Goals for 2016

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Now that the holidays are over, I actually have a moment to reflect on 2015, and how blessed I am. I am also taking this moment to think of all the things I want to accomplish in 2016 to make it the best year ever. I know that New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap. Everyone wants to lose weight, exercise more, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, etc. etc. For many, they start the year with a good push toward these resolutions, and then by February the ambition/motivation fails. However, I am not that type of person. Sometimes I do set too many goals, but as long as I complete half of my goals, I feel that my life is on track. What is wrong with having goals in your life that help you live up to your potential?

2016 is going to be a year of uncertainty as there are many changes that may occur. My husband and I may decide to move based on job opportunities. We don’t at this time know if that will happen or if we decide to move, where we will be moving. With such an undetermined future, it is hard to make certain goals. For instance, I would like to run a marathon and volunteer more, but my time and location may not permit such achievements. I find it is important to set reasonable goals, so you don’t become disappointed in yourself.

Here is my list of reasonable goals for 2016:

  1. Read more non-fiction books. I tend to read a lot of classics, bestsellers, and mysteries. It would be nice to expand my reading list a bit. If you want to see my must-read book list, click here.
  2. Travel to Sicily. Since moving to Italy, so many people have told my husband and I that we have to explore Sicily.
  3. Renew my driver’s license. This is a ridiculous one, but when you are an expat, it is a bit more complicated than just going online and hitting a renew button.
  4. Continue studying Italian – even if I end up moving away from Italy.
  5. Go ice skating. This was a goal of mine a couple years ago that I failed to do. Can you believe that a girl who grew up in Wisconsin has still never been ice skating???
  6. Continue making a few extra dollars on Swagbucks. Every year I use the extra money to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts. More often than not I use the extra money to satisfy my book addiction. If you are interested in learning more about Swagbucks, click here.
  7. Vote. As we all have heard, no matter where you are in the world, the U.S. is having elections in 2016. Even though I am not currently living in the United States, I am still a U.S. citizen and want to exercise my right to vote. It is a privilege that many people in the United States take for granted, and one that I am very proud to have.
  8. Spend one day a month internet-free. I find myself constantly needing to go on the internet, whether I am at home on the computer or outside of my house on my phone. What did we all do before the internet? Anyway, I find that I am too reliant on it, and so I would like to take a break once a month from the addiction of Facebook, kitty & puppy videos, email, etc.
  9. Keep a Thankful Journal. In 2015, my spirit was sometimes pretty low. Every day this year I want to write down something that I am thankful for. That way, if my spirit gets low again, I can turn to my journal and read all the positive things in my life.

I think I can definitely accomplish these goals. It makes heading into the new year very exciting. Feel free to share with me some of your goals for 2016.

2016 is gonna rock!

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2015 Thanksgiving Reflection

Thanksgiving

This was our 3rd Thanksgiving celebration in Lucca, Italy. When my husband and I moved to Italy, we thought it would be nice to host Thanksgiving. We never really had the opportunity to do so in the States. We thought that there had to be other people living in Lucca, who maybe missed having a real Thanksgiving.

I realize the original Thanksgiving may not be as romantic as the history books make it appear to be, but the holiday has progressed into a time of wining and dining with friends and family, and that alone is something to be thankful for. Preparing a Thanksgiving feast for our new friends in Italy, has been such a great honor, and we have enjoyed it more and more every year.

Who could not love the suspense in going to the butcher to pick up the turkey (il Turkey pickuptacchino)?! Every year, we worry that the turkey won’t arrive on time, or that we had accidentally ordered a cornish hen or something. (We don’t really have a lot of confidence in our Italian communication skills yet.) Additionally, the size of what we get has to be able to fit inside of our miniature Italian oven. However, we never have anything to fear. We love our local butcher so much! He always presents us with such an amazing turkey. It has been an interesting lesson to learn as well, as ordering turkey really is not a normal Italian thing to do, so everyone in our neighborhood knows we are Americans now. However, they were friendly and many people, whom we didn’t know, wished us a “Buona Festa” (Happy Holiday).

Besides our beautiful turkey, that my husband spent all day preparing to perfection, we had all the other traditional foods that are uncommon in Italy. This included: cranberryTurkey sauce (yes – I prefer the canned version), yams, brussels sprouts, green bean casserole (with the French’s onions of course), homemade stuffing (magically prepared by my husband), and many desserts with pumpkin and apple. You need multiple plates just to try a little sliver of everything, and it is wonderful. My husband is an amazing cook, and many of our guests bring wonderful dishes as well. Every year we have more and more people attend our little Thanksgiving and that wonderful company is what I remember the most – even more than the amazing food.

If it turns out that this was in fact our last year hosting Thanksgiving in Lucca, it was fantastic, as every year has been, and we are so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

To all our friends and family in the United States and all over the world, I hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving!!!

 

Thanksgiving 2013

When I was little, my family celebrated Thanksgiving at my Grandmother’s house. I remember how the table would be so well decorated and full of food. My Grandmother had made ceramic name holders, so we knew where to sit. The name holder also had an Andes candy in it. That was my favorite part of Thanksgiving, especially when Grandma would slip me a few Andes candies on the side. 🙂

For the last few years, I have celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband’s Boston family. It was actually at Thanksgiving that I first met them 5 years ago. Surrounded by 50 members of my husband’s family, all talking at the same time, was a bit overwhelming, but now it is hard to imagine Thanksgiving any other way.

However, we no longer live in Boston and have an opportunity to celebrate a bit differently this year. My husband and I have decided to host Thanksgiving for the first time ever. He seems really excited about cooking a turkey. We have decided to invite all the Americans that we know here along with their families. We should have about a dozen people. I think that is a good amount for our first Thanksgiving. We should have more than enough food. If this goes well, we are hoping to invite many more people next year.

Through all the running around to prepare for our first Thanksgiving here in Italy, I have forgotten all the many things and people I am thankful for. I have decided to make a list of ten things that I am thankful for this year.

  1. I am thankful that we get to host Thanksgiving and celebrate with new friends.
  2. I am thankful that my husband and I survived our first year of marriage. I love you husband.
  3. I am thankful for my Grandmother’s love and friendship. Miss you everyday, Grandma.
  4. I am thankful that we have this amazing opportunity to live in Tuscany.
  5. I am thankful for all the friends and family I got to visit with before I moved.
  6. I am thankful for all the awesome people I met through the Lucca Italian School.
  7. I always loved Black Friday Shopping, but now I am thankful that I live in another country so I don’t have to choose between that and Thanksgiving.
  8. I am thankful that I still get to watch Packers games.
  9. I am thankful for all the new places I got to explore this year.
  10. I am thankful for books.

Hope everyone back in the great U.S. of A. has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!