Looking Back on 2022 – A Year in Review: Our Personal and Travel Highlights

If you’re reading this, then I hope you had a great end to 2022 and that you are also feeling positive for the year ahead.

It took me a few weeks to pull together my thoughts on the last year.

2022 has been a year of big transitions for us and as it came to a close, just like in the previous years, I like to sit down and look back at some of the best and biggest moments of it.

The great disruption of 2020-21 – yes, can you believe it’s been a long two years – has led many people to reconsider the way they live and work, the way they relate to those around them, and the life choices they make. The past two years have made people reflect on what is important in this life and what actually gives them joy and we were no exception. 

Therefore, at the beginning of 2022, we were determined to make big changes such as cutting back on screen time, slowing it down for the things that we love, spending more time with loved ones and having the courage to live a life true to ourselves.

In case you need a catch-up on the last few years of my life, here are my previous year in review posts:

A Year In Review: Our Top 2021 Personal and Travel Highlights

A Year In Review: Our Top 2019 Personal and Travel Highlights


Buying Our First Property

Buying a first home is a major milestone in anyone’s life, it is probably one of the most significant purchases anyone will make in their lifetime and from our personal experience, I can tell you that it can be an exciting yet at times daunting experience, particularly for first time buyers who might not know what to expect.

Finding a home that you and your partner agree on, that’s within your budget, in a desirable location, and where you could comfortably spend five to 10 years isn’t easy—particularly in a highly competitive real estate market with record-low inventory. 

But like many other first-time buyers, looking for a first home during the COVID-19 pandemic we naively believed that as two professionals we would somehow survive the process largely unscathed. That optimism abruptly evaporated once we made our first offer on a house—and were promptly outbid by about fifty thousand.

In the end, it took us nine months of scouring the market in County Sligo touring dozens of homes, and losing multiple bidding wars before we finally closed on our home late last year – a cute renovated duplex in Sligo Town.

There’s no place like home

Travelling Home To See Our Friends and Family after Three Years of Absence

Regardless of where you live, the novel coronavirus pandemic has likely split up your family and loved ones just like ours. The urge to be with family for the holidays or gatherings was strong, even during a deadly—and surging—viral pandemic. Everyone wanted to see their family, and everyone was tired of being cooped up.

But having 1930.6 miles between Sligo and our home towns meant that we didn’t get to see our family in Latvia for almost three years.

We knew that even after several countries started lifting stay-at-home orders or travel bans, visiting elderly family members who won’t be able to dive back into regular routines just yet in person may be just as risky as it was when the pandemic first unfolded. So we waited until the number of coronavirus cases finally started to decrease and we gradually moved towards a new normal, before we booked our flights home to Latvia.

Ericeira with her grandparents

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary

It was a rainy March day in 2000 and I had no idea whatsoever that before the day was over, I would meet a guy that would send me on an incredible series of adventures.

Every anniversary is a milestone but 20 years together is a lot to celebrate, and it’s hard to believe that the two of us have been through two decades of ups and downs as a couple.

Given that for travel lovers like us, true romance means hitting the road, we decided to ditch the flowers and chocolates and commemorate our special milestone with an amazing trip to Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast.

Visiting Belfast and stopping by Titanic Museum.

Having Another Baby

One of the biggest highlights last year was becoming parents again.

Much to our delight, on the 19th of October Madara Lilly Borovska was born at Sligo Hospital weighing a healthy 3,950 kg.

Being pregnant and having a child for the second time was as exciting as the first. From feeling a little heart beating right next to mine and enjoying two smiles, two voices, two ways of playing and living life to getting the chance to relive all the good parts of my first pregnancy and birth, I get to enjoy the greatest happiness of all.

The first time being pregnant felt like a voyage into the unknown for both of us. Every mood change, every twinge, every shift in body shape was magnified because it was so new. The second time around, we both had a map which gives us a better sense of when something was off course.

