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It’s New Year’s Eve, and I can already hear the pops of fireworks going off this morning. Rumor is that Amsterdam is a pretty crazy place on this night every year, and we’ll be off to enjoy the spectacle later, though I doubt we’ll make it to 5am.

I’m not going to do any full Year in Review or New Year’s Resolution posts, so instead here’s a quick snapshot of things.

Something I’m better at now than when we arrived in Amsterdam:

Biking. I feel so Dutch. My beat-up bike is pure workhouse to me now, and I can carry heavy bags in one hand while steering with the other. I can bike in heels, boots, and flip-flops. I can even ride on the back of Jesse’s bike, which is extremely popular here.

Something I accomplished this year:

Crewel Embroidery, Woodland in Wool from Embroidery Companion

I made this forest scene for my dear friend, and since Christmas is done I can post it now! I really loved working on this with thick crewel wool, and following the colorful designs. The animals even turned out better than expected. I think I need to find more patterns like this.

Something I hope to accomplish next year:

My big goal is to finish my quilt. I’m hand-quilting it right now, stitch by stitch, every night before bed, and it’s actually moving along. I have hope!

Something I hope for next year:

Traveling. This first semester a lot of our money went to getting here, getting settled, getting residence permits, and all that. It got quite expensive. Next semester we’re hoping to budget a lot more of our money towards travel of the international variety. Plans are in the works to places like Edinburgh, Morocco, and Scandinavia! I’m practically gurgling with excitement.

While we wait for the big trips, I’d like to try to see more of the Netherlands. We can reach exciting new cities within 2 hours, so why not head out to see more? Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Dordrecht are all a quick trip away and make perfect day trips.

And, lest I get too much wanderlust, Things I feel blessed for:

Traveling to Paris, Prague, London, and calling Amsterdam our new home. Supportive family and friends back home. Friends in the city. Getting better at embroidering. Learning words in Dutch. Trying new food and exploring our city. Jesse getting his master’s in one year. Life.

View from Prague Castle

At the Tower of London

2011 has been pretty good to us, and I have high hopes for 2012. So Happy New Year to you all, and may the next year bring wonderful things!