Goodbye 2014

So it’s New Year’s Eve and I suppose I should reflect a little bit on what has felt like a fairly eventful year for me. I wanted to do a comic about it but I didn’t have time so you’ll have to make do with a selection of pictures.

Warning – don’t read the following paragraph if squeamish.

So what did I do this year? Well, in February I had surgery on both feet (for bunions – not only for old ladies, apparently!) This meant I couldn’t walk for a while. Also I was awake during the surgery, in which they sawed into my bones. I couldn’t feel it and was listening to music at the time, but I could feel the vibrations. Bit unpleasant, and recovery took a while, but ultimately it was worth it and I healed really well. And they gave me tea and Marmite on toast post-op, which always helps.

Squeamish people may read from here…

The recovery period was hard at times, mainly just because I was trapped inside for so long. Luckily several of my friends came to visit me and keep me entertained, and my family looked after me very well. I also finally had time to finish all the books I was partway through reading, and to do plenty of drawing and writing (and catching up on all of Mad Men).

I continued reviewing graphic novels for For Books’ Sake, which I love doing. I also started making my own comics; something I had been into as a child and teenager but for some unfathomable reason had stopped during my twenties.

During this recovery period, I turned 30. I had envisaged some kind of big party, probably involving fancy dress and my friends DJing, but as I wasn’t capable of dancing or even standing up much at the time, I ended up having more low-key celebrations. I went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema, and out for a meal and to local pubs with family and close friends. I really enjoyed it despite the lack of dancing. Maybe I’ll save the fancy dress for next year…

Just before going back to work I decided to treat myself to a little holiday to Amsterdam. I’d never been before, and one of my old friends lives there, so it seemed like an obvious choice for a few days away. I loved it and definitely want to go back sometime.

I went for some nice mini trips in the UK this year, including a day out at Seven Sisters Country Park in Sussex, a weekend in Newcastle, a day trip to the Lake District and several visits to London for comics events etc. I went to two lovely weddings – in York and Manchester – and was a bridesmaid in the latter.

I returned to Brighton for the summer, and worked a lot of extra hours so I’m not sure I really saw much of the famed British summer. It was fun though, and nice to catch up with my friends by the sea.

This year I started a blog series about the workspaces of creative people, and was really pleased by how many talented people got involved. The series will be continuing next year.

While holed up recovering from surgery, I finally had time to think about what I wanted to do next. Ironically, I had itchy feet and wanted to move abroad again, but until then hadn’t decided where to go. I settled on Lisbon, Portugal for several reasons. I knew it was a place with plenty going on in terms of art and culture, while not being alarmingly big and stressful (I lived in Shanghai in 2011, as a point of comparison…) It was also closer to home than some other places I’ve lived (Taiwan and China).

I moved to Lisbon in September. Initially I stayed with friends who had moved there in January and very kindly offered me their spare room while I found my own flat. There was an induction period in the job (as an EFL teacher) where I got to know the other teachers. We all got on really well and it was great for us all to have an instant friendship group, which then expanded to include some of the established teachers, people’s partners etc. I also discovered that one of my old uni friends was living in Lisbon, and some of my friends from the UK have been to visit (with more to come next year!)

At first things were a little stressful in terms of having to find a place to live quickly, then moving into an unfurnished flat which meant a lot more hassle in terms of getting the electricity etc. turned on (as well as obviously having to buy all necessary furniture, kitchen equipment etc). It’s a work in progress but I love my area and am planning to make the flat more and more homely next year. It will also be nice when the warm sunshine returns to my balcony… Lisbon is a beautiful city and it feels like there’s plenty to explore.

I was more excited than usual about coming home for Christmas this year, probably because I live abroad (let’s be clear though – I am always pretty excited about Christmas). It’s been so good to see family and some friends, though it’s hard to catch up with everyone as I’m only back for a short time. This obviously means that all of my friends need to visit me in Lisbon at some point.

Anyway, it’s been a fairly extreme year in terms of not physically being able to move beyond the house for a bit, then moving to another country and starting a whole new life. It’s all gone surprisingly well though. Hoping 2015 will involve more walking up and down steep hills with my newly-fixed feet intact and camera in hand.

2 Responses to “Goodbye 2014”
  1. goofymoose says:

    Glad to hear that you’re enjoying Lisbon! You were awake for your bunion surgeries? Tough girl – I was (thankfully) unconscious for mine 🙂 Happy New Year!!

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