Celebrating Madara’s arrival.

Visiting Edinburgh Twice

It’s no secret that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Edinburgh, and given that we live a mere 50-minute plane ride from the Scottish capital, I use every opportunity to visit it.

In April, shortly before the midterm, on a cold and stormy spring evening, I spontaneously booked flights and accommodation in Edinburgh and whisked off to Scotland’s capital with Ericeira as my travel companion.

I have to say that nothing helps strengthen the bonds between a mother and daughter more than participating in activities shoulder-to-shoulder and sharing new experiences. I find that mother-daughter trips are a perfect way to accomplish both — and those long hours of travel time can be the perfect way to enjoy quality time.

As yet another opportunity represents itself for me to go on a short solo trip just before we travelled to Latvia, I hopped on yet another short and comfortable flight to Edinburgh to meet up with a friend, and explore some of the city’s museums and independent bookstores.

There’s no place like Edinburgh.

Exploring Europe By Train

In April, we spend an incredible week touring Netherlands and Belgium by train. First, we jetted off to Amsterdam to visit Valters cousin and then caught a train to Ghent stopping shortly at the second-largest city in Belgium Antwerp. The main reason for our stopover in Antwerp was to see one of the most beautiful train stations – Antwerpen-Centraal.

Set over three levels, Antwerpen-Centraal certainly makes for a memorable start or end to any trip to the city. Its cavernous main hall is decked in marble, with elegant columns and a marvellous central staircase presided over by a lovely clock face.

We spent five days exploring Ghent to the fullest. We wandered around Ghents Historic Center where we could feel its ancient past on every corner. We admired the centuries-old architecture in every small street, stopped by its castle, and tasted some of the best chocolate, waffles, mussels, and beer here.

The more time we spend in Belgium, the more delightful I find this country. Flemish architecture is a photographer’s dream. The busy squares, cobblestoned streets, cosy cafes, and friendly locals are sure to make your trip to Belgium memorable.

Couldn’t be happier to be back in Belgium.

Happy New Year! I hope all your endeavours in 2023 are successful.

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Now, over to you!

What’s your last year’s highlight? Share it in the comments below!

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

70 thoughts on “Looking Back on 2022 – A Year in Review: Our Personal and Travel Highlights

  1. That was a beautiful, a very beautiful trip through some of the most important parts of your life! Congratulations on everything but most for the baby! Looking back always should serve to propel us forward with positive energy and I wish you a phenomenal 2023! All the best Aiva!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Francisco. We continuously worked through the pandemic to pursue our dream of owning our home. Now we have the freedom to create our space – we can knock walls down, convert rooms, and essentially create an area uniquely ours – and no one can tell us to do anything otherwise. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Many congratulations on the new member of your family, and lovely to see Ericeira with her grandparents. A fulfilling year in so many ways, Aiva. My son went through the exact same struggles to get on the property ladder. Here’s to a beautiful year ahead for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo and thanks so much. Given that supply of housing is at an all-time record low, there has never been a more challenging time to be a prospective first-time buyer. Therefore I couldn’t be happier to have our own place finally. Congratulations to your son for getting on the property ladder. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  3. What a fabulous year and congratulations on the arrival of Madara, she looks gorgeous. 🥰 I hope you have a wonderful year in 2023 and I so look forward to reading your adventures and seeing your beautiful photographs. 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Glenys. I was over the moon to expand our little family and have another baby girl. Can’t wait for the weather to improve and for the spring to arrive so we can bring her on family adventures. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Mark. I couldn’t be happier with everything we had a chance to achieve last year, especially getting a foot on the first rung of the property ladder. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on the birth of your baby daughter! Lovely family photographs with grandparents too. Next time I visit Belgium I will need to take a train to Antwerp and view its magnificent railway station. Thanks for the tip. Wishing you all a very Happy 2023.

