Saturday, 28 December 2013

A year in review

Last year I never got around to making a year round up post, which was a massive shame as I'd had so many awesome experiences that year; travelling almost every month in fact! Recently I've been reflecting on this past year. As with each December, the past 12 months seem to have absolutely flown by. My initial thoughts are that I haven't been as adventurous, that returning to the UK  has to somehow mean that I'm not going to have explored as much. But really - I've made sure I've done exactly that. The only difference is that I'm doing that in a place that's completely familiar to me - and yet I've found so many places that I had previously never known about. Nicola and I have made sure to get out and about as much as possible, taking walking tours of Clerkenwell, Canary Wharf and a Jack the Ripper tour, enjoying fish and chips and 2p machines in Southend, geeking out at the Florence Nightingale museum - and we have a Christmas trip to Kew gardens coming up as I write this!

I've made two amazing friends in Daliah and Samantha, girls I hadn't even met this time last year. Since meeting them in January I've been to Italy with them both, had the best time visiting Samantha in Abu Dhabi and am looking forward to showing her a little bit of Essex this Christmas!

This year I completed the (Muddy) Race for Life. Vicky, Hannah and I got through the 5k through sheer determination and by encouraging each other not to give up. It was an achievement that I'm very proud of, and hope to repeat in the new year as well. We optimistically vowed to make it a 10k in 2014 but I think it's more realistic to stick with 5k, especially as I haven't really been out running since the race back in October!

I've been working for 12 months in a job that allows me to go on free trips around London and England, meet students all with very different and interesting stories, and live in the centre of London free (don't be too jealous - I have to share the laundry with said students too...)

Why then, since I've not really changed how much I like to explore or experience the place I live in, do I feel like in 2013 I've been more boring than 2012? Am I just projecting an assumption that home isn't as exciting as away? I do so many of the same things here - bog standard visits to the supermarket and gym - but doing even normal stuff abroad feels daring I suppose...

Looking over the last 12 months, and thinking about the decisions I've make for the future; studying for my MA in TESOL and returning to teaching, looking for more permanency in London, I'm fairly happy with where I am right now. Sometimes that feels like a hard thing to admit, should I be striving for something more? Shouldn't I be worrying more about my future? I don't know about that, all I do know is that, despite how it might initially feel, looking back at 2013, I think I made the most of the year.

So here is my year in photos:

Beginning, as we always do in January,


with snowy days in London, making two new friends; Samantha and Daliah.


and taking a Boris bike for a spin for the first time!

My favourite month, February was special because,

I had an amazing birthday surprise at the OXO tower, saw the ill-fated Viva Forever musical (it's been cancelled now),
and took my first ever trip to Scotland with my mum. Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's seat.

During March,


I enjoyed the benefits of being in the land of ovens again.


April was all about




In May,


gorgeous weather really helped on trips with the students to Arundel and Brighton.


June,


a month where I was able to enjoy cocktails with my sister-in-law to be!


In July,


I enjoyed the benefits of having a brother who lives in Barcelona!


One beautiful day in August,


Nicola and I spent the day in Southend.


and walked along the world's longest pier.

Whilst on another horrible day, 


Manchester made our BBQ a wash out whilst, I bid a fond farewell to Chelsea. Knowing it wouldn't be long before I saw her again (see November!)


In September

I welcomed a new class of students to London, and we headed off on walking tours along the Thames, 



 showed them a bunch of rocks in the middle of nowhere,


and a beautiful cathedral in Salisbury!

October brought


A discovery in London. Tucked down a side street, this forgotten cemetary to London's outcast dead - initially for 'single women' or the prostitutes of the 16th century.



and not looking nearly as muddy, post race, as the other two at the Race for Life!


November saw me,







 and with Samantha in the desert of the UAE.

And finally in December:




I tried to get all festive at Lincoln Christmas Market
 

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