Credit Card Use In Spain. Is It A T... x
Credit Card Use In Spain. Is It A Thing?

Year End Next Bite Of Life Review (Grading 2018)

Jan 4, 2019 @

I can’t even begin to tell you how fast l felt 2018 flew by. It’s not just me either, I hear the same things from friends across all age groups. Our grades for last year seems so fresh in mind, like l just wrote that post a few days ago. Reading that post, I’m glad that we improved on a couple of things. Our report is a bit better than the last year. Here is the next bite of life review for 2018.

Year End Next Bite of Life Review for 2018:

London's Westminister Abbey
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
London will always be a good idea! 🙂

Travel in 2018: Grade A-

I was surprised that we traveled to 7 countries (10 cities) in 2018 which was the same as in 2017. I thought it was much less to be honest, so it was a pleasant surprise as l rarely do much planning. Here are the places we visited during the year:

England: (Leicester and London)

Leicester market England
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Every day life in Leicester. Amazing that l had never visited Leicester before. Quite nice, next time l will try and catch a football game.

London is a place l never get tired of visiting. This was a solo trip for me. Federico stayed behind to watch the dogs. I spent two weeks visiting with one of my older sisters and her kids. We were joined by some of my other sisters visiting from Nigeria and really had a great time celebrating her 60th birthday in Leicester while l was able to sneak a couple of days in London.

Portugal: (Porto Rocked!)

Porto Portugal scene with church
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Porto was just as dreamy as l imagine. One of my favorite destinations ever.

Our first visit to Porto will surely not be our last. Having previously been in Lisbon and Lagos, we both agree our favorite place in Portugal so far is Porto. It was just the right size and the food was amazing. Sure there are a lot of hills, a lot :-), but it’s really gorgeous..and of course, lots of port wine. I still have to write about our awesome day in the Douro Valley doing some wine and olive oil tasting. I think Porto is in my top 3 of destinations that l love.

Italy: (Rome)

notte bianca Rome Italy with white balloons
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
An old photo l found of days past. This was on Notte Bianco (White Night). A lovely tradition where the stores stayed open all night, as did restaurants, museums, public transports etc and the white balloons were planted all over the ground in the center. Sadly, it is no longer done and l think we took this the last year it was ever done. Too bad as l used to enjoy it. It was so cool to see.

Another place l never get tired of visiting. I love spending time with Federico’s mom. She spoils me rotten, even more than her son l think, and l lap it up with gusto. It’s getting a bit hard to find new things to do, but it was fun heading out to Tivoli for the day and visiting a new palazzo. We are headed back next month and he has promised to take me to other new to me places. Food is always good too!

We love small group tours by TheRomanGuy. Save $ with affiliate promo code NEXTBITEOFLIFE5

Czechia: (Prague and Cesky Krumlov)

Prague market in Prague people and stalls
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
We had a chance to visit the Prague market and sample some Asian street food like the locals.

Our visit to Prague was half successful. I wasn’t much of a fan, but Federico liked it. We both absolutely loved Cesky Krumlov when we did a day trip from Prague. Now, there’s a place that l feel lives up to the hype. It is a postcard city, compact and just perfect. I would absolutely like to visit more cities in Czechia. Here is the changing of the guard at Prague Castle.

Greece: (Athens and Crete)

We both enjoyed our visit to Athens as well as to the Heraklion in the lovely island of Crete. I wouldn’t rule out return visits to other islands either, just maybe not to the most popular places like Santorini :-).

Related Reading: Heraklion Holiday

Germany: (Dresden)

Dresden center Germany with tourists
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
I can’t wait to revisit Dresden as we both loved the place. One day is just too little to fully appreciate it.

I almost didn’t count this as we were only in Dresden for one very long day, having done a day trip from Prague. We absolutely loved this city and even though everything is rebuilt, it still rocks and we definitely would like to go back for a few more days to fully enjoy all it has to offer.

Austria: (Vienna)

eissalon schwedenpatz ice cream vienna
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
This is close to the first neighborhood we stayed at in Vienna. You know we had to try the ice cream and send a picture to his mother. It was pretty good.

Now here was a pleasant surprise. After hearing how cold and sterile Vienna was, it was great to find the opposite. I do admit the very center seems a little standoffish, but we found the slightly off center neighborhoods to be quite nice and friendly and very international. We definitely want to go back. It was a very enjoyable week for us.