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    1. Thanks so much, Marion! We were truly blessed last year – moving into our own place and having another baby were obviously the biggest highlights. I am still pinching myself today. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  5. Congratulations, Aiva. Kudos to you for the solo and mother daughter trips. Adding one more makes it so much more complex but rewarding. Your years will be busy and travel will be slightly different but I know you will still get out there. Lovely photo of your family and gosh I am so thrilled you all got back to see your family. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Bernie. Going through the mortgage approval process and house hunting while being pregnant and working two jobs wasn’t without its challenges, and it’s something I would never want to do again, but it is so rewarding to finally have a family home where we can bring our girls up. Thanks for following our family adventures and all the best for 2023. Take care 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Diana! I am over the moon to have another baby girl. I grew up in a big family and that’s why I am so happy for Ericeira to have a baby sister – friends come and go throughout our lives, but a sibling will always be there. They are one of the most important people in our lives. Thanks for stopping by and all the best for 2023 🙂 Aiva xx

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  6. Congratulations on your baby! Another beautiful human born into this vast, beautiful world…you also certainly made up for international trips this year, with visits to Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and so forth. I’m glad you’re also appreciating the simpler things in life, to take things slow, and enjoy every minute of it. Wishing you a great 2023 ahead!

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    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca! I was a little bit reluctant about having another baby in my forties, but fortunately, all went well and we have yet another bundle of joy to look after and take on family adventures. As I spent most of the year being pregnant, I was restricted in what I can do and how far I can travel, so I am planning on travelling more this year once we get the little ones’ travel documents sorted. Thanks for stopping by and all the best for 2023. Aiva 🙂 xx

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    1. Thanks so much. It was a challenging, but very rewarding year. Instead of booking flights and going on family adventures, we had to keep an eye on finances and devote most of the year to adulting responsibilities. Being pregnant and buying a house was more demanding than I initially expected and it certainly required a lot of prioritizing, but I am so ready to finally travel in 2023. No, you didn’t miss a post about my pregnancy, somehow those nine months flew by so fast, I didn’t even have a chance to make a proper announcement. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  7. Well you certainly had a busy 2022. Congratulations on the new baby! I’m not sure if I just missed that or you didn’t announce it on the blog. And a new house, how did you also manage to get in so much traveling!? All the best for 2023. Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Maggie. I didn’t really announce my pregnancy anywhere on the blog, I guess I was just too busy house-hunting, sorting out all the paperwork and moving in. And a few trips here and there were just to keep us sane through the whole process which initially took nearly a year. I am so glad it’s behind us, now we can slowly decorate the house and put our mark on it. If you thought 50 shades of grey was too much to handle, consider this: there are more than 150,000 shades of white paint to choose from! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  8. What a beautiful family 💝! Congratulations for a busy but happy 2022 😍 Not everything in our life will go smooth but important is to never give up and keep fighting for what we want. I wish you all a magical 2023 filled with amazing adventures and only good things!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Ribana. I am so happy to become a parent once more! I had a very healthy and happy pregnancy and couldn’t be more delighted to be home with my babies. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  9. What a fantastic 2022 you had Aiva, adventurous, yet fulfilling. Congrats on the new addition to the family, you have a beautiful one😍 I kind of noticed you were quieter than normal on wp, but now we found the reason. Owing a house is a big step, but you are used doing big steps by now, moving to another country, having 2 children, etc. Wishing you an amazing 2023, health, prosperity, and a lot of happiness!!
    p.s. I love Ericeira’s face in the picture, you can definitely tell she loves the role of big sister
    All the best, hugs!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Christie. Yes, lots of changes have been happening in our household. I’ve been pretty quiet about it, because things like these take time, and I wanted to get everything settled and prepared before I broke out the big news. If I’ve been a little bit M.I.A. last year, that’s probably why. We’ve been carefully saving for years and finally found our dream adobe. It’s so exciting to have a consistent place to stay and a home base for all our adventures. I am super thankful you have been following our family journeys. Wishing you and your family a very Happy and prosperous New Year 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly! At times, life can feel like it goes on and on forever. In others, life feels like it passes by in the blink of an eye. That’s why I love reaching and experiencing new major milestones in life that help me reflect on where I’ve been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve done. Thanks for stopping by and all the best to you and your family in 202023. Aiva 🙂 xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Brian. Somehow, 2022 turned out to be such an amazing milestone year. With climbing property prices and challenges along the way, buying our first property during the pandemic was such a stressful ordeal, but it was so worth it. Thanks for stopping by and wishing you all the best in 2023. Aiva 🙂 xx

