Tag Archives: st albans

Hello, 2014.

6 Jan

Wow, 2014. I feel like the last year went whizzing by in the blink of an eye. My 2013 was split into distinct little chunks, which helped it go faster. Until the end of March I was in South Korea and Japan. Between April and September I was living in a tiny village near Oxford. From September until today I’ve been living with friends in St Albans and commuting into London. I’ve also had three different jobs, been in four different countries, and dealt with a lot of firsts – first time living in a village, first time buying a car, and first time watching a grown man eat a watermelon without using his hands (don’t ask) to name just a few.

I bleached my hair and rocked a fringe in 2013. Like you cared.

It was an unsettled year, I suppose. I haven’t felt quite like myself for a lot of it. It made me quite nostalgic for my time in South Korea, where I knew how I fit in. That might seem odd, but getting back the huge number of choices and possibilities I’d missed when I was away actually turned out to be a bit overwhelming.

Still, it’s gone now and 2014 is here and looking more settled already. I have a new full time job, and soon I’ll be moving into London (and saying goodbye to suburban commuter trains! Thank God!). I also have a few aspirations for the new year. I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I know they get a bad rap but I have no clue why – why should people setting goals for a new year be a thing worthy of derision, even if they don’t keep them? Goals should be reassessed, anyway, in my opinion. I tend to look at them again in the summer around my birthday and adjust them. Self-improvement is always a good thing!

Last year’s resolutions were 1) to see more live music and 2) to learn a new skill. I saw four or five bands live this year, some of which were bands I really love and wanted to see. I also went to Download Festival again and rocked out to some great metal legends. Success! I also started taking ukulele lessons – my repertoire at present includes Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again and, er, Moon River. Oh, and Slade’s Merry Christmas Everyone. Second resolution down!

See – you CAN keep resolutions! Admittedly there were definitely more of them that I don’t remember because I didn’t keep them. Shh. Let’s move on to this year’s:

1) Read more books. I use Goodreads to log my reading, and the site revealed to me that I had only read 12 books last year. That seems quite pathetic, especially since I know I read most of those in the summer when I was reading on my lunch break, after work in the garden, and for hours at weekends. I like to read in the sunshine (I’m quite cold-blooded and I don’t do well in winter in general) but that’s really no excuse. My aim for this year then is modest – 24 books. I’ll aim to double last year’s total, and read more before bed and instead of watching TV.

2) Knit more and learn to crochet. This one kind of contradicts the first resolution since I can’t read and knit at the same time. I love TV – I think that good TV is an art form that’s as worthy of my time as reading. Plus I can knit whilst I watch TV. I aim to try to incorporate some audio books which I can knit to, and not allow myself to watch TV idly – without performing another task at the same time. I also want to learn to crochet which will count as this year’s new skill!

3) Write more. I struggle with this because it feels like work sometimes to sit at the computer and create. I used to love it, so I don’t know where this lack of motivation has come from. When I was a teenager I wrote with every spare minute. That was probably before the advent of all the TV streaming sites – perhaps I need to be limited my TV intake to achieve this one. But then that contradicts my other resolution! I think I’m going to be a bit more realistic and try to write for one full hour a week and see if I can wean myself back on to it. I might also try varying projects – a novel seems like a mamoth task, but if I intersperse that with shorter fiction projects and blog posts then I might be in with a chance of keeping this one!

4) Run a 10k. I plan to run the Bupa 10k this May. As someone who is not a born mover (I’m a world class sitter though) this will take the most will power. However I have done some regular running before and started to enjoy it. I also noticed how good it was for my general well being too, so I really need to get back into it. I figured that committing to a race would be a good way to motivate myself – I’ll be so ashamed if I can’t do it!

Sadly "hang out with cute dogs and eat cake" is not one of my resolutions. Maybe it should be?

Sadly “hang out with cute dogs and eat cake” is not one of my resolutions. Maybe it should be?

That’s plenty I think. Two “do more things” and two “achieve new things”! On top of that I want to keep up my ukulele playing which is turning out to be really fun and relatively easy compared to other instruments I’ve tried to learn. Although I suppose there is some danger that with knitting and the ukulele I may become so twee I explode.

So how about you? Any resolutions or goals for the new year?


Introducing my quarter-life crisis

21 Oct
Enjoying a British summer at the seaside!

Enjoying a British summer at the seaside!

I’ve started this blog to document what I’m calling my quarter-life crisis, or my mid-twenties crisis, or the year I decided to sabotage myself and do a lot of strange things on the spur of the moment.

Perhaps some background:

Towards the end of 2010, I was living in a flat in Bethnal Green, East London. I’d worked as a charity fundraiser for nearly two years and I loved my job. I was pretty busy though, and really looking forward to a two week break at Christmas to relax and recharge.

Unfortunately Christmas arrived and I had swine flu. I spent my break feeling like I was going to die, mostly in bed, and feeling very stressed and tearful. I realised that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue doing the same sort of work all my life, and that I wanted to try some different things. I also realised that living in London was tiring me out. It was one of those “is this it?” moments. I felt like I was teetering on the brink of a big spiral of depression. That didn’t really appeal…

Then one night as I slumped in front of the TV in my parents house, during the few hours a day I managed to force myself out of bed, my dad innocently said, “You know, it’s a pity you can’t take more time off, because I was thinking of going to Malaysia for a month or so once this job in the UAE finishes, and it would be fun if you could join me.”

Picture me, snotty and flushed, swaddled in hoodies and dressing gowns, feeling stressed and burnt out. On one shoulder, the sensible angel saying You can’t take any time off! You have to work and pay rent and fall into the spiral of depression! Remember the spiral! and on the other shoulder, the impulsive devil saying Yeah, spiral. OR you could quit, and go to Malaysia for a month, and the figure something out after that?

I’ve never been very sensible. A plan started to formulate, that started as a way to make myself sound less mad to friends and family, and grew into a very attractive exit plan from my life. I ultimately decided to shake things up by living and working abroad for a year after my initial trip to Malaysia. My dad travels a lot for work and I looked at him and thought, I want some of that. I just had to decide what and where.

I have a lovely coconut, in Malaysia. Unfortunately not a bunch.

I have a lovely coconut, in Malaysia. Unfortunately not a bunch.

The TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) immediately jumped to mind. I studied English at university and I’d always toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out a possible new career path whilst getting to live and work abroad. It was almost a sane plan.

I got back to London after Christmas and quit my job, and found someone to take on my room in my flat. I went on a month long intensive TEFL course and qualified to teach English as a foreign language. I moved out of London and back in with my parents to save some money. I spent over a month in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia with my dad, and later my brother too. I spent the summer lazing around St Albans, looking for work abroad and temping. I had never felt so relaxed in my entire life.

Me & Tom post rainforest

Me and Tom (my brother) after a stroll in the rainforest. Rainforests are hard.

That pretty much brings us up to date. I’m now getting my visa documents together, with the intention of starting with the EPIK program to teach in public schools in Korea for a year, leaving in February. In the mean time I am temping, learning as much as I can about Korea, trying to get my documents together, and preparing myself for what I hope will be a big adventure!

I’ve started this blog to document my year, and the build up to it. Partly for me to have a record, partly for friends and family to see what I’m up to and keep in touch. I’m both excited, and terrified. Let the countdown commence!


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