01 02 03 Setting Sail with the Fitzys: My How Time Flies When You're Having Fun 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

My How Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Yes indeed, this week marks one year since the day we packed up our family, left home and set out on the adventure of a lifetime, casting off the bowlines, setting the mainsail and sailing off into the great wide unknown, armed only with the knowledge of where our first port of call was to be, from there on our lives were to be in the hands of fate.    In this post I will save you from the philosophical musings of what life is like as an Ex-pat (I'll do that in a seperate posting), and rather try and share with you the experiences we have had together as a family in the last year.  I apologise now if this induces a nauseous feeling of wanderlust in your heart, but just want to chronicle some of our adventures as much for our kids to have something to recall them by in the distance of time, more so than gloat of all the fantastic adventures we have had.
Anyway in the last year;
Camel Riding - Dubai
St Basil's Cathedral - Moscow

These are probably only just scratching the surface on the things we have done as a family in the last year, but it gives you a pretty good feel for the kind of time we have been having out here in the big wide world. While things for our businesses at home haven't quite gone as well as planned, we would do the same again if the opportunity was to arrive, not that we are planning on stopping anytime soon, after all Tokyo does have the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games in 2020, maybe we'll leave here after that.   This latest position is for three years minimum so in a way we are stopping to put down some roots however temporary, and will weigh up our situation after that and see where we head or whether we will decide to stay longer, or if indeed we are ready to go home.  I guess at some time we have to provide the kids with some normal schooling, Jimmy is now repeating Grade 1 for the 3rd successive year, while Molly is doing the same in Grade 5, so they do need to settle down again and move on through the system like normal kids.

Red Square - Moscow
Jimmy's first Salmon - Helsinki

The one unexpected factor in this whole experience has been how much we as a family have enjoyed the travelling, the uncertainty, the sense of being lost most of the time, not knowing how to communicate and generally just finding our way on our own.   I thought that Angela would get over the whole experience reasonably quickly and want to go home, but she has surprised me the most in that she is always looking beyond this placement to our options after Japan, expressing a desire to return to Finland or even Estonia (which is a beautiful and inexpensive country) to live, although that was prior to the Olympic Games in Tokyo being announced.   Sure we miss our family and our friends, but with Facebook and Skype they aren't far away nowadays, and with some of them we are in contact more now than we were when we were living in the same town, such is life.

As I put together this post and list of a lot of the things we have done in the last year and looked for suitable photos to include, it even surprised me how much we have actually done in that time, things that we in our wildest dreams just 18 months ago could not even have envisaged happening, visiting places that we could never even plan to visit from our isolated little island at the bottom of the world.   If you have wondered what life would be like when you break the shackles of normality, but have resisted taking the first step for fear of the unknown, take a deep breath, take the step and experience life in all its uncertainty, its colour, its smells and history, go where life sends you with an open mind and you will never regret it.

Vasa Museum - Sweden

Vaapu, Helsinki
Big Ben - London

Old City - Tallinn
Abba The Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.
Ruins of St Bridgets - Estonia

Viking Village - Finnish Archipelago
Holiday with Nana and Grandad - East Finland
Sea Harbour Museum - Tallinn

Meiji Jingu Shrine - Tokyo
Trollsteigan - Norway

Farewell Dinner with Family and In-laws, Finland

Vogue Tokyo Fashion Night Out 2013
King's Cross - London

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