Related ReadingGrinzing in Vienna

On the whole, I upped the grade for the travel bit because we did venture to a couple of places that had being on our list from last year, namely Czech Republic and Greece. Here’s hoping we get to Slovakia and Bulgaria in 2019. Nothing will beat the pace of our 2016 where l think it was more than 11 countries. I think l am quite content at 7 for the year. It gives us enough time to see places as well as enjoy our great city of Valencia. I am happy to nest more :-).

Health in 2018: A –

health heart
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
A nice uptick in grade for the year!

I am happy to say we did much better health wise for the year. The dental problems are fixed..yeah! We haven’t had to use our insurance at all and l hate paying for it :-). Our premium increased about 17€ a month. There was a recent change to the laws regarding residency. Prior to a few months ago, after being a resident for one year, you could buy into the federal health plan at a cost of €60/month each. It was recently changed to free! The rub is that each province is allowed to start it when they choose.. you gotta love the Spanish. So far, Andalusia has started this. If we were still living in Seville, our health care premiums would be zero! I hope Valencia starts it soon.

We have also joined our local neighborhood gym which is so close, there’s no excuse for not going, plus l enjoy the classes. If you haven’t already, consider signing up for the newsletter where l give updates on our Valencia life. We also walk a lot, often clocking 2-4 miles a day, which is always good for the health. Imagine that we have friends that put us to shame and clock in excess of 5 miles daily. The city is great for walking.

Finances: B+

Thumbs up and down button
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Not bad at all!

This is slightly lower than last year due to the volatility of the stock market. After years of upward movement, I believe we are in for a down shift. I’m not too worried as l don’t watch the markets daily. After all, what goes up must come down!  Our retirement funds still made a big jump forward from last year end. That surprised me and shows me that my fund allocations were good choices. I contemplated changing, thanks to the constant reminders from the plan reminding me that l am getting older (cheeky bastards! 🙂 )and should shift to stagnant funds :-). Since l make my own informed decisions, I will ride these same funds for the next year. I will take a look at our Vanguard funds at some point to make sure all is well there too.

Language Learning: B

habla espanol on laptop and cup of coffee
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Poco un poco. It’s a bit better, but l have a long way to go.

This only counts for me as Federico’s Spanish is good. My three months of Spanish survival classes definitely helped my confidence. I still suck for the most part, but l feel better tackling things by myself. I run errands solo and find myself asking questions at the market etc. A lot of people at the gym also correct my Spanish and try to help, so l am loving it. It makes me feel more settled.

Ugly Part of 2018:

2018 was not a perfect year, but it didn’t suck like the year before where we had damage to our properties due to the hurricane and costing some major bucks. I did lose my uncle recently. He and his sister (my mom) were so close, none of us were surprised that he didn’t last too long after she passed. Now they can continue their conversations. He lived a long life too (86 to her 90). I used to love hearing them talk to each other even though l had no clue what was being said. Same language, but the dialect of the village they hailed from and it might as well have been Chinese :-). He was also another enthusiastic traveler, working for the embassy and living 4 years at a time in places like Kenya, Rome, Mexico etc. Travel is definitely a thing in our family.

Travel Plans for 2019:

Bangkok river view from Chatrium Hotel Riverside
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
A return to Bangkok might happen. Not fussed either way.

In addition to other Eastern European countries (hopefully Sofia Bulgaria will be one of them), we hope to visit at least a couple of countries in Africa. Ghana and Rwanda would be great and we might combine it with a visit to Nigeria. My brother wants to visit Thailand and l promised we would go with him, so that is also on the table. Other than that, I’ll just be on the lookout for cheap tickets. I’m thankful that 2018 is ending on a good note for us.

Thank you:

A big thank you to all who have followed our journey. It’s been almost five years since we started documenting our travels and migrant life on this little blog. It’s been wonderful having you along for the ride and l hope we inspire you to get out there and travel if you can. If you can’t, we welcome armchair travelers as well :-). I hope 2019 turns out to be a marvelous one for all of us.

                                         Happy Holidays to all, and “see” you in 2019!!!!

 

How was your 2018? Hope it wasn’t too bad overall. What grade would you give it?

