And what an exciting New Year it promises to be!
2011 was probably the most significant year in my life. After all, I'm suddenly responsible for another life (fortunately, it's a sweet, happy and sunny little life).
I spent the first quarter of the year alternately freezing and boiling in Afghanistan. This was a really good experience, and I didn't suffer any of the ill effects that get other people. I didn't see anything especially bad, wasn't injured, and wasn't even in a firefight. No PTSD for me, thankfully. In fact, it's possibly been good for me, in that it has engendered just a little bit of impatience and reckless courage into my attitude. If I've faced the possibility of death, I can be a bit more bold in talking to people, or making things happen quickly.
My military experience didn't finish there - I attended a NATO conference, a multi-regiment exercise and a long course with regular Army peers. I think the key lesson I've learned in the Army is in learning to handle things (problems, issues, situations, tasks, whatever) in an organised and effective manner.
The highlight of the year, and probably many years to come, is of course the arrival of little V. She is amazing. She's happy, pretty, intelligent, strong-willed, and is going to be rather a handful when she learns to walk (which will probably remain the state of affairs for many years too).
That segues neatly into looking ahead. This year V will learn to talk, and start walking. She's already standing all the time, sometimes unaided. I can't wait to hear what her voice sounds like, and start talking to her - which, given her and my current tendencies, will be all the time. My Korean is going to improve a lot from learning along with her.
Also this year Y's niece J is coming to live with us while she goes to university. She did quite well on her final school exams, but that wasn't enough in the brutal competition for places in the top Korean universities. A foreign degree and English fluency will make up for not going to the best university in Seoul.
I'll be going to the US this year on an exchange with the US National Guard (their equivalent of the Territorial Army). The USNG is a much more significant part of the US military than the TA is of the British military - something like half of the US military are reservists, as opposed to about 20% in the UK. This means their exercises are pretty big and exciting, so it will be quite a trip.