Happy New Year! It feels like 2009 has passed by quickly but at the same time so much has happened. I thought it might be fun to look back on the year with a picture for each month.
We rang in 2009 sitting on the floor of our new but empty home. We had just received the keys a few days prior and had spent the day moving. Homeowners at last! Although the apartment was mostly in move-in condition, there was still work to be done. One of the things we enjoyed was the new proximity to the city and our very short daily commute to work.
My dad was celebrating his 60th and we wanted to be there. Our time in Malaysia also coincided with the lunar Chinese New Year so we got to meet my all my family even my far flung cousins. Stef even collected his first angpow red packets, witnessed lion dances and ate yee sang. Unfortunately it was the last time that I would see my dear popo or grandmother.
I was attending Italian classes offered by the city of Milan since September the year before. While it was difficult to get to class twice a week in the evenings after work, it was still a really great experience. I got to meet a wonderful group of friends and we would every so often go out together after class. We were all foreigners trying to learn the language and the fact that Italian was our only common language made for some hilarious moments.
The annual Salone de Mobile furniture fair in Milan meant also many interesting design exhibitions and events in the city. We visited the Tortona area several times and soaked in all the creativity and young energy. We also went to the actual fair, lucked out with free extra tickets from a passerby and walked till we were ready to drop.
My sis had a business trip to Copenhagen and I decided to take the opportunity to visit the city and spend some quality sister time together. I really enjoyed seeing the sights and there were even a couple of late nights where we stayed up chatting. On the last day I had half a day to spare after my sis' flight back to Chicago departed so I decided to take the train over to Malmo, Sweden. I loved experiencing how different the two cities were despite their proximity.
We were invited to our friend's rustic family mountain cabin in the Val de Aosta region. We grilled local meat and sausages on the outdoor grill but unfortunately it was unseasonably cool so we had to eat inside. It was my first time in this region and we also visited his hometown of Pont St Martin.
We had decided on a wedding venue two months prior and now it was time to really get to work since in August most of the stores would be closed. We worked hard on our bombiniere wedding favor project but managed to take time out to for my first concert at the San Siro stadium. U2's 360 set was pretty amazing but unfortunately the band lacked rapport with the audience.
While Milan emptied out for the annual summer holidays, we stayed put keeping busy with the many preparations for our upcoming wedding. My sis and M also decided to get married, so I quickly bought a ticket to fly out to Chicago for a quick 5 day trip. It was beautiful and I'm glad I didn't miss this important moment in their lives.
We tied the knot! I was blessed to have my sister, new brother-in-law, parents, uncle R, and friends fly out from different parts of the world to be with us. It was my parent's first visit to Italy and we got to spend time them on the weekends, between visits of Rome, Venice and Florence. For the wedding weekend, we stayed at a rental on the Lake Como near Varenna. Our wedding in Varenna was everything I had hoped it would be. Later we left for a short but relaxing 6 day honeymoon in the beautiful islands of Mykonos and Santorini.
October was all about relaxing and taking a break from all the wedding stress. We caught up with work, chores and had the occasional dinner party at home with friends. One memorable one was when our Pugliese girl friends cooked up a delicious meal with handmade oriecchete pasta, sauce with meat rolls and a bavarese dessert. Little did we know we would ourselves head down to Puglia for the first time.
It was time for our second wedding reception in my hometown of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We thrilled to have our friends from join us all the way from Milan, Valtellina and California. My sister and M made the long trek from Chicago too. It was a whirlwind week that started off with a Chinese dinner banquet for 280, and ended with a short retreat on a tropical island and a tree-top jungle adventure.
We capped the year off with a spur of the moment road trip to Puglia, where we where we soaked in the warm sunshine and the even warmer hospitality of our friend M and his family. We ate too much, visited many sights and marveled at the beauty of the people, food and landscape of Puglia.
Wow, what a year. Although we ended up spending more time than we liked on house and wedding related tasks, there were still alot of highlights. For 2010, my resolutions are to study and obtain my Italian drivers license, and to travel more! What are your resolutions?