30 December 2017

Remembering 2017

As a teacher I find that the "real" end of the year is in July when the academic year finishes. That is when I truly get to sit back and take stock of the year that has passed and I start making plans for the next one and get to wind down during the amazing summer holidays. However nobody can escape the Happy New Year messages and resolutions being taken up all around. I have given up on resolutions fr now, I just want to be a good person and lead a good and possibly healthy and stress-free life, doing the best I can in every way.

However, earlier this week I visited London with a friend whom I have not seen for more than three years. We walked through cold and sleeting London for three hours before he got on a bus that would take him back home. After that, having been chilled to the bone, I have set up base camp at a nearby pub. It took a cappuccino, fried vegetarian breakfast and a cup of mulled wine to warm me up, but whilst sitting there, people watching and sipping the hot yummy drinks, I started thinking about this year and the year to come. Now that I am wrapped up warm and sipping hot peppermint and nettle tea at home, I would like to share my thoughts with you.

This was the year in which we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We cooked, had takeaways and ate out. I baked savoury treats for the Macmillan Coffee Morning. Whilst we relaxed at home we watched a lot of telly, explored the lure of virtual reality, I knitted blankets and baby booties, babysat and cuddled my niece, we planted potatoes and shared meals together and video chatted with my friends and family via Skype and Facebook messenger.

Educating my niece. We fed the plush tortoise some dandelions.

It was adventurous, too. I camped out with my students as a part of Duke of Edinburgh awards, barbecued, met some old colleagues and spotted badgers during a night time walk. I tried scuba diving in Woking pool and we took a trip to Lulworth Cove in Dorset.

Spring bluebells in a forest in Surrey Hills

In summer I took the almost three weeks long trip to Greece on my own and fulfilled a lifelong dream of working with marine animals whilst I tagged loggerhead turtles with other volunteers. I missed my home and husband a lot and it made me realise not only where my roots are and where I belong but also how much I love where I am right now and what I do. It was a very good feeling.

Having lunch in the shallows on the last day of my volunteering n Greece.

I got out more. I foraged for blackberries, harvested bits and pieces from the garden, took our tortoise Rocket for outdoor adventures, saw Reggie Dabbs talk to my students, went to a food and drink festival and Ocean Film Festival.

The last of our beans, picked just two weeks before Christmas.

I have learned how to take better pictures and gave pottery classes a go.

I have tried and failed to go off my anxiety medicine, but on the other hand with the support of everyone around me I got well enough to overcome my anxiety and found a new dentist (and he is awesome!) and GP (she is awesome, too!) and even started taking driving lessons (my instructor is awesome too, I am starting to realise how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many amazing people) and I feel more connected to the world than ever before. I contacted some old friends and uni classmates hoping to rekindle our friendships and catch up on everything they have been doing.

Yes, there were rough patches but that is just life. I am hoping that the year ahead is going to be equally amazing, if not better. Driving, growing food for us all on the allotment, making more time for friends and family and who knows - maybe finally finding and buying a home of our dreams. I am sure the year ahead will be full of surprises and I am glad that I have people like you to share them all with.

I hope your old year was lovely and you made a lot of memories you will treasure and that the new one will be full of opportunities to fulfil your dreams.

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