Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Things I Did In 2017

Ah, 2017. The global shit-storm made a nice contrast with my personal life which only got better as the year went on. I really struggle with remembering what I've actually done with my time, but one of the advantages of this blog is that it serves as a record of my thoughts, feelings and activities, which is partly why I might try and include more personal posts in 2018. For now, I wanted to reflect on some of the best times in 2017. I'll admit this is more for me than you, but I hope you'll indulge me.

Hot air balloon landing on the Dordogne, La Roque Gageac

Getting outside

I spent more time than ever just outside in 2017. I get caught in the internet black hole pretty easily, but living near a park and then moving in with my boyfriend has really helped things. When there was a park across the road, whenever I was feeling low or stifled I could go for a wander amongst the trees and would always feel my spirits lift. Now that I live in the city centre that's a little harder, but luckily my boyfriend and I are both prone to cabin fever (is that really lucky?) if we stay in too much, meaning that at least once a week we tend to go for a walk, either in the city at night or out to some of the greener spaces on weekend mornings. It really makes a difference for both of us, and just breathing in the fresh air and taking a moment to take notice of the world around us is one of our favourite things to do. We went on a few shorter trips to more rural areas throughout the year, such as Hebden Bridge in February and Haigh Hall in December. I want to do more of these day trips in 2018, but since I also want to do a few short city breaks they may not end up being a priority. 

Hebden Bridge in February

Travel with family

This wasn't something I set out to do, but travelling with family was something I did a fair amount of in 2017, especially with my brother. In May, I went to a tiny village in France with my extended family who I get along really well with. It was four days of excellent food, a little too much wine and drinking vodka while swimming in the Dordogne. It was a pretty fantastic time and I really want to go again. My brother and I also visited our family in Scotland in July and December, which is always a riot of card games, Pictionary and long walks on a beach with a fat dog.

The bridge over the Dordogne near Sarlat, France

Don't drink and swim folks
Don't drink and swim, folks

One thing that I almost can't believe happened is my brother moved to Japan for a year. I went with him to help smooth the transition, leaving for Osaka on the 31st of August. The ten days we spent there mostly consisted of my being ill, confusing locals with my patchy Japanese and general wonderment at how incredible a country Japan is. For all that Japan and visiting a new continent was amazing, it was made better for being with my brother. He's my best friend and we get along like a house on fire. I haven't seen him since I waved him off in Namba station, save for a hilarious Skype call on Christmas Day. One of the best days of the trip was when we were both quite ill and had to stay in the room all day, doing nothing but eat takeaway noodles and watch Japanese game shows without subtitles. We laughed more than ever despite our coughs and slight fevers, and we got very excited when an anime we recognised came on and we actually understood what was going on. I would love to go back this year before he leaves, but I'm not sure if it's financially feasible. We'll see!

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Moving in

October was a pretty big month for me as I moved to the city centre with my boyfriend. It hadn't even been a year when we moved, but having been friends for about ten years it feels like it's been a lot longer. I already had a pretty good idea what I was in for, although I think he's been surprised by a few things, such as the fact that I'm shocking at washing up, and we've had discussions about the correct way in which to hang clothes on an airer (we have very different systems but clearly mine is better) but in general I'm the happiest I've been since I became an adult. 

The Dordogne from La Roque Gageac

Made friends

This was the one thing I really wanted to do in 2017. I don't have many friends in Manchester, and moving back to my Mum's in the sticks to cry for six months in 2016 didn't help with maintaining the few connections I did have. Through reconnecting with my boyfriend I've made loads of new friends, but I really wanted to make some proper friends of my own in a way I haven't since I was at school. I got to know a girl at work and then became friends with another friend of hers. These two girls really made my 2017 wonderful, and I really hope that we can become even better friends. I'm immensely grateful to have them both in my life.

Dotonbori at night, Osaka
2017 was all about making connections; whether it was reconnecting with nature and myself while living alone again, spending time with extended family or really trying hard and making friends, the year was about people and places and the connections I made with them. I've really enjoyed writing this so I'll likely do something similarly retrospective in a year's time. That's all for now!

Stalk me!

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