Holiday Recap

First of all, Happy New Year!! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and digest the past month or so until now. Winter thus far has been good. It has been unseasonably warm for this time of year and there has been hardly any snow. Not exactly the white Christmas I had envisioned, but it has been cold enough to give that cozy “hygge” feeling I had been missing for the past few years living in Florida. It inspired me to bake dozens of cookies, which our colleagues at the Embassy have been the lucky recipients of.

Despite eating a good amount of those cookies, I have amazingly lost two pounds this season. I believe this is mostly attributed to cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that, when too high, results in every fat cell clinging to my stomach. I gained 10 pounds from October 2018 (when my husband received his job offer) until October 2019. Five of those pounds were gained almost instantly after arriving in Kyiv. My cortisol levels are going down now mostly due to the fact that I am working and am earning a paycheck again. I have a routine that feels like the one I had back in the U.S., which is also lowering my stress. So, at an average weight loss of two pounds a month, I should be back to my goal weight by May.

Here is a glimpse at my “glamorous” everyday life now that I am gainfully employed again: My mornings are spent working out, tidying up the house, unloading the dishwasher/dish rack, throwing a load of laundry in the wash, feeding our dog, making breakfast, and making the bed. All this in addition to showering and getting ready for the day before heading to work. Evenings are spent going to the grocery store (or ordering groceries online), cooking dinner, feeding the dog, doing dishes, folding and putting away laundry, balancing the bank account, making to-do lists, and sweeping the kitchen. If I am am not too tired, I take an hour or so to scroll social media or watch a show to decompress before going to sleep. In full disclosure, my husband walks our dog first thing in the morning and before bed at night, which especially in the winter is not my idea of fun. He also cooks dinner a couple of times a week (or we go out to eat if he doesn’t feel like cooking), so I am happy doing the household chores instead.

In other news, my hubby and I hosted a small holiday get-together at our house, I went to a friend’s holiday party, we went to the Christmas Market twice, we saw the Nutcracker and had a peaceful and quiet Christmas at home. We celebrated New Year’s Eve at a colleague’s home. Due to Orthodox Christmas being falling the second week of January, we had an additional couple of days off to enjoy the holiday season.

The only setback this holiday season is the post office has been extremely slow. I read about this prior to moving here but hoped it would not happen to me (HA!- spoiler alert, all the things I read in other blogs that I thought would not happen to me have happened. So take heed, people reading this who are about to join the foreign service). A present did not get to a family member until this week, some items I ordered a month ago haven’t arrived, and we just got some holiday cards this week. Oh well, I learned my lesson and will mail stuff weeks earlier next year and will tell friends and family to please keep in mind that it will take a good month to get letters and packages to and from us this time of year.

Without further ado, here are some pictures from this holiday season!!