Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, family and friends! We have been so thankful for another great year of adventure and happiness. The two of us have been enjoying the Kalamazoo community and all of the food, beer, friends and nature it has to offer. While 2014 didn't completely change our lives we took small steps in finding joy and growth as a couple and as individuals.
Enjoy a small recap of our lives in 2014. We are so excited to see what 2015 will bring!
Abby and Christopher
This summer we made a huge dream come true by buying ourselves kayaks! Ever since we started dating we talked about buying kayaks, but apartment living held us back. That is until we discovered (or rediscovered) the Oru Kayak! The Oru is a 12 foot kayak that can fold origami style into a 32 by 28 inch box that's only 13 inches wide. The whole boat weighs around 26 pounds, or about half of a standard 12 foot kayak. They both fit nicely in a car, without the need for traditional racks. Since June we have been taking them out whenever possible. We've paddled lots of lakes, the Kalamazoo River and even the East Grand Traverse Bay. We can hardly imagine our lives without boats to paddle now.
From hobby to obsession! Christopher and his friends have been playing this Scandinavian yard game called kubb for about a year, and over the summer it got serious. They formed a team called "The Settlers of Baton" (a combination reference to the board game, "The Settlers of Catan," and the wooden batons that are used in the game). The team traveled to the U.S. Kubb National Championship in Eau Claire, Wisc. Christopher and a friend also traveled to another Kubb competition in September held in Des Moines, Iowa. They are now working on the Kalamazoo Kubb group with the goal to grow the game in Southwest Michigan. A big part of this will be hosting a tournament planned for June 13, 2015.
Finding an outlet for creative expression is something that I have been trying to foster more consciously in 2014. Apart from blogging, I have been working on a project called 100 Days of Doodles where I have been sharing hand drawn pictures that range from silly to abstract. It may seem like a very simple challenge, and sure not every day yielded a doodle, but more than anything it has been a practice in rewiring my mind to creating more frequently rather than just observing the world around me. This practice of being engaged in creating art is something that I am excited to continue in the year to come and hopefully forever. The medium may change, but the exploration will continue!
In early November, both of us traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Christopher won a trip to attend the State of the Map Conference. He had been taking part in the open source project, OpenStreetMap (Think Wikipedia meets Google Maps) for some time and eventually stumbled upon a contest. Map contributors earned entries toward prizes with each quality edit to the map. Christopher mapped every spare moment he had and earned the grand prize, a trip to Buenos Aires. to attend the conference. Neither of us had visited South America before and were excited to embark on another adventure. The weather was beautiful everyday, being that it was their spring when we visited. We ate delicious food, dodged traffic, and soaked in the rich and complex cultural landscape of Buenos Aires. If you want to see more photos from our trip, head over to my flickr page. As with most international travel, our experience was exhilarating, humbling, exhausting and mindblowing. Michigan greeted us upon our return with the first major snowstorm of the season. It was nice to have that extra bit of sunshine before hunkering down for another winter.