2013: Things I did and things I learned

I am a bad blogger… I like to take long interludes between blogs just to make sure I have enough things to write about, and even now, I wonder whether what I am writing is of any interest. We will soon find out.

Since my last post on my trip to Edinburgh, I’ve done some stuff.

1. Christmas. 

My mum and cousin arrived just before Christmas and I think they were slightly shocked at just how terrible the weather is, coming from NZ and Australia. I think I am still a little shocked – you can see why people are always talking about the weather, because it really does impact on your ability to do ANYTHING. Mum arrived Christmas Eve, and we were lucky to be able to get her home, then get to our grandparents the next day, what with all the flooding and crazy winds.

Christmas was a family affair at my grandparents. It was  strange to be spending Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere, I am used to sunshine and swimming and exciting salads, but over here its all about wrapping up warm, cooking the heartiest meal you could possibly imagine, and then perhaps a brisk walk all rugged up before it gets dark. It was different, but it was lovely. And I have to say, all the Christmas lights, mince pies and Santa himself make a bit more sense over here, in the cold. Lets face it, Kiwi Santa is a bit creepy, all half naked and stuff.

2. We went on holiday.

After a few days to recover from general excitement and excess consumption, we drove to Kent where we stayed for a week at a Holiday Property Bond place, called Sibton Park . There were spreadsheets for who was cooking what and when, because my family has awkward food intolerances and difficulties. Gluten free, allergic to fish, dairy free, sugar free, everything free.. which would make things difficult if we didn’t have some culinary queens and microsoft excel.

Despite the weather we had a fab time – we hired bikes, we did a day trip on the Channel Tunnel to Calais where we got absolutely bucketed on and ate omelettes the size of our heads, we went to Dover Castle and got involved in some English history, we did synchronised swimming in the pool, we played musical chairs, and obviously we ate and drank a vast amount of between the 16 of us. I think there were 16 of us, strangers probably could have joined in and we might not have noticed.

3. 2014 started.

Ahhhhh, how did this happen without me preparing for it? I had not made a New Years Resolution, I had not quite achieved all the things I said I was going to do last year. But I do know I did a lot of things that I haven’t done before, and learnt some useful and un-useful(?) things.

  • I got on a big ol’ aeroplane and went somewhere far far away all on my lonesome. I learnt that once you get on the plane, you will probably stop weeping about missing your mummy and your dog and just get really freakin’ excited.
  • I went to Ireland, did a work exchange and met some pretty groovy people. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be using the word ‘groovy’ if it weren’t for one of those people. *cough*ABBY*cough*. I also learnt how to make real good scones and how to understand a very strong, slurred Irish accent, that you don’t necessarily have to shower every day and that its ok to need some Rosie time.
  • I trooped around Europe with some of my gal pals, visiting a whole lot of cities that I wasn’t sure I would ever get to, and some I have been to before… Dublin, Nice, Marseille, Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels,  Prague, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and of course, London. I learnt that there are many more types of beer in the world than you could possibly imagine, that people like it when you try and speak their language, no matter how poorly, that Oktoberfest doesn’t do gluten free, that Amsterdam prioritises cycling over any other form of transport and god help you if you are a pedestrian in the cycle footpath. I also learnt that people can be really gross and you should always take earplugs.
  • I spent lots of moneys. I learned that there are different ways to travel- you can eat out, take the nice train, drink in bars and stay in the more expensive hostel. OR, you can buy cheap french wine and brie in the supermarket, eat dinner on the beach, hitchhike or take 8 hour bus trips for 8 euro and sleep in weird apartment hostels run by boys who look like your younger brother but who will go out of their way to make sure you have a good time, and might even take you to a weird underground jazz bar and introduce you to all his friends. That was a long sentence. But trust me, sometimes its all you want to stay in a hotel (which we did in Prague for 5 days, trying to recover from the flu and the partytime) or go to a bar and meet a table full of Danish policemen, sampling all of the local beers as you go. Thats not a bad thing at all. You’ve just got to pace yourself, otherwise you get halfway through and think, shit, how am I getting home? That totes didn’t happen to me though, we were super sensible. ..
  • I spent quality time with my family. I learned that they are all awesome in their own little way, and that’s one of the main reasons I came over here.

So all in all I would say 2013 was a pretty successful year, and all I can hope for 2014 is that its just as interesting! Two places I would love to visit this year are Greece and Italy, I want to cycle the Camino de Santiago, I want to do yoga somewhere awesome, and I would quite like to get a little bit closer to figuring out my general life purpose. I don’t want much, really….

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One thought on “2013: Things I did and things I learned

  1. Amazing blog! I would definitely recommend Italy and Greece (and while you’re at it, you can add Turkey to the list since it is easily reachable from Turkey), it really surprised me how non-expensive those countries were compared to what I spent in Germany and France!

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