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It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re leaving 2012 behind. We spent this morning listening to CBC radio and interviews of people’s highs or lows of 2012. I thought it’d be nice to jot down the highs and lows of my life from 2012.

1. For my job, getting a full 1.0 and a pay scale rise based on prior teaching experience was a huge answer to prayers. This secured many things for me and my family, including full health insurance and benefits. It also meant I am able to teach music, a subject I’ve always wanted to teach.

2. Purchasing the house. Our house hunt began at the beginning of 2012 in the middle of winter. We spent countless hours huddled around the computer, looking at neighbourhoods, school zones, house listings, and mortgage calculators. We prayed, we wondered, we waited. Our price point began right at the bottom of Toronto’s housing market. We wondered how we would ever be able to afford a 3-bedroom home that didn’t require massive renovations, that wasn’t in a “bad” school zone, and wasn’t in the far suburbs. We went to open houses, trying our best to educate ourselves of the fast-paced, seller’s market.

Little did I know that the paperwork I had submitted to the school board in December of 2011 would eventually help us shift our price range. In June of 2012, I finally received the official word that my salary scale had been raised significantly. This meant that the borrowing amount for our mortgage was raised significantly as well, which meant we could search for homes in areas where we wanted to live in.

We were only serious about a few properties, but the way the market was going, we felt we were in for a difficult ride. One property ended up going for nearly 70K over asking in a bidding war, which was pretty ridiculous in our eyes. A little disheartened, we weren’t sure if a family home was even possible.

At the beginning of July, my wife had found a listing that hit almost all of our check marks. We had a look together with our realtors. We walked the street and neighbourhood after dinner that night. I went back a third time well past bedtime to see what the neighbourhood was like at night. We were on the verge of putting an offer on the home.

That weekend, we went camping at Sibbald Point, and we had an anxious time thinking about the house, trying to have fun camping, and managing our emotions. We both felt more and more confident about the house, and decided to place an offer on the house the following week.

When we returned to Toronto, we booked a home inspection for the house, got a bank draft for a deposit, and prepared to enter a bidding war for the home.

On that hot summer’s day, the two of us huddled at a Tim Hortons awaiting the verdict, our realtor let us know that we had to place a higher bid in order to secure the property. We went in with our highest number, as high as we wanted to go, and waited anxiously for the news.

About an hour later, our realtor came in smiling happily to let us know the offer had been accepted and we were the new owners. Our 6-month search, our 6-months of wondering and questioning, our 6 months of praying, had all come to a perfect ending. We now had a home to call our own.

3. Car problems. One of the biggest stresses I faced in 2012 had to do with car problems. Engine cooling problems that continued for about two months, finally resulted in a quick and tearful sale of the car. this was all during the already stressful time of moving to our new house, and starting my assignment at a new school. Thinking back, I can see how that period of high stress helped to shape my character. We certainly had plenty of answers to the problem. We were given extra financing from the bank, 0% interest from the dealership, and we were able to confidently buy a new car, something we had never expected we’d be able to do. I am thankful that throughout the month of extremely high stress levels, we were all able to come out of the time with clearer heads and stronger faith.

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"Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel," by Laura Byrne Paquet (Fredericton:Goose Lane Editions, 2007) "The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home," by Pico Iyer (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2000). "Outliers: The Story of Success," by Malcolm Gladwell (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008).

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