32 thoughts on “Year End Next Bite Of Life Review (Grading 2018)”

  1. HI there, great post and your pictures are amazing. We were in Prague (Praha) earlier this year and LOVED it. The Charles Bridge, while packed, was nice especially in the evening with all the lights. Old Town Square was nice, but also very crowded. I definitely can’t wait to go back again one day. Thanks for sharing and for the happy memories. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Samantha. Glad you loved Prague :-). You are totally on my husband’s side. I am glad it brought back great memories and l hope you get to go back soon. It sounds like it was an awesome experience for you and l am all for going back to places one enjoys, and not just for the numbers game. Thanks for the comment and for reading :-).

      Reply
  2. Lovely travels you had this year. Cheers to the new year

    Reply
    • Right back at you Paula! Hope it’s a safe and happy one and hope to meet you at some point 🙂

      Reply
  3. So happy you had a great year Kemkem! Good to see you made healthy A1 too. Between yoga and walking or jogging, I spend 2 hours to 2 and a half hours daily on fitness. Health is the first wealth.

    Reply
    • Happy New Year Ryan! I’m glad health was right up there too. I had been slipping :-). The gym has yoga classes too and l have been thinking of trying it. It looks easy, but l tried it with my Wii and found it hard :-). I will slowly work my way up to your level!

      Reply
  4. Kem, thanks for sharing your travels with us this past year. I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for you guys, and for us as well. Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Happy New Year Suzanne! I look forward to the surprises of the new year too. I hope it’s nothing but good for us all :-).

      Reply
  5. Kemkem, I enjoyed this summary of your year. The great thing about blogging is to be able to have a record of past events and look back. I have a terrible memory, so it helps me to look back. You certainly had a fantastic year and I have enjoyed following along. I hope 2019 will be another great year for you both😄

    Reply
    • Happy New Year Gilda! It’s funny you mentioned the memory because l’m right there with you. With travel especially, it sometimes gets jumbled, especially when you run behind with posts. It’s a good way to reconcile everything. I’m glad 2018 was good and l know it was good for you too as l have enjoyed reading about your travels as well. Here’s to more travels in 2019 and beyond!!! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Happy New Year to you both. If 2019 is a continuation of this year you guys should be very happy indeed. It was a great surprise to wind up sharing a meal with you both in Porto, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to see you again this year. Stay well and keep traveling. Cheers, Tim & Anne

    Reply
    • Happy New Year in Portimaio! It sure was a pleasant surprise catching up with you in Porto. We so enjoyed the meal and seeing you guys again. I am hoping we get to visit there again in the near future as we really love the city. Let’s hope we see each other again next year, here or there :-)! Hugs and have a safe new year!

      Reply
  7. New Year’s wishes from Greece! Loved your year-end wrap-up and grading system! Hope all those travel plans for the coming year, come to pass. I am envious that you have the option of going to a gym, next to missing my Starbucks, we miss our regular gym visits (have none anywhere close by). . .

    Reply
    • Happy New Year! Thanks for the best wishes and of course we wish the same for you, both in Greece and on the other side of the pond. I can’t believe you miss Starbucks when you have Greek coffee 🙂 but l totally understand. It’s great having this gym so close by and l want to do more classes like Pilates, but l really have to get my courage up. I am not limber..haha! 🙂

      Reply
  8. Do you know what is one of the highlights of my year? I bet you do! Having the blessing to meet wonderful, sincere people. Friends that no matter what you do and are, give you the trust to show yourself to them without any hesitation. To open your soul and make them part of your life and that in return they give you the exact amount of appreciation.
    Thank you friends, Kemmy and Fede! You are wonderful! Cheers to your next trips, magnificent destinations, amazing times and posts! God bless you always! Happy 20019!!! ❤

    Reply
    • Yes I do! You flatter me very much and l love it! :-). I am so glad that this year was the year for pushing myself outside of the comfort zone because l wouldn’t have met you otherwise. It’s been wonderful having you being part of our lives and being able to call you a friend…haha! you know how Federico is. He calls very few people friends. Here’s to an amazing year ahead for all of us. I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome for you :-).

      Reply
  9. All the best in 2019 Kemkem!
    We’ll be visiting Sophia in 2019 as well on our spring tour through southern Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Keep up the healthy living!

    Reply
    • Same to you and Spanky! Sophia definitely sounds wonderful. It looks awesome from what l have been seeing from images and B movies :-)! I definitely will make an effort for us to visit. Your plans sounds great. Hope our paths cross during the year.

