So I just realised that I wrote this update but never sent it!!! Sorry!!! Now it’s time for another update already. Oops! So I’m sending this now and I’ll send another sometime soon :)
2009 has begun and you’ve not had an update from me so far this year. I’m starting the new year by reviewing the one past. So, what did I do with my 2008? Funny you should ask…
January saw me fly to Texas for some lovely Beijing reunions! First was the wedding of Daniel & Shareé, close friends I’ve known since my first year in China. Then on to College Station to spend time with more Beijing friends – Jay and Nate – and to make the reunion even more special, Carmen flew in from Michigan to join us for a few days. I also had a fringe cut into my hair – for the first time since I was about 6. While I was in Texas, my parents were on a boat travelling to Antartica! They spent nearly 4 weeks on the boat and came back armed with amazing stories and even more amazing photos.
February included a trip to the Water Cube – the Olympics aquatics centre. I went with a bunch of friends to see a session of the first competitive event held at the new venue – one of the “Good Luck Beijing” events. Very good luck, since almost none of the invited athletes were close to the Chinese in speed! My sister Natasha left Canberra for a small town on the other side of Australia to do her work experience (a required part of her engineering degree) – which put us in the same time zone for three months!
In March I finished up working at BICF (having spent 6 months as the interim youth director) and accepted a job in Langfang, Hebei province. This moved me an hour south-east of the city – into a lovely big apartment and away from all my friends.
April was a tough month – busy with youth camps and adjusting to my new job and way of life. I got used to spending weekends in Beijing and eventually bought a bag just for weekends – I keep a set of things in there most of the time so I don’t have to re-pack every weekend. I also had a girls night with Leesha and co, which included cutting a thicker sweep fringe and layers into my hair.
May was a lot more adjusting, a lot more weekends on couches in Beijing. I finished the month with an AWESOME birthday party (held a day early, hence it being in May). A whole bunch of friends came to visit my place in Langfang for the day and I made pavlova and chocolate cake to share with them. It was particularly special to me that I had that time with my friends, as many of them would soon leave China, permanent-like.
In June I took an unplanned trip to Australia – just long enough to get a visa! Due the upcoming Olympics, visa rules in China changed and as a result of changing jobs at this inopportune time I was required to get an emplyoment visa from a Chinese embassy in Australia before I could get my full work visa in Beijing. Sigh. The crazy hair changes of 2008 continued when I concluded my trip with a visit to Amanda’s hairdresser. I had more than a foot taken off the length of my hair and hilghights added. Very different! I loved it :)
Natasha graduated with honours from ANU (Australian National University) in July – and was already at work in a job that seemed to be a great fit. Half way through the month the hot water to the compound I live in was turned off – ostensibly due to the Olympics, but two days before it was supposed to come back on (in October) a notice went up saying there was a problem with the pipes and the company didn’t know when it would be back on. It was still off at the end of the year. I became a pro at taking cold showers, and I luxuriated in my weekend hot showers in Beijing. This was also the month that I got a two year old white cat named Mark! He’s beautiful :)
August was the month that my dear friends Sekedi & Fidelia got married – one wedding I didn’t have to leave the country for! It was also, of course, the month the Olympics came to Beijing. It didn’t affect me too much, other than to ingrain in me the habit of carrying my passport with me EVERYWHERE! I needed it every day to enter the compound I live in and I needed it every time I wanted to go to Beijing (at 2-3 different check points). I went to a morning session at the Birds’ Nest with people from work which was a lot of fun – even if we managed to go on the morning of a HUGE downpour! We got so wet that my handbag was still soaked the next afternoon.
In September it was the Paralympics’ turn, which I thoroughly enjoyed! The Opening Ceremony was fun and I went to a bunch of events with friends (tickets were cheap and easy to get). My two highlights were the Australia vs NZ Wheelchair Rugby match, and the medal matches of the Womens’ Seated Volleyball (加油中国!)
I did a bunch of travelling in October. First I went to Zhuhai (including a day trip to Macau) to visit with Jo & Bruce and celebrate their wedding. A week later I went to Vancouver (Canada) to be a bridesmaid for Jay & Becky, a wedding that also served as a reunion for many members of the Beijing Urban Tribe of 2006-2007. It was a wonderful, wonderful time – and also served as a turning point for me, as I finished grieving all the friends who’d left and finally felt ready to start pouring into new relationships in Beijing. I also got a new cat in October – a 1 year old kitten named Lanlan. He’s also very beautiful, and grew very quickly over the next few months!
In November I dyed my hair blonde! Really, really blonde. This happened to coincide with the Fall Youth Camps so that was a lot of fun. I think everyone was surprised at how much they liked it – constantly telling me not to change it. I’ve kept it longer than I’d planned, so maybe the pleading worked :)
In December I went back to Australia again, but this time it was a planned trip. I spent Christmas in Canberra with my parents and sisters (which was AWESOME). Carla had just been accepted into a great Masters program on the other side of Australia – so there was some extra celebration for that. After Christmas I went up to Sydney to be a bridesmaid in Trina & Adam’s wedding – but that was in January, a tale for a different year! But I have included some photos from the trip :)
Happy New Year (of the Ox!)
I ended 2008 reading:
“The Host” – Stephanie Meyer
“I Once Was Lost” – Don Everts and Doug Schaupp
“Blue Like Jazz” – Donald Miller
I started 2009 reading:
“Picture Perfect” – Jodi Picoult
“Vanishing Acts” – Jodi Picoult
“Dragons of a Fallen Sun” – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
I ended 2008 listening to:
Emery – When Broken Hearts Prevail
Paramore – Riot!
Terminal – How The Lonely Keep
I started 2009 listening to:
Lifehouse – Who We Are
Anberlin – New Surrender
Deas Vail – All The Houses Look The Same