A new year always seems to give us a chance at a new beginning. It's all completely physiological of course but a new day, a new month, a new year is like turning over a page and having a lovely clean, blank page on which to begin that days, months, years story.
5 years ago January marked not only the start of a new year but also a new start for us as a family. We left South Africa, re-homed our beloved pets, sold off most of our possessions, left our family and friends, and got onto an plane, flew to the UK to start a new life.
We have been so blessed in our time here. We have seen God's hand at work in our life. A job provided, a home provided (miraculously) before we even left South Africa. Beautiful friendships made. We have fallen head-over-heels in love with England and never once felt homesick for the country of our birth. We have truly been established in this beautiful country.
The time has finally arrived, we have 'served' out five years on our Ancestry Visa, and now we are able to put in our application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. It's not quite citizenship yet, we still have another year to go for that, but we have reached the first major landmark of our journey to British Citizenship, and we feel BLESSED.
I have to say that completing this application has been daunting! The application form is 80 plus pages long. The supporting documents that need to accompany the application equal the pages in number of the application form. The cost is huge - but it's all so worth it.
It was with quite a bit of emotion that I packed this little lot up in a Special Delivery envelope and handed it over the post office counter. The process is now in motion!
It seemed fitting that on this day that we have waited for for 5 years dawned clear, crisp and bright. A perfect winter's day in England. I even managed to get my washing done early and hung on the washing line! There are not many days in winter that you can do that! LOL
Today is also Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. Christmas is officially over and it's time to pack away the Christmas decorations.
As I carefully packed away decorations that have seen so many years - all of my children's childhood years in fact - I reflected on how good God has been and is to us. How through the ups and downs of life He is ever present and always there to guide us. How we have been blessed to have our children at home, to have been able to home educate and have an abundance of precious family memories.
2016 marks another new beginning in our home, our eldest daughter graduates our 'homeschool' and starts college in September. A new start for her - an exciting new beginning. I'm so grateful that she is not going far away to study and that she will still be living at home. It gives me and her time to adjust to this major change in our daily lives.
New beginnings. Sometimes exciting, sometimes scary, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes downright hard. This year we personally have a few to face, and I'm so grateful that I have a faithful God, a loving family and precious friends to share them with.
Blessings to you all this new year...