Wishing You a Merry Christmas
FROM THE STEVENS
——– ❤️ ——–
Dear Family and Friends,
We hope you’ve had a good year! We knew 2022 might be our last in London, so we were determined to live it to the fullest and check a few more places off our bucket list. Sorry not sorry that our family recap this year is mostly a travel log.
In February we had a great time at DisneyWorld with Lance’s parents during our annual visit to America. In April we adventured in Athens, explored hilltop monasteries in Meteora Greece, and rode bikes through flower fields during the Tulip Festival in the Netherlands — an experience that exceeded our expectations. In May we hosted friends from California and then spent 10 days in Southern Italy sightseeing and wondering why we have so many kids and why we thought it’d be fun to travel so much with them 🙃
In June Keri and her sister Mandi took a dream girls’ trip to Santorini, Greece. She’s already planning a trip back with Lance because aaaa-mazing. In July we showed off our city to Keri’s sister Lisa and niece Brittany (her third time visiting!) and then they babysat so Lance and Keri could spend a week in Switzerland summiting mountains, exploring glacier ice caves and eating all the fondue. As expected, the whole country was incredibly gorgeous. We also didn’t die while traversing a mountain face while on the Murren via ferrata, which in hindsight feels like a big win.
In August Lance and a few friends snuck away for an epic long weekend mountain biking in Andorra where he enjoyed the excellent trails and ate the local fare (snails). The geography combined with the fact that the country has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe contributes to him thinking we should move there next. A few days after he returned we wrapped up our European adventure with one last family trip. We spent a week in Slovenia hiking, swimming, canoeing and kayaking through the country’s spectacular scenery.
That trip brought our total to 31 international trips taken to 21 countries in the 35 months we lived in England! Pretty crazy, especially considering the limitations we faced during the pandemic. When we weren’t traveling, we saw 19 West End shows (some multiple times) and spent our weekends visiting London’s amazing museums and parks via our beloved borrowed bucket bike. It was a pretty great life (that included plenty of monotony not included here). But Lance’s work contract was up and in September, two days before the Queen died, we landed back in the USA.
We’re currently camping in our California rental home — our belongings still haven’t arrived from England. But life is still good. Lance continues to work for Gallup and is happy to be reunited with his mountain biking and surfing buddies. The kids are kids and have awesome lives no matter where they live. Lila is in first grade and the boys are home constantly creating chaos. Keri is enjoying spin, paddle boarding, MOPS and being closer to family and friends. And we’re all overjoyed to be among the lucky few to score Disneyland annual passes after waiting 6 hours in a virtual queue (they sold out in 30 hours). While we love the beach, warm weather and our full-size American washer and dryer, it’s hard not to pine over the life we had in London. Maybe we’ll just have to return to it in a few years. I guess we’ll see what life brings!
❤️Lance, Keri, Lila, Lucas and Wesley