The Best of 2012

At the end of every year, we look back and say, “Whew, what a year!”
2012 is no different – as I look back, I see Costa Rica, dear faces and places from our summer in the US,  different corners of Santiago that we visited for the first time, our new teammates, new friends that visited, and lots and lots of family. Here are some of our favorite things from 2012:

1. Getting Above Santiago

If La Coruña, our previous home, is known for its beaches, Santiago is known for its hills (and rain). The views are pretty spectacular:

Santiago de Compostela

2. Costa Rica

In May we traveled to Costa Rica for an International Teams conference. Nate got to spend time with one of his closest college friends, Matt:

3. Time with Grandparents

My parents came to Spain to watch the kids while Nate and I were in Costa Rica, and during the summer we got to spend more time with both sides of the family when we were in the US.

M going after my dad’s IPad:


Getting Ted Drewes’ frozen custard in St. Louis with Grandma and Grandpa:

Ted Drewes

First-ever baseball game for the boys:

St. Louis Cards

Ocean City, MD, with my family (Nate’s frowning because it was 100 degrees that day, not because he didn’t like hanging with my parents):

4. Cousins

The kids couldn’t get enough of their cousins this summer. We got to meet E for the first time:


And we had a raucous time on vacation with Nate’s side of the family:

Lake of the Ozarks

5. Being Back in the US

We spent June through August visiting family, churches, and partners in the US. It was  great to see so many people and drive all throughout the country. One of our favorite things was hanging out in everyone’s spacious backyard. Since we live in an apartment in Spain, we definitely miss having a backyard!


There’s so much beauty around (Garden of the Gods, Colorado):

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

6. New Friends

Ryan and Andrew, photojournalists with International Teams, spent a month in Spain with us. We loved getting to know them:

Naming the World

We also got to host Jay, Lisa, and their two kids when they drove up to Santiago from Madrid. Originally from California, they now work in a school in Madrid. We spent three days telling stories, exploring the area, and connecting over the expat life. They brought us some special gifts from Madrid’s Taste of America store, too – Reese’s peanut-butter cups and Karo corn syrup! Woo hoo!

Jay and Lisa

7. Building Hunting

We finally reached the stage in the Pilgrim House project where we could start looking for a suitable location for the Welcome Center. It’s been fun to visit different locations and dream:

Building Hunt

8. New Carrefour Store Just 5 Minutes Away

OK, I probably shouldn’t be SO excited about having a new Carrefour hyper-store (that’s what they call these grocery-clothing-drug stores, hipermercados) so close, but its  opening really was a highlight of the year. Have you ever had a Trader Joe’s, Target, Costco, or Kohls announce they were going to open up close to your house? Can you remember how thrilled you were? And how you braved the crowds and showed up for opening day? Remember how exciting it was to think you now had all this stuff – some of your longstanding favorite stuff, and stuff you didn’t even know you needed – at your fingertips? It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it!

Since the new Carrefour opened on November 15 at 12noon, I’ve been there at least 20 times. I’ve never had a craving for shark or swordfish, so I haven’t picked up any of that yet, but I know it’s there if I want it (they don’t call it a hyper-store for nothing):

Carrefour Fish

9. New Teammates On the Ground

If it weren’t for our teammate Gale, Nate would have had to scoop up this dead kitty all by himself:

Gale and the Dead Cat

And if it weren’t for Danielle, Jeremiah, and Gale, we wouldn’t have gained 10 pounds over Christmas because we wouldn’t have had so many desserts to eat at our team Christmas party and in the days afterward:

Christmas Cookies

Seriously, we love having them here. Sharing life and work as a team of five has been so fun, refreshing, and productive.

10. Hanging Out with These Guys

Some day soon, our kids will leave the house one-by-one and go have their own adventures. This year we’ve been blessed to have had so much time with them, whether it be traveling around the US, hanging out here at home, or taking them to their activities. In the craziness of every day it’s hard to appreciate them fully, but as I review the year I know that our time with them has been special. We’re grateful for each of them and for the life, sweetness, and hilarity they bring to our family.

Kids at Wheaton College

In all, it was a hectic and full year. Now, like you, we take a deep breath and get ready for 2013! Happy New Year!


This entry was posted in Family, Home Visits, International Teams, Kids, Marriage and Parenting, Milestones, Santiago de Compostela, This Immigrant Life, Top Five (or 10) Lists. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Happy

    Happy New Year, Faith!

  • Lisa

    Love the post – thanks for sharing your year with us. LOVE the pick of M with your Dad in the chair in your piso – such a great moment! Very honored to be included in the countdown – you guys are a blessing. :)

  • jane

    Happy New Year’s Faith!!! Blessings in 2013!! xoxo

    • TheSweetRoad

      Thanks Janie! Happy New Year to you, too! Love ya.