December. December! How did it get to be December again so fast? How did another year go by in the proverbial blink of an eye? Actually, I have a whole series of posts formulating in my head to fill in some of the gaps but sadly, although perhaps not too sadly, I’ve just been so busy I’ve not found the time to pull, punch and force the posts into submission so they will have to be released early next year instead. In their place, here is another one of my rare verbal diatribes – I hope you enjoy it…
My month of December included;
Being able to see my breath inside the office and so rocking the woolly, faux fur-lined socks which the postman brought me a few months too late for last Christmas (big up to #friendswhoknowyoubetterthanyouknowyourself). Plus investing in some serious sleeping bag action as from mid-November the temperatures have slowly dropped until mid-December where they seemed to suddenly fall even further, off a cliff. After the last eight months (even as I write this post from my camp bed) I have to admit that if I’m honest I may have had enough of camping for a while!?
Searching Facebook to find and update the names of everyone’s second (0r third) child or new girl/boyfriend (I’m not a bad friend honest, it’s just been a busy year!?) to complete this year’s Christmas card marathon. Special thanks to my various snail mail post angels for helping increase the certainty of actual delivery by bypassing Nepal’s slightly hit & miss postal system where possible.
Skyping with my family (on Stanford Christmasses #1 and #2) through poor internet connections, almost 6 hour time zone differences and using up every cent of my phone credit to make things work and be part of the madness (totally worth it!).
Reaching the giddy heights of 100 followers on Instagram, followed closely by 94 on Twitter. Plus my blog has had just shy of 10,000 views this year from 2776 different visitors from 91 countries most recently including Lithuania and Belize (bringing the total to almost 4000 different visitors from 96 countries since I got started).
Welcoming Christmas in with my own private Himalayan sunrise (viewing Annapurna & Dhaulagiri ranges simultaneously) from an elevation of 3660m at Khopra Dhanda. The first light sprinkling of snow even put in an appearance overnight for a white Christmas although the rest of the day certainly won my personal ‘least Christmassy Christmas’ award at least since the great year of eating spring rolls in the spring-like sunshine of a Taoist monastery near Hong Kong in 2005. The weather for the whole week was absolutely stunning (if more than a little chilly at times) so expect a new blog post on this topic soon, or eventually anyway…
But this should really be time to review the whole year that was 2015 and to look forward to whatever 2016 may bring. Normally, as many of you know, I spend considerable time and effort collating highlights of the year in pictures and words to summarise the events ‘for prosperity’. This year however, I have quite simply been stumped. Partly, this is because I have been trying my hardest to keep you all updated via this blog throughout the year (for the first time) so I’ve already told you most things and you can simply go back and do your own review if you would be so inclined. Also in part though, when I looked back at 2015, it was rather dominated by a B.E. and A.E classification = before earthquake and after earthquake. As I have already attempted to write about, explain on the radio and discuss with many of you in person – the earthquake for me was confusing, disorientating and terrifying. The loss of life, cultural heritage and economic growth (especially compounded by the ensuing political crisis which still rages on) for Nepal was tragically high. Yet personally, as a direct result of the terrible events of April 25th and May 12th 2015 I have met a great many fantastic people I would not otherwise have met, I have gained experience working in a new fascinating, dynamic and incredibly rewarding field and I have learnt yet more about myself – my strengths, weaknesses, abilities and hopes through a new and very challenging lens.
So 2015 has been a memorable year for so many reasons. And what about next year? Well, all I can say is that I am well and truly embracing the chaos. That phrase, ‘embrace the chaos’ has developed to be my only way to explain what life feels like whether it’s living in beautiful, crazy and unpredictable Nepal, working in International Development and/or the Humanitarian field, or leaving ‘normal life’ and becoming a VSO volunteer for 2 years – or a combination of all of the above!? (Hence my photo choice here; the quote on the International Volunteers Day poster used by VSO this year which I have combined with a photo of me and my now somewhat infamous ‘little yellow tent’ which quite honestly did me proud for the first few months of the earthquake response.) All I know for certain, is that for possibly the first time in my life, I have absolutely no idea where I will be living and working by this time next year (or come to think of it for certain by this time next month), nor which organisation, country, continent or even which industry or walk of life. And the strangest part of all (at least for the sometimes dangerously approaching OCD engineer in me) is that as far as I’m concerned, that’s absolutely fine. If that is not truly learning to embrace the chaos then I don’t know what is.
So thank you 2015 for all you have taught me and bring on 2016 and whatever mysterious delights you might have in store for us all. Happy New Year Everyone!