The Sovick Family in Vanuatu

We are a family from the Seattle USA area who is living a year in Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

27 January 2019 - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year From the Sovick Family
Hi Everyone, here is an update on 2018 for all of us. We hope this finds you doing well and ready to take on a new year.
In 2018 we had some pretty big events in our family. The biggest thing by far is that we have moved to Vanuatu for the year. Jason took a leave of absence from his work and the whole family flew off to Vanuatu in mid september where we finished out 2018 and are still here in Vanuatu today.

More on this later, I will try go through the year in chronological order.

To start with we had James in 12th Grade at Bainbridge High School and in June he graduated. What a milestone in everyone's lives and we celebrated at our house with his grandparents. After graduation he decided to take a gap year in Vanuatu with all of us and he is working for Olympic Glass which is a small glass company who wanted to make their quotes and invoices for their businesses electronic so he is doing the programming for that. He is pretty lucky and he likes his job and he works about 10 hours a week on it.

Jaana finished preschool at Teacher Ellen's Bainbridge Island Cooperative preschool which she loved and where she made lots of friends. Josh finished 6th grade at Odyssey and Jada finished 8th grade at Odyssey. Jada is now a high schooler which is hard to believe.

During the summer Jason tuaght summer school and we packed up our entire house and put our things in a storage unit on Bainbridge Island. I won't lie, it was a lot of work to pack up everything. We had filled out our huge house on Bainbridge but we got it done.

When we finished packing up and finished summer school we jumped in our car towing a small uhaul trailer and left for Minnesota. We decided that since we had been working a lot that we might take it slow and do some camping. So we had our tent and camping gear with an we stayed at KOA campgrounds in Spokane, Livingston Montana, and Bismarck North Dakota. The Bismarck and Livinston KOA's were particularly nice and it was fun to have a campfire and relax after driving a few hundred miles.

We made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Minnesota where we were going to stay for 6 weeks. Auntie Jackie (Jason's Sister) was getting married on September 15 so we couldn't miss that. So we stayed at the grandparents house and we did all the fun things Minnesota in the summer has to offer. We spent a lot of time at Itasca State Park where the Mississippi river starts. We went boating and fishing a lot. Josh really loves fishing and he will do pretty much anything to get a chance to go fishing. He even tried fishing in the Clearwater river which is this river one mile north of Grandma and Grandpa's house (there is no fish in that river!) We got to stay at Jason's friend's cabin for a few days and use his pontoon and relax by the side of the lake. The kids went to the waterpark at a casino which they love. Grandpa and Grandma have two four wheelers and the kids rode them daily. They rode them so much they were wearing out the grass in the yard so we had to make a trail in the woods for them to ride on. The summer ended by going to Lake Vermillion, which is a really beautiful lake, to a resort for Auntie Jackie's wedding. The resort was fantastic, the wedding was even better, and it was a lot of fun to see family and friends and to welcome Jason Lonne (known as JL) into our family.

We flew off to Vanuatu on September 19. We arrived in Port Vila and the weather was nice. I have to say that probably the biggest change is the heat here in Vanuatu. All of us have struggled with the heat, sweating all the time, taking lots of showers, and we are all very appreciative of having air conditioning which we turn on at night to sleep. The food has been different for us but we have been able to make some American dishes like chili, hamburgers, and spaghetti. The best thing is that the kids have gotten to know their family here in Vanuatu. They have spent a lot of time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and they have 22 cousins here as well. We got a puppy here and named her Kalaani and we don't know what kind of dog she is but if you do a Google search for a black faced Cur it looks just like her. The kids are doing school online and Jada does really well, Josh misses being social, so the online learning is harder for him. Overall I would say the school is working well. We live in a house that is only about 200 yards from Jason's house that he lived in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. That happened by accident but it is pretty cool to be back in the same neighborhood. We have been visiting beaches, doing some tourist activities, and going around the island a few times so that has been fun for everyone. Everyone is enjoying (most days anyway) but everyone is very willing to go back to Washington.

Have a great 2019 everyone and please take care.

The Sovick's
Jason, Mere, James, Jada, Josh, and Jaana (and our new dog Kalaani)