Dear Amigos and Familia,
It has been two years since we wrote our family Christmas Letter. We are so happy to be able to write this to you and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. One tradition we missed when we were abroad was the sending of our card and letter and receiving so many beautiful cards.
For those of you on facebook and Instagram you’ve watched as #brookefamilyadventures left from the United States and made our way to South America and found home for two years in the bustling city of Quito, Ecuador. I was 8 at the time and my sister was only 6. We learned a ton!
What did I learn?
Well, I learned that it is hard to speak another language even at a young age (I am 10 now). Even though our American International School taught us in English, we took Spanish 40 minutes every day, and outside the walls of our school everyone spoke Spanish. It was hard at times to understand and communicate, but now I know I can do it. I also learned there are amazing people everywhere. I made a best friend in Ecuador named Patrick and we facetime often and may even meet up this summer.
What did my sister learn?
Penelope (now 9) learned that living abroad is very educational, fun, and she loved the adventures. Her favorite adventure was the Galapagos Islands because of the unique animals found there, like the Galapagos Tortoise, the penguins, blue footed boobies, and marine iguanas which can be found nowhere else on earth.
What did my mom learn?
My mom said she learned how brave my sister and I were and what risk takers we could be- moving from all we knew to a whole new culture, learning a new language, entering a new school, and making all new friends. She also learned that the world will always be there, but people may not and so for her bringing us back to be by family right now in our lives was really important. She learned Dad is just as amazing as ever. She learned a lot about international education and herself as an educator, wife, and mother. The friends, educators, and students she met inspired her to continue to impact lives as an advocate for children everywhere. She loved the adventures, but mostly loved seeing us experience them and enjoy this beautiful world.
What did my dad learn?
My dad confirmed that life is about experiences and learned surprises lie around every corner. After only a few months of living in South America he found himself in Bogota, Colombia, talking to Eddie Vedder and on stage with Pearl Jam, an experience he will never forget. So, he was pretty sold on it from the beginning. He also loved the Andes and volcano climbing, skiing in Chile and Argentina, and meeting new friends, and learning to leave past worries behind. He enjoyed watching Joy be an administrator and have a huge impact on the community. And, yes he loved our adventures as well.
We truly had an incredible adventure abroad and we are so grateful for the experience of visiting so many incredible places. Thank you for following us and keeping in touch. There was so much learning that took place for each one of us and it was an experience that brought us so much closer together as a family. If you ever have a chance to live abroad, do it! We even gained a family member, our dog Coto, named after the volcano Cotopaxi.
After two years abroad we decided to move to Montana. There were many family meetings on this decision and in the end we decided on a new adventure in Livingston, Montana. Mom will say she wanted a new adventure serving students as a principal, Penelope will say she longed for the Montana mountains and horses, Dad will say the ski slopes were calling his name, and I…I longed for a treehouse, and guess what, the house we found has one! The closeness of so much family also was a big draw for us all. Montana is a beautiful state and our little town of Livingston just may be the sweetest town ever with incredible mountains and Yellowstone National Park just 40 minutes away. The outdoor experiences, wildlife, music, and art are so great. We are settling in here and meeting so many great people. I love 5th grade!
So Brooke Family Adventures begins the sequel in Livingston, Montana. The Webster dictionary defines adventure to have a few meanings: an undertaking involving danger or unknown risks or a remarkable experience. Moving to another country like Ecuador was full of unknown risks as even moving to Montana has been full of them as well. Ecuador was an amazing experience and we are hopeful Montana will be as well. In the end our family learned, that Adventure is really in the way you live life. One doesn’t have to be zip-lining over cloud forests or climbing Macchu Picchu to find adventure, one can just approach each day as a risk-taker and be ready for anything and most of all appreciate all the learning that comes from each new day.
This holiday we wish you all great adventures wherever you may be and with those you love. Life is truly an adventure and we feel grateful this year to be healthy and happy back in the United States.
MAGUIRE y mi papa Morgan, mi mama Joy, mi hermana Penelope y mi perro Coto