Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger Rachel who wrote a recap of her family’s year, I thought I’d do the same. I can’t help but feel that it was a really bad year for us, more so for me perhaps than my hubster as it was metaphorically speaking very wintery, but as he reminds me, there were some gems to be celebrated and lots of great stuff came out of the most painful of experiences. So here goes…
We greeted the new year with friends and a few million others atop the Waterloo Bridge with a stunning front row view of the London fireworks. Not much to say about that but it was a good few hours hanging out and welcoming in all that we couldn’t possibly foresee.
The first of the year had me working as Team Manager for SPEAK, a campaigns and prayer network. While I have to be honest and say that it was one of the most trying things I’ve ever done employment-wise, I learned so much and met some inspiring and beautiful people in the process and worked with a fantastic team campaigning for corporate accountability and to stop UK public funds going towards the international arms trade. I was in the throes of coordinating the planning of the annual network gathering to happen in February and things were pretty intense all around.
While much of this tiring month work-wise was spent still preparing for the gathering to occur at the end of February, there was a wee bit of living done outside of work hours.
Valentine’s Day was a great opportunity to ‘show the love’ to our neighours (didn’t Jesus say something about that?) so we wrapped some love up in chocolate chunks and cookie dough. The response to our little offering of unconditional vegan love was amazing.
After Valentine’s Day and a heart-burning, stomach-turning binge on very nice steaks, Rob turned to me and said ‘I think we should become vegetarians’. While it sounds hypocritical to say, I had been waiting to hear those words for some time, always knowing I’d go back to being vegetarian and that in my heart it’s the right thing to do. I can’t say we’ve been perfect at it, but we do our best and enjoy it.
We celebrated with Rob’s best man Simon as he was married and sadly we lost a friend Paul to a heart attack. He had cooked the meal for our wedding party at our rehearsal and driven the gals, my mom and myself to the church and the new Mr and Mrs back home at the end of the day. He was a great person to have called a friend.
Finally, the SPEAK team and crew of volunteers pulled off what was dubbed the best gathering in years. It was pure exhaustion, highlighted by driving fines, some tears, lots of creativity, people chopping potatoes in the middle of the main room, and finished off with a few of us hiding away drinking what was left of the communion wine and laughing heartily.
I think I likely spent the month following the conference sleeping or in some semi-conscious state. Around this time I decided to leave the Network Support Team on a relatively high note and handed in my lengthy notice. My heart really ached to get back into community work on a local scale and I preferred to carve out more time for life at the expense of money so the hubster and I agreed I’d start working part-time.
Rob and I had a nice get-away to Hastings for a weekend by the seaside. We discovered awesome vintage and secondhand shopping that has changed our lives… well, nearly.
Let’s not forget that Japan experienced terrible earthquakes and tsunamis during this month with horrible loss of life.
I ventured into the realm of the fashionably unemployed in the middle of a terrible economic downturn having finished up my role with SPEAK. Boy was I tired. The stress of a few years’ near-burnout-experiences really caught up with me. Fortunately I did have some space at this time as we headed Stateside for some East Coast visits.
We spent Easter with Rob’s family and some time with mine in North Carolina. True to my own nature, I was all go and little rest, but it was a great time catching up with people including my best friend since 8th grade and her family (I’d never met her kids!). We also were in New Jersey and in NYC which gave me the perfect opportunity to drive through the city (thanks to a hubster with an expired license).
May brought glad tidings of employment and alternative currency. I was hired for a part time role in Haringey with the Timebank. Unfortunately I had about four weeks until I actually would start the job and plenty of time to fill so I spent most of it walking around Hackney and other parts of London and doing crafty projects and cooking. Nice way to recuperate!
Started work, tried to do community work, was just too tired so didn’t. So what did I do? Went to see friends perform at the English National Opera in their community choir, hosted Shai Hulud, blogged a lot (relatively speaking), asked where summer was and then applauded it’s sudden arrival.
Went on a British wine tasting adventure, explored satisfaction and saw this pig
Ah yes, and discovered we were pregnant.
and thus began the summer of insanity…
Rob returned from a nice few days in Germany to a fiery London and a stressed out Inked Eskimo. Riots had hit, flats were pulled out from under us and we had little to no time to find someplace to live. I entered my mid-30s technically speaking and we looked forward to meeting the growing ‘blueberry’ nesting in me. We moved out of our flat, bid farewell (contextually speaking) to our flatmate, and took up residence at the Greenbelt Festival, my second time being homeless at this gathering.
The small dose of joy we experienced (well small in actual size but truly great in the context of even the most difficult experiences of the year) at the encapsulated arrival of Blueberry was dashed as we discovered the little fellow’s heart had stopped after a few weeks time. This was probably the most mournful thing I’d ever gone through but I won’t allow the grief to overwhelm the elation of experiencing what will always be our first pregnancy. As I shared our story I was and still am completely gobsmacked at the response of others who’ve endured similar loss or who just rallied in sorrowful support.
Rob and I celebrated our third anniversary in Cornwall after a week of hosting his parents in London where we were house-sitting. We found the best flat we could’ve imagined, aside from wishing it one additional bedroom, moved in and finally felt truly at home in London for the first time ever.
Nearly 10 months belated as a Christmas gift but just at the right time, a little black and white furball blew into our lives from Battersea animal shelter. Cosette the kitten arrived, 6 weeks old and ran off with our hearts which she has hidden somewhere still to be found.
We also Occupied London and celebrated Rob.
The little heart-thief Cosette pretty much carried all of November away with her, but we also gave thanks with some friends over cranberry and mushroom nut roast (thus discovering that actually nut roasts can be delicious) and cranberry margaritas. Days later, Rob was arrested for supporting striking union members at a local library during the largest strike action in a generation. We’re still in the throes of fighting that nonsense (holding my tongue here) and hope to get the all clear come mid-January. Stay tuned.
The events of late November admittedly had a knock on effect on our household. Thankfully we had already planned a get away to the seaside with friends which we stuck with. We celebrated a nice quiet Christmas together, glad for the peace, our home, those who have stuck with us, our kitten, and new experiences however painful they may have been.