2010 Year in Review

First comes love, then comes marriage (and a world tour), then comes a baby in a baby carriage…

I don’t normally write an end-of-year or holiday post.  Not sure why, but this year is different for many reasons.  The most important is that we’ve just become parents and that always changes your perspective (and it helps that I am up just past sunrise listening to him fart in his sleep), but I’d say the real reason is the sheer amount of change and the volume of activity that took place in 2010.  We’ve been talking about it for a couple of months.  “How did we do all of that in one year?” we say every few days.

2010-01-26 Galle, Sri Lanka - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour - Official 050Here are some of the highlights:

  • Married in Sri Lanka [photos] – January
  • World Wedding Tour, including parties in 10 cities around the world (www.thespokanites.com) – January-March
  • Robert joins Transpara as an advisor and head of marketing – March
  • We find out Sonya is pregnant but can’t tell anyone until June – April
  • Sonya gets a new job at the BIS (the central bank for the world’s central banks) in Basel, Switzerland – June
  • We move to Switzerland, including putting our Seattle house up for rent and renting a great new house in Basel – July
  • Robert joins iGet.it as an advisor – August
  • Holiday in Positano, Italy (Amalfi Coast) [photos] – October
  • Drake Nicholas Hylton is born November 28th at 6:08am [photos]
  • White Christmas in Basel with Sonya’s parents [photos] – December

These are just the major items.  It doesn’t include a bunch of our travel or the many sub-activities within the larger items above. 

2010-06-28 - The Next Hylton 001aWe went skiing in Whistler and attended our friends’ weddings in both Whistler and Newport, Rhode Island.  Visits to Phoenix, New York, San Francisco, etc.  Road trips through Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California.  Train trips through the Swiss Alps and to Lucerne.  We created music videos and even composed the wedding soundtrack.  Sonya celebrated her birthday on a plane over Tokyo on our way to Sri Lanka.  Robert celebrated his in Italy.  We made an entirely new set of friends in Basel somehow (if feels like we have barely left the house) and have even had two parties.  The list goes on and on…

Given the sheer volume I will only provide detail on three items…

WARNING:  Sappy commentary below.  Can’t help it.  Apologies in advance.

Getting Married

Spokanite_Logo_vertical-blackI won’t rehash how this went down (there is an entire site dedicated to that), but I do want to say how great it turned out.  We took a big risk and attempted something really unique that could have fallen flat, but it turned out to be one of the most fun, interesting (read: hard) and rewarding adventures we have ever undertaken.  We were able to see over 300 people in 10 cities (we wouldn’t have seen 10% of this if we had a traditional wedding in one place) and we got to visit many our favorite places.  A huge thanks to everyone who turned out and especially those that helped along the way.

Moving Overseas (Again)

If you know us at all, you know that living overseas and international travel have become part of our joint personality.  2010-09-06 Lucerne, Switzerland 048I personally started out as a stereotypical American who didn’t get a passport until age 26.  I’m now at 45 countries and counting (and Sonya is also over 40 countries).

Moving to Basel has been just as radical as moving to Hong Kong in many ways.  A much smaller city (Hong Kong has roughly the same population of the country of Switzerland), a much slower pace, and a bigger language barrier have all been interesting changes but we love it so far.  Basel has the culture and activity of a much larger city (e.g. our museum pass covers 140 museums in the area) and I look forward to really learning German in 2011.

Two last comments:  First, if you haven’t lived overseas and you get the chance, DO IT.  Visiting in not enough.  It doesn’t really matter where, just that you get a new perspective and engage in another culture.  It is life altering in so many positive ways.  Second, come visit us!  We have a room for you at the Hylton Basel.


2010-12-05 Basel, Switzerland - Drake Hylton 006This post has been sappy enough already so I will spare you most of the “becoming a parent has changed my life” garbage (even though it has).  What I really want to do is thank my parents and my wife and say “wow.”

First, my parents.  I just want to get it in print for the world to see that I love you and appreciate everything you did in raising me and making me who I am.  I wish you were a fly on the wall every time I speak about my childhood.  I have nothing bad to say about how I was raised (at all), and I find out with every conversation I have how rare this is.  I hope I am capable of giving my children a similar experience.  Thank you.

2010-12-26 Basel, Switzerland - Christmas 005Second, my wife Sonya.  If you know her well, (as I do) you probably were shocked to find out she was pregnant.  You might have wondered how she could possibly go through labor and childbirth given her dramatic intolerance of pain [her reaction to stubbing her toe on a bedpost conjures images of a scene in a war film (“go on without me” or “save yourself”)].  And things that cause her to lose sleep – yikes.  I wondered the same.  In fact, I was more nervous about her experience than I was about becoming a parent (mostly because the latter was impossible to predict).

2010-12-07 Basel, Switzerland - Drake Hylton 002Let me just say how blown away I have been by her ability to step up to the task of parenthood.  Her labor was mild compared to most, but she handled it like a champ.  I was really expecting a sitcom-like experience with her cursing at me and screaming, but even before the epidural she was cool as could be and handled it like a rock star.  Breastfeeding has been better than expected but still difficult and she again has handled it like a seasoned veteran.  Simply, she has become a bit of a hero to me.  Sonya, I love you.

2010-12-07 Basel, Switzerland - Drake Nicholas Hylton 049

Stop already, would you

2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 017OK, enough sentimental garbage.  Let’s get on to 2011 and kick some serious arsch.  It is going to be busy, busy, busy but hopefully very rewarding.  Exploring Europe, growing two companies, learning German and becoming an expert parent.  Sounds simple.

Happy New Year!

Robert Hylton

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