knew we'd see each other again in just over a month. I celebrated 18 months at my job with a night out in Denver with my two bosses. I took over the studio's Instagram for a day, which was vastly different than me running it every other day. The rest of the month was spent with friends (apparently a lot of times in Denver!), working, and counting down until I would see Luke again.

My Favourite Post of the Month: How We Make Long Distance Work for Us

FEBRUARY

I flew out to England about halfway through February. In fact, I landed on Valentine's Day so that's exactly halfway. I was pretty certain an engagement was coming on this trip since we had previously looked at rings, he had asked my dad's permission, and we were headed to Copenhagen for a quick trip while I was there. We spent Valentine's Day in London, then jetted off to Denmark early the next morning. We had a great time exploring the city before taking the train across to Malmo, Sweden for the second day of our trip. Luke proposed in the park in Sweden and it was absolutely perfect. Later that evening, we had dinner at a Michelin-star restaurant, Bloom in the Park. The next day we flew back to England and drove straight to his parents' house, where I met them for the first time. After a few nights with them, we drove up to Leeds to visit his sister for a night, before ending our trip with a day or two in Birmingham. When I returned to Colorado, the ball was officially rolling for my move to England. I told my bosses I would be leaving in a few months, so we started working together to phase me out and find a replacement. I also applied for my first visa as soon as I got back to the States. That was certainly an emotional roller coaster, but we were rushed to get it sent off so I would get my passport back before my trip in April.

My Favourite Post of the Month: Mistakes I've Made While Traveling Internationally

MARCH

March kicked off with the annual March Madness challenge at Pure Barre. I think I did decently, but I'm almost positive I didn't finish. Oh well! I went wedding dress shopping with my mom and sisters, ultimately buying my dress at the end of March. (At this point, we were still planning on getting married in September.) Other than that, I don't remember much about March. I publicly declared that it was my goal to walk 10,000 steps a day for the next 365 days. (At this point, we were planning on getting married in March.) I think that lasted about 2 months, I honestly can't remember. 

My Favourite Post of the Month: Our Story

APRIL

april-2017

I think in April my work schedule changed so I wasn't working every morning at 6:00 like I had been. That was certainly nice! I found out my visa got approved the same day I got my rain coat in the mail. It was like a little England starter kit! That meant I could definitely move in June like we wanted and I could definitely go on my trip in April like we wanted! My mom and I went to see a cool exhibit at the Denver Art Museum that was all Star Wars costumes. I flew out to England and we spent the week looking for a wedding venue and for a house. We hit the jackpot with the first venue we saw, but house hunting didn't go as well. We weren't too eager to find a house that week, though, since I wasn't moving for another month and a half, about a week before Luke's lease was up. But it wasn't all business! I visited a castle for the first time and of course we made time for an afternoon tea. When I got back to Colorado, my final month at Pure Barre Boulder began.

My Favourite Post of the Month: How I Applied for a UK Settlement Visa

MAY

May is when everything started feeling real. I knew when I would be moving, so almost every thing I did felt extra special because it could be the last time I was doing it. I went to a huge Pure Barre event at Red Rocks Amphitheater, which was super cool. (Not to mention it was nice not running point on an event for once!) Afterward, our staff went out for brunch in Denver. Luke and I marked a year of knowing each other and a year until our wedding on the 16th. I said goodbye to my small group, which had been unbelievably instrumental in my personal growth over the last year. To this day, it's still one of the things I miss most about Colorado. And finally, I said goodbye to my spot behind the desk at Pure Barre Boulder. Mish and Shalisa threw me a going away party the day after my last day. For Memorial Day, I went to watch my sisters in the Bolder Boulder, as is tradition. It made for a great way to say goodbye to Folsom Field and the States.

My Favourite Post of the Month: My Pre-Existing Condition

JUNE

Luke flew in on June 1st to "pick me up" before my move. He was there for my final week in Colorado and happily went to all my gatherings, ate at all my favorite restaurants, and even woke up before the break of dawn to watch one more Colorado sunrise the morning we left. We had a goodbye party with so many friends and family. My little brother even flew in from Washington just to see me off! I took my 500th class at the studio. It was packed with clients, other staff, and even my family! On the 7th, we boarded a plane and by noon on the 8th, I officially lived in England. My first weekend here, we went to Berlin with Luke's family for a long weekend. It was a great time, but I got sick our last day there so I missed out on some sight-seeing. I think it was just two weeks later when we drove up to Glasgow to see my sister and brother-in-law who were on a 2 week trip of Scotland. When we got back from that trip, we moved into our summer sublet house, which was actually the house where I stayed on my very first visit to England in 2016. We also booked our appointment to give notice to get married, but the earliest they had available was in August, which pushed our timeline back a little bit.

My Favourite Post of the Month: Engagement Photos

JULY

July marked the first US holiday after my move. We celebrated the Fourth of July with some fellow Americans and I made my usual American flag cake. Luke got invited to Wimbledon one day, so I went down to London as well and met up with him and his friend Luke that evening to drive back. Luke's work schedule was pretty slow, so he worked from home a lot, which was really great. I was starting to feel a little more settled into my life in England and was making some great friends. We also started seriously looking for a house or an apartment. By the end of the month, we had moved into a place just around the corner from where we were subletting. Our house came unfurnished, so we made many trips to IKEA and spent lots of time on Freecycle looking for furniture we could use or fix up.

