Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our JennEric 2011

We hope everyone's 2012 is off to a fabulous start!  We just returned from an epic tour of Western Australia (more to come soon) and we wanted to share our annual picture and letter with y'all.  2011 was a year of changes, moves and transformations.  Enjoy!

Our JennEric 2011 Year in Review

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope this letter finds you all healthy and happy during this season of joy.  2011 proved to be the biggest year yet for us!  We have survived a few monumental events and we couldn’t be happier.  In case you missed what we’ve been up to here is a quick catch up on our lives. 

In July, Eric and I moved to the other side of the world (literally) for Eric’s job and now call Penang, Malaysia, a tropical island, our home.  We are truly fortunate to have this opportunity.  We wake up each day and look out the windows of our high rise condo and see the ocean and tropical rainforest hills.  We have seen countless thunderstorms roll in followed by beautiful sunny skies and rainbows.  Eric is enjoying his work here and is focusing on mentoring new engineers and growing National Instruments Penang.  Jenn is now the “trophy wife” she was born to be.  She walks the beach every morning with new friends, keeps our household in order, manages our social and travel calendars and is the head swimming coach at Dalat, the International American school in Penang.   Jenn loves coaching and has 37 children ages 6-18 on her team.  Eric is playing badminton and ultimate frisbee with friends from work.  Our lives are very full here!

Travel - We have been around the world at least once this year, at least in flight miles.  It has been a busy year traveling.  In January, Eric and I completed our PADI Open Water Scuba Diving course with our friends John and Misty.  We knew we needed it before moving to Southeast Asia, where some of the best dive sites are located.  In July, we had 2 weeks of “transit” time between leaving Austin and arriving in Penang.  Our first stop on our tour was Hood River, Oregon for Dave and Emily’s Wedding.  We enjoyed spending time with our friends, drinking good beer and wine, playing in the snow, and being cold.  During this trip, we also visited the Oregon coast where we spent time with Aunt Jo and Inayat and saw whales from our balcony!  It was awesome.  Next we took a short flight to Detroit, where we enjoyed our last days in the US in Ann Arbor.   We drank sangria with Christie and Jay at Dominick’s, had a farewell party at Cottage Inn with family and friends, and stuffed ourselves on Zingerman’s.  We left Detroit with seven suit cases and headed to Penang, a 34 hour trip.

One of the biggest motivators for moving to this side of the world was the ability to travel.  Jenn started booking travel the week we arrived.  After being here for six weeks, we traveled to Phuket, Thailand for 10 days.  We completed our PADI Advanced Open Water certification, cooked Thai food, visited temples and the Big Buddha, sea kayaked and relaxed on the beach with a coconut in our hands.   We have also traveled to Cameron Highlands, an area of Malaysia where tea and most of our produce is grown.  The weather is cool there and requires a jacket at night, which is pure bliss when every day on the island is 85 degrees and humid.  We have also traveled to Langkawi, a chain of 99 islands and a 25 minute flight from Penang.  Langkawi feels like an under developed Hawaii.  We spent the weekend enjoying snorkeling off of our beach and relaxing. 

In October, we traveled back to Texas to celebrate Jamie and Brian’s wedding.  Eric and Grandma walked Jamie down the aisle and Jenn was the Maid of Honor.  We are so happy for Jamie and Brian and are so glad we could share in the joy of their wedding. 

Finally, we will be spending Christmas and New Years in Western Australia.  We are so excited to travel to Australia and learn a bit about life “down under.” 

Our Four Legged Family – Our family has changed a bit this year.  Maizie is living with Jamie and Brian while we are away.  Maizie goes to the barn everyday and plays with her friends Diva and Doug.  Mya is being leased for two years by a loving family.  She is enjoying her life at her new barn and is getting along with the other horses there.  Finally, our newest addition is Coconut, “Coco”, our kitten that we rescued from the local market.  She loves living in her new palace and is getting bigger every day. 

Health -  2011 was a big year for Jenn and her health.  She is officially completed her reconstruction journey and actively reduced her breast cancer risk from 87% to 2%.  Thank you to everyone who supported us and sent us thoughts, love, encouragement and help during recovery.  Jenn continues to be an advocate for BRCA positive women mentoring and sharing her story with anyone who will listen.  We are moving forward with our lives knowing that we kicked Breast Cancer’s Ass!

On to 2012 – We aren’t sure how we are going to top this year but 2012 is looking like it’s going to be pretty awesome as well!  In the first 3 months of the year we are traveling to Bali with Dave and Emily to celebrate Jenn’s 30th Birthday, going to Vietnam for a long weekend, celebrating Eli and Robin’s nuptials in Canada and Jenn is going to India!  

We wish you all a peaceful and joyful new year!  Come and visit us in Penang!
Jenn and Eric

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