      Reply
  10. Best wishes to you and Federico for 2019! And well done for all the aspects of your life that you’re grading.

    And what you said about the people in your gym helping and correcting your Spanish, people in Spain are so friendly and helpful that way. I remember once writing out a letter to someone, who after she read it, sat down with me and helped me get the correct words in order to have it make more sense. There was a man I met at the hotel I stayed at in Torremolinos, Miguel. He was with 3 friends of his, all from El Escorial, and they included me in what they were doing. He’d talk to me and when he was done, ask me if I understood what he said. It was just easier to agree and say yes, but that wasn’t good enough for him. He’d ask me to repeat back to him what he’d just said to me. Usually I was able to do it! Very appreciative of the locals who wanted to help me speak better Spanish.

    As for Miguel, we kept in contact for about a year or so with letters, back in the olden days before computers and cell phones. He went off the the mili and moved around a few times and we just lost contact and moved on.

    Reply
    • Happy New Year Cheryl. I hope the new year turns out to be a wonderful one for you.

      It’s been really good having people help me with my Spanish even though my retention is pretty bad :-). What l have also been finding out is that some of them speak English as well, so we are doing an intercambio of sorts at the gym..and it’s pretty cool. I understand a bit more and get the gist of the conversation but poco un poco as they say. I should be fluent in 20 years or so! 🙂 🙂 . It sucks that you lost track of your friend and how nice of him to make sure that you could understand. It’s been really cool trying to learn.

      Reply
  11. Congratulations on anither great year of travel! Will keep on reading your butes if life!

    Reply
  12. Looks like successful year of exploring in 2018. Glad to hear that the downside of the year was better than the previous year. Can’t wait to see what 2019 holds.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for reading. Happy New Year to both of you and here’s to a terrific 2019 for all of us :-)!

      Reply
  13. Looks like 2018 was good to you and Fede and here’s raising a glass of wine in a toast that 2019 will be even better. It promises to be an interesting year for all of us and it will be an adventure to see where the travel bug takes us as well as the roads we choose. Looking forward to a meetup and reunion, either in my adopted country or yours! Anita

    Reply
    • Or even a meeting somewhere else..anywhere! :-). I hope 2019 turns out to be a great one for you despite everything. Definitely hope to see you soon. Here’s to 2019 and all the hidden pleasures to be discovered! :-).

      Reply
  14. That was a busy year… You went to some of my favourite places – London and Rome – but would you believe I’ve never explored Leicester? Happy travels in 2019.

    Reply
    • Haha! Why is it that we always manage to ignore our own backyard? One of the reasons l say we are going to discover more of Spain :-). There is certainly a lot to see here. I liked Leicester and was shocked l hadn’t been there before as she has been there over 6 years now. Happy New Year and safe travels to you as well. I will be in your 2 favorite places again this year :-).

      Reply
  15. Happy New Year, Kemkem! I took a complete an almost complete (and much needed) break from the online world, but I am back now 🙂 2018 sounds like a great fun year for you and hopefully 2019 will be even better. Can’t wait to see the goodies that this new year has in store!

    Reply
    • Happy New Year C! I had the feeling you were taking a break. Good for you! I think l need to do more of that I find that since getting my new phone which somehow notifies me of any comment, game move etc.. I find myself checking it more and more :-). I need to adjust the settings l think. I hope 2019 will be awesome for all of us and hope our paths cross again so l can see the Mrs and Little C :-).

      Reply
  16. Love reading what attracts you to a new place or conversely what you don’t like, Kemkem. Glad that you were able to get away and spend some time with family in England. It’s important, isn’t it, to recharge your batteries with those who knew you first when you can. I’m looking forward to returning to my hometown of Ottawa, Canada, in July to see family and friends from kindergarten. I hope you have continued great fun exploring more exciting places in 2019. Annie

    Reply
    • It was wonderful hanging with my family :-), especially the women..it was like one big sorority meeting..haha! It definitely recharged my batteries and l am getting ready to do it again for one of my niece’s wedding. Oh, I bet you can’t wait to visit Canada and the family. Wow! from kindergarten. That is awesome! I don’t have any friends going back that long, but amazingly my older siblings do :-). I think l left too young. Have fun and looking forward to reading this year’s blogs.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SubscribeTo The Blog And Never Miss A Thing!

Thanks for subscribing.

SubscribeTo The Blog And Never Miss A Thing!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This