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  10. That is a huge list of congratulations Aiva. Congrats on home ownership, 20 years of marriage and the new little addition to your family. Glad you were able to visit your families as well. No doubt you had a busy year. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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    1. Thanks so much, Allan. It sure was a super busy and also very emotional year. Valters dad suddenly passed away shortly before Lilly was born in October, and we are still learning how to deal with grief. But it’s comforting to have our little place now – it was worth every sacrifice we made along the way in order to become homeowners. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  11. Happy New Year to your whole family and congratulations for hitting all of these amazing milestones! It seems like this year was really fulfilling for you and filled with adventures, both travel-related but not only! Welcome to the cute Madara, and I hope you are all well in your new home!

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    1. Thanks so much, Juliette! At the beginning of 2022, I was determined to put my best foot forward to approach life in a positive way so that I can achieve my very best year. I sat down and wrote my annual goals and made a schedule to help me to achieve these goals. I have to be honest – it wasn’t without its challenges and a great deal of sweat, blood and tears, but I am fully satisfied with the outcome. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  12. Happy 2023!! What a wonderful set of goals for 2022 and it certainly sounds like you made the most of the year with some major milestones! Congrats on the newest addition to your family. It must have been such a relief to finally buy a house. I can’t believe that your first offer had 50,000 competing offers. That’s insane! We entered into the market during the pandemic as well and lost out on multiple bidding wars. But in the end, we’re happy with the house we got and it seemed like it was meant to be.

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda! Many happy returns and congratulations on your new home! We’ve been thinking about expanding our little family for a while – we had the desire to give and nurture another bay – and I was overjoyed when Madara finally arrived! Given that there were fewer new homes on the market because construction was affected by Government Covid-19 restrictions and fewer second-hand homes available because viewings were also disrupted or sellers simply decided to stay put, in order to purchase our first home, we went through a proper rollercoaster. Given the challenges, I am glad that we continued to push forward and finally moved into our little place. Thanks for stopping by and take care 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Pam. I love setting and achieving goals, but never this big, so I was naturally pleased that we managed to cross off everything on our wish list. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  13. What a busy year you all had. Your family is so beautiful. What a special gift too, your new sweet little baby, she is so adorable. I bet her big sister is so happy to meet her too. You and your family have another beautiful 2023 year filled with many adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 It was a very busy and productive year. Bringing home Lilly from the hospital so Ericeira could finally meet her was a memory I’ll cherish forever. There are still pretty strict COVID-related restrictions in the hospitals which meant no one was allowed to come to see me and the baby. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Anita! 🙂 It’s true, there is something magical and special about your first child, but once you have your second, you realize that all babies are magical and special. The difference is that the second time around, you can actually enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thank you kindly! I believe that if we don’t fulfil our innermost desires and dreams, we are left empty and drained, and if we follow our hearts, we are at peace. I am delighted with everything we achieved last year, and I am thankful to everyone who supported us along the way. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  14. Last year’s greatest travel highlight seemed to be our successful attainment of four cross country road trips in the U.S. without catching COVID. Thanks for asking.

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  15. Many, many congratulations on the birth of a new baby! So delighted to see Ericea with her grandparents. All this and a new house – what a year! Our first house in Wales cost 10,000 GBP… Looking forward to catching up with all your posts. K x

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