Part one here
We celebrated Christmas with Neil’s mom and dad and an Estonian girl we met at our church, Jelena and her mom, as well as Neil’s aunt, Lesley. This was my first time to see what Christmas crackers were all about and how British celebrate Christmas. It was a lovely, low key night, full of family love and a wonderful dinner.
Neils friends, Kuldip and Neil, had flown over to England from Ca, all six of us spent a wonderful night at Geoff and Sui’s, playing Charades, eating spicy curry and opening gifts. I have to say that Neil, my Neil’s friend, is an absolute pro when it comes to Charades – we were laughing so hard, our bellies hurt.
My darling husband and I decided that instead of expensive gifts, we are going to take a trip as a Christmas present to ourselves.
Our destination was Edinburgh, Scotland, we got there on a train. The train part is special and worth mentioning, as we had talked about wanting to go on a train journey at the very beginning of our relationship. We boarded the famous Flying Scotsman and spent a weekend in Scotland in January.
February was special since my mom got re-married in Latvia.
Neil and I went to the wedding and my Neil, the reserved British man, saw some Latvian wedding traditions that he’s never seen before. I think he thinks of Latvian weddings differently ever since. The best part about it was that everyone loves Neil and at this point I didn’t feel like I need to be right beside him even if he’s talking to someone who doesn’t know English. He’s so easy going and relaxed that a few finger pointings and nods and thumbs up do the job. I love him so much for it – he’s ok to be on his own in a country where he doesn’t know the language.
Since Neil had points from work, we could use them up on a trip anywhere. We decided to go to Amsterdam for a weekend.
It was such a great getaway for the both us and we love exploring new places together. My dear husband took me to one of the best restaurants I have ever been to – Pasta De Basto in Amsterdam. The waiters were professionals singers. We really enjoyed the meal, which was absolutely delicious and the singing. It was amazing. The city is on the smaller side but beautiful and famous for all the wrong things, while the really nice things about it are not praised enough. It was low key but wonderful.
My sister came to visit in March. This was the first trip alone for my little sister, who is not so little anymore but will always be my little sister. We gave her the trip as the birthday present to her 18th birthday. We had a lovely sister bonding time and at this point I had become a professional tour guide through London.
Kerry and Brett flew over in April. They had a little reception for all the family and friends to see them as well as meet Brett for those who hadn’t met him. It was a really lovely day. I got to meet a lot of Kerry’s friends who I had heard about but had never met.
All four of us went to Rome for a weekend. Wow! Italy is absolutely gorgeous. I think the trip put such a good taste in my mouth that I want to return there and travel through the country side.
And guess what, Brett asked Kerry to marry him in Rome!!! He was very sneaky about it all and had asked Dave for her hand before we went. They snuck out together and he asked her by the Travetti fountain latish in the night, just the two of them. So romantic and sweet!
At the end of April Michael and Felicia came to visit us and say good byes before we sailed off to Australia. Michael had lived in London years ago and loves it, so it was a lovely re-union as well as new places and things to do having Michael as the tour guide. Neil took a couple of days off work and we had such a great time together.
From Paul’s bakery to Sushi near St. Pauls and Camden market and Notting Hill and Harrods, we did it all in 5 days! It was so good to see them again and to hang out with our dear friends.
We moved out of the apartment at the end of April and moved in with Lynn and Dave once again. It was a lovely time to spend with Neil’s mom and dad before taking off.
Clive and Esther, Neil’s parent’s bestest friends, couldn’t make it to the wedding, as a wedding gift they bought us tickets to Toronto, where they live.
We went there at the beginning of May. What a great week we had! They threw us a little reception to introduce us to their friends and took us to Toni Romas rib restaurant, which was such a highlight for the rib connoisseur, Neil. It was a great time and even though it was my first time meeting Clive and Esther, it felt like I’ve known them for ages. All the good things we’d heard about them were so true, they were it and so much more!
We got back from Canada and the next day we were off to Latvia with Neil’s mom and dad. We wanted to show them Riga and Latvia and since we got reasonable tickets we decided to have a little holiday for the 4 of us. Neil and I were so proud to show off my city to his parents.
We had such a good time looking at the city from the tallest tower and walking through parks and drinking hot chocolate in little coffee shops. My little sister chauffeured us around and we spent a day at my grand-parents, who were so proud to show their animals and gardens and make good friends with Neil’s mom and dad. It was a great time and way too short.