My Favourite Post of the Month: 10 Items for a Day Trip to London

AUGUST

Luke surprised me for my 27th birthday with a quick trip to the Cotswolds. He knew I had been dying to go see the quaint little villages and he was able to find a great cottage on Airbnb for the weekend. We had the most wonderful time! We had our appointment to give notice and we were able to book our wedding date for the 16th of September, which was originally went we wanted to get married--legally and ceremoniously. It was perfect because of course the 16th is kind of our date. (We met on the 16th, got engaged on the 16th, and we're getting married both legally and
ceremoniously on the 16th.)

My Favourite Post of the Month: The Real Reason I Moved to England

SEPTEMBER

September started with the birth of our nephew in Ireland! Less important, it also meant the kick off of football season in the States. We were able to catch a few games that weren't on too terribly late over here. We made pub quiz our official Tuesday activity and won every week we played (for 7 weeks in a row)! On the 16th, we went down to the Register Office in town with two our friends and officially got married. We celebrated with them at lunch and then headed to Betws-y-coed in Wales for a minimoon. It was the most wonderful trip. We had no plans and got to relax, but also explore the little village and nearby castles and coastline! When we got home, we booked a trip to Ireland to meet our new nephew and made an appointment to get my visa at the end of October. At the end of the month, Luke and I used some free train tickets we got from the Birmingham Bear Hunt to take a day trip to London. We didn't have much of an agenda, other than eating at Chipotle, which I made me feel a little closer to home!

My Favourite Post of the Month: A Weekend in Wales

OCTOBER

The beginning of October was mostly spent embracing the autumn. We got pumpkins and orange chrysanthemums for our front stoop, made lots of soup, and started watching some fall/Halloween movies. My mom visited in the middle of the month for a week. She brought over my wedding dress (for our ceremony in the spring) and was able to spend a few days. We had a few hours in London, spent a couple of days around Birmingham, and two days in the country visiting Luke's parents and traveling down to Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds. It was so great having our first guest from the States and to be able to spend some time with my mom! We were supposed to have our visa appointment the next day, but it got canceled due to IT problems and moved to early November. A few days after she left, we headed to Ireland to see our nephew Fionn's christening. We were able to meet him for the first time and witness a great celebration for them. We got back just in time for Halloween and welcomed the idea of a quiet evening at home with homemade chili and non-scary movies.

My Favourite Post of the Month: Pray...Then Act

NOVEMBER

A lot of exciting things happened in November, but over all it was kind of a rough month. I was exhausted from my mom's visit and our trip to Ireland, and I just never got back into the swing of things. I spent the days just lazing away on the couch, doing the bare minimum so it looked like I was keeping up with the house. However, I did get my visa at the beginning of the month, which was a huge milestone. That meant I got to work, that meant I (probably) wouldn't run into problems at the bank and other things like that. It was just such a relief to finally have it and not have to worry about it for another 2.5 years. Later in the month, I got a job working at Luke's site as an administrator. I had a week off before starting at the end of the month, which allowed me to plan and prep Thanksgiving! We hosted a few friends for a Friendsgiving the Sunday after Thanksgiving and it was so much fun. It's definitely going to be an annual tradition from now on. I cooked everything over about 2.5 days and it was both exhausting and rewarding. I have a newfound appreciation for my mom and anyone else who puts on Thanksgiving and I truly don't know how I would have done it without cooking and baking in advance. The month ended with my first week of work, and honestly it was just nice to have a reason to get out of the house every day.

My Favourite Post of the Month: Thanksgiving in England

DECEMBER

I made sure that December was jam-packed with Christmas activities and Luke happily went along! We decorated the house the first week of December after I got my crate, which included all of my Christmas decorations. That weekend, we popped down to London for the day to see all the big city festiveness and got our Christmas tree the next day. We had lots of parties and gatherings to attend, but managed to have our fair share of cozy nights at home with Christmas movies. We got fancy for a night out to The Nutcracker for the second year in a row. We got a super long weekend (5 days!) when it snowed twice within a few days, which was quite enjoyable since we didn't really have anywhere to go. We visited the Christmas Market a number of times and probably ate 3 metres of sausage! We celebrated Luke's 28th birthday with sushi and Star Wars (Last year we celebrated with Star Wars and sushi.) and then hung out with friends the next night and did our third escape room, once again impressing the employee with how quickly we can get out! I baked a lot and we delivered a tin of cookies to our neighbours. We had a quieter week before Christmas, finishing up baking, shopping, all of the movies on my list. We spent Christmas Eve at home in our 2016 Christmas PJs, watching the rest of the movies on my list, ordering Chinese food for dinner, then changing into our 2017 Christmas PJs. The next morning, after opening our stockings and presents to each other, we drove up to Luke's parents' house and spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day with his family. When we got back to town, we dogsat for some friends and enjoyed some slow days at home with Mia, tidying up and organising the house, preparing for the new year ahead and our New Years party, and even sneaking out a number of times to take advantage of our unlimited cinema passes. We rang in the New Year with friends at our 1920's Murder Mystery party!

My Favourite Post of the Month: Christmastime in London