Dear Friends and Family,
As you get this letter you might be thinking, wait a minute, Christmas is over. You missed the boat here, Shara. And, for being late, I am sorry...not normally my style. But this year has proven to be an interesting one, jam packed with events all the way to the end. So forgive me for being late but you will see why soon.
This year started off with some of my Rich Township teacher friends coming to visit England! It was super fun to celebrate the New Year with my good friends in my new country. I should have known then what an eventful year it would soon be. Back in the first few months of 2012 I was learning how to drive. It proved to be a frustrating adventure but eventually resulted in me getting my U.K. driving license. While I have been driving a car for nearly 16 years (you know half my life!) I still have to be classed as a beginner...so annoying to me and my insurance bill. But we will quickly move on.
In April my parents came to check on me and Mark for THREE weeks. Yes, you read that correctly 3 weeks! While at first I was a bit apprehensive about having my rents live with us for that long it proved to be the perfect amount of time. We were able to show them London, where Mark is from up in Durham, and just our every day “normal” life. I think the trip put my parents at ease knowing I truly am ok living in England; and, they seemed to throughly enjoy their stay.
While they were with us in England, my mom had set up a schedule of people to go visit my grandma (who was in an assisted living facility), since she has gone everyday up until that point to visit her. This, to me, has become known as grandma’s good bye tour.
You see, shortly after my parents got back grandma fell; and, all very rapidly went downhill from there. Grandma died at the end of May, although I really don’t look at it like that. To me, grandma went to go sing for her King, a day she wanted more than any other. I was honored to be able to speak at her memorial service and know that she is rocking out to her hymns and in complete glory!
Although the beginning of coming home was her memorial service, my trip back to Chicago for the first time since leaving was AMAZING! Five weeks of visiting with friends, eating real food, shopping at Target and Kohls...drinking ice tea was glorious! Mark kept saying, “you do know you have to come home (aka England) right?!?” Yes, yes, I know all good things must come to an end...but my time home reassured me that I have some of the best friends a person could ever ask for and even though I am far, far away some things will never change!
Once I got back to England I found a job working not as a teacher, but as a home and leisure assistant in a grocery store. It is the EASIEST job I have ever had. I stock shelves, work on a checkout on occasion and have NO responsibility whatsoever! I love it! I miss my kids and teaching, and let’s be honest the paycheck was nice, but this no grading papers or dealing with parents is glorious. Mark is happy because I get out of the house and get to feel like I am contributing a bit more to “us”; and, I love it cause it gives me something to do. Sad though, that I get more praise for doing a good job stocking shelves than I ever did teaching which my students, (not to brag) thought I did a darn good job at. But that is a whole different story!
So...I said you would soon see why my Christmas letter is late this year. Well the topping on this year’s “cake” was that my parents decided to take us for a big family vacation to Disney World. Yep, the whole Griffin/Tetchner clan spent ten days in Disney World. While this is suppose to be a place for kids it seems that the Griffins have never truly grown up. So there we were, all five of us hanging out with Mickey and Minnie. It has been an awesome experience! Tons of fun and many memories made. Mark may think we are a bit more crazy than previously but he seemed to join right in after a few days!
If you have made it this far, you deserve to find out the biggest news yet.... Mark and I are expecting our first child, due around July 11. We both think it would be hilarious if it was born on July 4 for obvious reasons. This new lil person has already sent his mama for a loop! I keep telling Mark I am going to have words with “it” when it pops out. I hate feeling sick...and the tiredness...well, Shara is just not used to someone else dictating her life. Mark just laughs. We are both super excited and know 2013 is going to be a life changing one!
With that I am going to go out to the pool...yes, you read that correctly! (We are still in Disney for a few more days!) I hope you and yours have had a wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year! Remember “Wise men still seek Him.” Gods blessings and peace to you. Merry Christmas...even if it is a bit late!
Shara & Mark
...and little baby bump too!