Thanks for the memories

So, it’s that time again. I can hardly believe that the year is over but then, that’s what everyone says. I know I’ve already done my Christmas Countdown of things that I’ve been thankful for this year, but I’m still going to do a retrospective. 2013 was a funny one – mostly good, if challenging at times. I’ve had a blast.

It’s been a year now since I left my beloved Sydney, and indeed a year since I’ve set foot there. At the time the decision to come back to London felt like it could blow up in my face at any second. So rash and ridiculous. But I thought it was the right thing for me and I’m happy to say I was right! Best decision I could have made. And I got back in time to go on a work trip to Frankfurt and learn the hard way that flying while hungover is fun for no one. I remember January really well, which seems quite weird because everything else is a bit of a blur except for V’s karaoke birthday partay in February, Budapest with Abbi in March and the Borough karaoke incident in April. Oh, and it randomly snowed in April. I remember being outraged. I sustained many a burn wound over this time period as well. I’m pretty skilled at that.

May/June saw me visit the parentals in Perth, their new home, and I found to my delight I actually really liked it there. Convenient, as it’ll be my new home in 12 days. Upon my return to London, I found it extremely lush and overgrown and summery – FINALLY. Many a book was read in St James’s Park and Victoria Tower Gardens during many a sunny day. It was around this time that the boys started going to casinos and I inevitably ended up tagging along to cause a scene and drag them away from black jack tables. It was also around this time that I realised that my work friends were not just work friends but actual proper friends who make my life a thousand times better.

We got new upstairs neighbours in July who decided to introduce themselves by flooding our kitchen. It’s a real testament to what an adult I am that I did not just run away to wait for the flatmate to turn up and deal with it. We did not have lights for a bit after that, but we did have craft beers to drink, so everything kind of worked out ok. Abbi and I went on a cupcake walking tour and ate many delicious things, and I also went out a lot, drank a load of jaegerbombs, nearly lost my phone and made questionable life choices.

Things got absolutely mental during the last month of summer. I went to Birmingham to cover the international quilt festival, headed up to Edinburgh for Fringe and attended the End of the Road festival in Salisbury. It was a full on month and I loved every second of it. In September, I had to go vote and received a beer voucher from the Walkabout for my trouble – summed up Australia pretty well, I thought. I also had a bit of a meltdown and started unraveling around the seams. BUT it is also the month I finally got my hair cut. Woo, short hair! And I finished Sons of Anarchy season 3, which I only mention because it has possibly one of the most satisfying season finales of a show ever. The flatmate had introduced me to Cowboy Bebop and I fell completely in love with it. He also acquired a new table top game called Descent that we started playing and adoring – we’re halfway through a game as I type this. AND because the boys at work were scouting new date locations, we discovered a new cocktail bar that I also fell completely in love with and would have moved into, if they’d let me.

Actually, September was a pretty fraught month. We went out almost every night after work for the last two weeks and completely ruined ourselves for ages afterwards. Everything fell to pieces a little bit. Maybe it was because Breaking Bad finished. OH GOD, BREAKING BAD. Ahem. I was working on a ridiculously OTT project at work which didn’t help my general state of emotional turmoil. And I rolled my ankle which has been consistently effed ever since. But hey, whatever! Fun! The angsty vibes continued into October but Kat was here, and then Lizzie came to visit and we went to Brighton. I introduced her to the aforementioned cocktail bar where I tried some questionable cocktails like the Bacon & Egg. Later in the month I received a wonderful tour of Oxford from the flatmate, complete with many pints in quaint, homely pubs. We capped off the experience by returning to London for a birthday party on the Thames. October was the month of the hurricane, which mainly involved me sitting in an empty office contemplating my own mortality as a crane across the road threatened to fall over. It was also the month I became a published academic. And the month I was told that my visa wasn’t going to be renewed. The grand finale was, of course, my Halloween party. The first house party I’ve ever had. And the last house party I’ll ever have. It was both really fun and really awful, for reason that I will not divulge. A wonderful, fun disaster. At least it was memorable!

The year’s last hurrah involved a lot of gigs in short succession, a box from home filled with chocolate and festive cheer. V and I went to watch the Carnaby Street lights being turned on, followed by watching our friend’s really awesome band play the Water Rats. Kat was back in town, always fun, and I watched the All Blacks beat England in a lovely kiwi pub. There was a lot more drinking. I felt utterly loved on my birthday and, yes, there was more karaoke. Went to see Mojo with V and utterly loved it. By then festive fever had well and truly taken hold so there was much decorating in the office and perhaps too many Christmas carols. And oh, so many Christmas parties, lunches and secret santa gift exchanges. So many. All lovely though. Finishing it all off was Lizzie staying for Christmas which involved a blur of markets, a zoo visit, a Lord of the Rings marathon and Coriolanus.

And that brings us to the present, where in a couple of hours I’ll head off to St James’s Park to watch the fireworks over Horse Guards Parade. I have so many wonderful memories of this year and I am so thankful for all the people in my life. When I first moved back in January, I never thought I’d still be here so late in the game – I certainly didn’t think I’d still be in this same flat. But I am so, so incredibly glad that I am. I am going to miss everything about my life here so much but I hope that I’ll be able to carry the friendships I’ve made with me.

Thanks for the memories. I hope 2014 will be just as good to me.

Tis the season

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve had a wonderfully manic festive season that’s just reinforced how lucky I’ve been this year to have the family and friends that I do. I’m about to combust with all my festive cheer. Lizzie has braved the psychotic weather to come down to ol London town so we can have a nice Aussie Christmas together…barbie on Westminster bridge, anyone?