Looking back and looking ahead

A new year begins. Already. 2011 seemed so short and so long all at once.

This year…

…I did a LOT of travel. I worked out that I spent 20% of 2011 outside China. I hope to do less travel next year but not sure how that will work out.

…I began to REALLY enjoy working with middle school kids – more than ever before.

…I started working hard at Youth in Asia, making the dream Christina, John, Joe and I shared 6 years ago start to become a reality. The blog got up and running, I ran a TCK workers’ retreat in October, and Christina and I just got done with EPIC 2011, a conference for TCKs held this year in Phnom Penh. We want it to be an annual event that happens in different places.

…I learned more about looking after myself. I overstretched myself in the first half of this year. In the second half of the year a lot of optional projects – like writing for blogs and doing music – got dropped.

mum…my mum has been ill – one of the main reasons I dropped things in the second semester. But she is doing very well. My sisters and I all had a chance to visit Canberra (at different times) to spend time with our parents. It meant a lot that I had the opportunity to do that. Sometimes skype just isn’t the same.

…I learned more about letting others look after me. I came to appreciate and even enjoy the care and love shown to me by my small group and financial supporters. None of the Youth in Asia work I’ve done this year would have been possible with the contributions given to me by friends. The ladies in my small group who have fed me and cared for me and looked out for me have helped me stay sane and connected.

…I arranged orchestral music for youth to play at special church services. In May 20 kids played my arrangements of 8 worship songs at a youth-run service. In December 20 kids played my 13-part arrangements of Christmas carols for our Christmas celebration serviced. It was fun to see the dreams of 4-year-old Tanya come true! I’d forgotten how much I loved orchestral music and longed to write it as a child until I started doing it this year. So many stories from ages 4-12 came to me (some through my Mum) during the process of arranging music.

…I really settled into my Beijing apartment. Never before have I felt so at home anywhere (at least as an adult).

In 2012 I plan to…

…do more blog writing – both getting the Youth in Asia blog back up and running, and also writing here more frequently.

…write and record more music. This is something I sorely neglected in 2011. I have recently realised just how important making music is to me, and I am working to make it a more significant part of my life again.

…run the second annual TCK workers’ retreat and EPIC conference for TCKs.

…teach more private music lessons. I enjoy watching students progress, drawing out their talent – and the money is very helpful.

…continue working with my doctor on my knee problems. In all likelihood this will lead to a simple surgery for each of my knees which should dramatically decrease the pain I experience.

That’s about all I can manage right now. I’m still exhausted from the three-day TCK conference I ran with Christina here in Phnom Penh this week. Tomorrow we go to a beach town with two other friends for a few days of holiday – yay! I do plan to write more often this year. I have some ideas for fun things to share with you!

Happy new year!



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