Looking back on a year full of stories

A year ago a wrote a list of things I wanted to do this year. I just read it – and it was painful. I did almost nothing on that list! There were some reasons for that – unexpected extra workload, mostly. In the first semester I took on a second job, and in the second semester my role at CCC changed slightly, more out of my comfort zone, which has taken some adjustment.

That said, it’s nice to see that I did at least one thing from that list – write more! I made a decision a while back to change the tone of these posts – to tell stories, not write a newsletter. It had reached the point where I would write rarely and then feel I had to list everything I’d done since last time – which is stressful for me and not particularly interesting for you. While there’s still room for improvement, I’m getting better at looking around me for stories that others may find interesting – stories that show a little of what life looks like here.

The number of people receiving this by email is pretty steady (over 110) but the number of people reading it online (mostly referred from facebook) has grown a lot, especially in the past two months.

This year I wrote 25 posts – that’s about one a fortnight. I posted 116 pictures, and I bet most of them are from my travel stories. I feel like I travelled less this year, but I still managed to bookend the year with trips to Cambodia (Phnom Penh twice, plus Kep and Siem Reap), travelled across Australia in March/April then a quick trip to Singapore on the way home. Here in China I visited Moganshan, Shanghai, Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong, Yangshuo and Guilin.

When I looked at the statistics wordpress prepares, however, I discovered that 8 of the 10 most read posts I wrote this year are set in my lovely* Beijing. Here are all ten:

  1. Dec: I’ve had bad luck with domestic flights lately… 
  2. Nov: Autumn in Beijing – a lovely kind of crazy
  3. Jan: A week in the life of a youth worker in Beijing
  4. Feb: Two jobs equals headaches, but joy trumps the pain! 
  5. Oct: October Holiday in Beijing
  6. May: More Chinese Conversations 
  7. May: 2012 Trip – part 2: Family in the West
  8. Dec: Winter Wonderland 
  9. May: China Travel 2012: Beijing with the family 
  10. Jan: Kep vacation (Cambodia) 

An honourable mention to the post with the most comments (and which also stirred some conversation off-line: “some unexpected semi-political musings,” from back in January.

(* not so lovely lately – more on that soon)

All in all, that’s a lot of words! Thank you to all the people who have told me they enjoy these stories. Sometimes I think I’m just writing this for myself, and it’s always a pleasant surprise to discover that others find enjoyment in them.

hands-typingMy goal for 2013, as far as this blog goes, is to improve my ability to tell engaging stories, rather than tell life in bullet points. So thank you for reading – and here’s to another year of stories!

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