It was a year of many things & with many faces:
A Year of Travel
I opened the year in Britain and closed it in Egypt.
In between i went to Germany, Japan, France, Belgium, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia & Singapore; three continents & multiple time zones. So many beautiful places, lovely people & great memories.
I also moved from Asia to Europe, only to travel back to Asia again for 3 months.
My carbon footprint must be huge...
A Year of Change
This year i made a monumental leap of faith - giving up pretty much everything I had for a man, The German. I moved half way round the world, giving up my job, my home & my comfortable life.
Do i regret moving? Not for a moment.
Has it been challenging? Yes, but perhaps that was what i needed. Life in Japan didn't really present many big challenges, or not as major as living here.
Do i miss Japan? Constantly. I miss beers on the train home with Ian; I miss girly Friday nights with Lala & Aya; I miss my Saturday night Fat Mam dates with J-dad; I miss walking into Blue Corn knowing that I'd know someone there to chat with; I miss speaking Japanese; I miss my J-friends. But most of all, I miss Michael & Shingo - my family in Japan, my anchors.
But there are new faces now. My German family. My new German friends. And the wonderful reconnection with a friend from high school in Japan (also British, also with a German partner and, funnily, also called Helen) And not to mention being able to go & see my parents for a weekend.
A Year of Challenge
The year opened with the tail-end of the TB saga; the last two months of my course of antibiotics. I am happy to report that everything is still A-OK; no TB & my liver is back to normal again.
Lesson Learnt: never underestimate the power of antibiotics
I also managed to fracture a bone in my face which, unsurprisingly, scared the crap out of me. More surprisingly though, was the fact that it was the first bone i have (knowingly) fractured.
Lesson Learnt: don't drink lots on an empty stomach whilst jet-lagged & then try & sit on a bar stool
I moved home from Japan to Germany. For 12 years, i had lived in the same flat & had managed to collect a hideous amount of stuff (aka crap). I had to reduce 12 years into 2 cubic metres. It was a challenge, especially negotiating it all & arranging everything all by myself. But i did it.
Lesson Learnt: start sorting & throwing things out at least 6 months before moving
I overcame my fear of water & got my Open Water Diver Licence. I failed the first time, but i didn't give up & tried again more slowly. I am still nervous of the ocean, but now it is a healthy respectful fear rather than a crippling 'i-will-not-go-in-the-water-if-i-can't-touch-the-bottom' type of fear.
Lesson Learnt: Overcoming fears IS possible & remember to trust people when they tell you that you are doing a good job. And do it in baby steps, not forcing yourself too hard.
That was 2009. A huge year. Of course a lot more happened; some i don't want to write about here. And some things that happened aren't really my story to share, but 2009 really was a huge eventful chaotic year.
Let's hope that 2010 is less eventful, calmer but just as challenging.