I cannot believe that you are already drawing to a close. So much has happened this year. So much so, that I have no idea where to begin. I think, besides the first year I made the Paralympic Games in 2000, or perhaps my first year of university in 2002, you have been one of the busiest, craziest years I have had. So many wonderful and amazing things have happened and for those I m grateful. There have been a few tenser moments, but I am just as grateful for those as well. The harder moments have taught me much about myself and have helped me grow. Looking back, I am still in awe at half of the things that happened and feel very blessed.
2011 In All Its Glory
1. In January of 2011, Mr. K and I lived in a house that was not ideal; not even close. The water shut off nearly every other day and was off for at least two to three days at a time. We started looking for a more suitable living arrangements even though we had intentions of moving to the UK as soon as possible. We had four dogs living with us: Glacier, Roscoe, Aria and Baloo.
2. In February we moved into a much better dwelling and Doc joined our ranks. It was then that I really started noticing problems with Glacier's working. This was also the month that solidified our plans to move to Scotland. Before Doc moved in, we had Roscoe, Glacier, Aria and Baloo Tider tested in order to begin the paperwork to bring everyone to the UK.
3. March was filled with puppies and their pooping issues. Dachshunds who were potty trained decided that they liked the carpet of the new house instead of going outside. We knew all three Dachshunds could not come with us, as we had originally bought Doc for Mr. K's sister, and the more we looked into it, the more we realised that we should re-home our little family members. It was a painful, and difficult decision. Glacier's guiding issues were becoming more apparent. I contacted Leader Dogs for the Blind in the hopes that they could help Glacier and I.
4.. In April, I headed home to Canada with Glacier and Baloo. Glacier and I were going back to Leader Dogs for the Blind for retraining and Baloo would be finding a new home with a high school friend; as long as they liked each other. It turns out, they fell in love almost right away and Baloo moved in with her just days after getting to my parents' house. Glacier and I worked hard for twelve days at LDB and left a much happier, confident working team.
5. May came quickly and I spent the majority of the month getting things in order for mine and Mr. K's wedding. I loved being home with my family, but I missed Mr. K terribly. May was also the fateful month that started making my triathlon dreams into a reality. Our wedding was fabulous and I couldn't have asked for a better day or husband, for that matter. May was also the month that saw Doc and Aria re-homed as well. It was difficult and parts of me still wishes that I could whisk them across an ocean to be with us.
6. June was a crazy month, attempting to finalize my passport and my Portuguese identity card. It was this card that would allow us to move to the UK without having to worry about Visas. I also found out that I could in fact get pregnant, but that it was not medically advisable.
7. Glacier and I returned to SC and sweated the month out,packing and planning to leave. We had vet appointments and we tried to sell, or at least, give away our belongings that we could not take with us. My parents visited for a while and helped us get a lot of things done in preparation for the move. The house felt so empty with only two dogs in it.
8. August snuck up on us and we worked feverishly to ensure that everything was set for our departure. We ran into a few glitches, such as the State vet saying that we may not be able to fly with our dogs because things were not documented correctly on our forms. We nearly watched seven months of planning go up in smoke. I worked to get as much of the house packed up as I could and some patient friends assisted with getting the rest of the stuff out once we had flown away. We ran into a small glitch in Boston when we tried to transfer flights and the guy assisting us through the airport didn't speak english. Then, on top of that, the airline didn't have record of our guide dogs, despite Mr. K speaking at least three times to them about it over the phone. After standing at the counter for almost an hour, we were cleared. Our flight was pretty good, considering we were flying so far and we had no issues once we entered London England. We spent a few days touring London and almost walked our feet off. We arrived in Edinburgh and stayed in Tenie and Carmen's flat, which they shared with two other girls. We stayed there until we could get things straightened out for our own flat. We did a few touristy things, like going to the zoo and a few festivals as well.
9. It was in September, after some waiting and assertive conversations, that we were able to move into our own flat. Tenie and Carmen had picked it out before we had even arrived, but it took nearly three weeks for us to be able to move in. When we finally did move in, the hot water didn't work, but it was resolved. We spent the month settling in and getting to know our surrounding area.
10. It wasn't until October rolled around that I started feeling more comfortable with walking around on my own. Glacier and I experienced a huge regression in his guiding when we first arrived, which followed us basically through September. I worked hard with him, being consistent and resetting my mindset. I was to look at him as a working dog, not a pet. I knew that, but somehow in the move, I had lost that perspective. We celebrated Halloween dressed up in the Steam Punk fashion.
11. November was a great month for me. Triathlon training really started coming together with me finding a guide and receiving a whole lot of help from various sport minded organisations. Mr. K and I also brought Gus and Fiona home, our two little Sugar Glider joeys.
12. December was a month for the Holidays and even though Mr. K and I didn't go home, we had a good month. We went to the Christmas market and had a great time experiencing the food, drinks and crazy crowds. Gus and Fiona joined us that day in their bonding pouch, but Glacier and Roscoe stayed home as we figured the crowds would be liable to crush them. We had a few dessert parties with the people living at Tenie and Carmen's flat and went out for drinks one night, sampling nearly every festive mixed drink they had on the menu. The night before the girls headed home for the Holidays, one of Tenie's flat mates had us over for a delicious dinner and we were able to say farewell to everyone. Mr. K and I spent Christmas together and it was enjoyable, despite our families being far away. Even though December was a joyous month, it also brought sadness when Gus passed away due to an unfortunate accident on Boxing Day.
As for today, December 31?
Mr. K and I will be going to pick up Yoda and Plato, two new Sugar Gliders, so that Fiona may have some playmates. Tonight, we may wander to a local pub and have a few celebratory drinks and talk about 2011 and maybe even of 2012 and what it will bring.
To everyone out there: Happy 2012. May it bring you joy and be everything you hope it to be. :)
Jess, Glacier, Roscoe, Fiona, Plato and Yoda