Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

Oh Hello, 2015.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Somehow I have managed to make it to 7 January without writing a long reflective blog post about my past year and all that I have achieved/seen/done/visited/eaten. This is due to various factors:

  1. I have been too busy.
  2. I didn’t necessarily want 2015 to arrive quite so quickly so I am avoiding the subject.
  3. I haven’t sat in front of my computer for the last seven days so haven’t had the opportunity.

Does anyone really want to read a pensive exploration of my past year or should I finally accept that I only write it to boost my own ego and to prove to myself that I haven’t wasted another 365 days being a lost soul pretending to be a writer but really just plodding along? Either way – here’s my year in hyper-speed and in no particular order.

In 2014, I…

  • Lost my Co-Op job (good start.)
  • Contemplated returning to Australia early and then realised that was a stupid idea.
  • Went to Sheffield many times.
  • Did a lot of baking.
  • Climbed a few mountains/hills.
  • Met a boy.
  • Had lots of picnics/outings/adventures with aforementioned boy.
  • Moved apartment and shared a house for the first time ever.
  • Became serious about this ‘copywriting’ bizzo and actually started doing it for realz.
  • Explored many great places in the UK, including Chester, the Peak District and Blackpool.
  • Went to Northern Ireland and learnt about the importance of tray bakes.
  • Ran a marathon in Manchester.
  • Ran a half marathon in Paris.
  • Got gastro.
  • Joined the wonder that is Yelp and had so much great food and drinks and met so many fun people that it made me giggle like a school girl.
  • Attended various weddings and half weddings.
  • Hugged my Dad.
  • Had lots of fun times with my fabulous friends.
  • Had one of the best food-filled, view-over-Manchester-with-a-cocktail-including, educational birthdays.
  • Discovered a lot about crisps thanks to various office mates.
  • Became addicted to pound stores and discount supermarkets. Seriously – I wander through at least one a day. You won’t believe the bargains!
  • Went to Scotland and the Edinburgh Festival.
  • Saw the Lochness Monster.
  • Witnessed worm charming, chicken racing and gravy wrestling.
  • Went to Old Trafford.
  • Discovered the joy of working in the Manchester Central Library. So quiet. So calming.
  • Painted walls and floors/installed kitchen cabinets/re-painted walls in Sir Pubert’s renovator’s delight.
  • Decided I like Manchester too much and began the process of trying to stay.

So that was significantly more than I realised. I’m glad I decided to feed my ego.

I have 23 days left in the UK. That’s not a lot. Most of that will involve packing, crying, saying goodbye to people, and deciding whether or not I really need to keep all of my belongings. In between all of that, I also have plans to make the most of my time here and climb as many hills as possible. But right now I must do some of that copywriting do-dally.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

On This Day…

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I have just had a quick skim read of my blog posts on and around the 17 November in 2010/11/12/13 and it has made me quite pleased that I write all of this random drivel and chuck it into big bad world of THE INTERNET. So what was I up to, I hear you ask with excitement and vigour? Well!

In 2010, I was in Sydney applying for my first travel/work visa to go to France. These were exciting times as I suddenly had permission to go and live in my favourite city in the world and I was in Sydney eating cheese with my best friend, Gill. What more could a girl ask for?

In 2011, I was writing 50,000 words in one month for NaNoWriMo (a task I managed to successfully complete) and I had tripped over whilst running along the Canal Saint Martin in Paris, horrendously injuring my knees. Or at least, that’s how I made it seem.

In 2012, I was eating cake and enjoying Beaujoulais Nouveau in Paris while attending exhibition openings that I made a small appearance in. Ooh la la!

In 2013, I had recently met the Queen. That’s how I roll.

So that’s not bad really. Not bad at all.

The 29th Year That Was

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

My birthday has been and gone and I realised I haven’t had time to ‘think and reflect’ on the year that was. And we all know I love a good reflection! So let’s do it – in some sort of random point form!

  • This time last year I was in Croatia with my best friend, Gill. Good times were had, great food was eaten. I am now Personally-Elected-Faux-Aunty-Jess to her beautiful daughter, Stephanie. Apparently babies can happen in a year.
  • I worked at the Co-Operative as an IT Analyst, helping people with their IT issues. Then I was laid off due to slight economic issues at the Co-Op.
  • I had a rather gross case of conjunctivitis. That was less of a highlight.
  • I went to Wales a few times.
  • I went to Scotland and saw the Edinburgh Festival and Loch Ness.
  • Christmas happened. Ate lots. That’s about it.
  • Spent New Year’s dancing in my brother’s lounge room and playing Celebrity Heads.
  • Climbed a big(ish) hill in the Lake District.
  • Went to London once or twice.
  • Explored lots of really cool places within a 2 hour drive of Manchester.
  • Saw gravy wrestling, worm charming and chicken racing.
  • Moved apartment and started sharing a house for the first time in my life. My housemate is AWESOME.
  • Am currently dating a man who once sold burritos. He hasn’t made me a burrito yet so the verdict is still out.
  • Started writing for Yelp and have since received lots of AMAZING FREE FOOD AND DRINK. Best writing decision ever.
  • Started working full-time in The Classroom and now Zaum is a fully-fledged and somewhat profitable copywriting business (contact me for all of your wordy needs.)
  • Went to a conference in York. I felt very professional about that.
  • Attended a couple of weddings.
  • Met lots of cool people and made lots of great new friends.
  • Grew cos lettuce.
  • Didn’t poison myself, fall off any high places or break any bones. That’s a successful year, right there!
  • Oh yeh, I ran a marathon and a half marathon.
  • Went to Paris. That was fun.
  • Learnt that networking is good for you.
  • Ate a seriously large amount of food and managed to not get fat.
  • Had multiple picnics next to things on top of hills.
  • Generally survived another year without doing anything that wrong.

It has been a year of less travel than my previous years, mostly due to travel requiring money and me not having much of that. But as a result, I have managed to settle more into life in Manchester and have built myself a very cosy nest with friends, family, work, food and fun. And as the time on my visa slowly ticks away, I become less and less inclined to pack up my stuff and move yet again. So if anyone wishes to donate £200,000 to the “Keep Jess in England” fund and/or marry me, that would be GREAT! Until then, stay tuned for more exciting adventures in the World of Jess.

A Year Passes

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Time. It’s a magical thing. I don’t think we will ever really understand how it works and why it works that way. Speeding up and slowing down without warning and generally disappearing before your eyes. You may have noticed by now that when I start talking about time it is due to the day being of some sort of ‘anniversary-like’ significance in The World of Jess. Today… wait for it… my One Year UK-Versary!

On this day one year ago, I dragged two suitcases and a backpack from my apartment in Paris, caught two trains and crossed a large channel of water to eventually arrive in a surprisingly sunny Manchester. And there I stayed for 365 days making a new life for myself in ‘The North’. So what happened in that time? What was achieved? What were the pros and cons? Do I have a Mancunian accent yet? Let’s reflect.

  • I found, moved into and will soon move out of an apartment in a really cool part of the city
  • Thanks to my very-extended-cousins, I visited many ye olde houses, castle ruins and generally cool places
  • I saw a lot of theatre and developed an interest in Shakespeare
  • I met a great, yet slightly odd, variety of people who I am honoured to call my ‘friends’
  • I went to Croatia for my birthday
  • I am starting to learn the difference between ales, bitters, lagers and stouts (etc) and have developed a taste for whisky
  • I met the Queen (from a distance)
  • I ran a marathon
  • I became a waitress and then quit as soon as possible
  • I got a job as an IT analyst (fancy-afied IT Help Desk phone answerer) and was then fired
  • I set myself up in a communal office space where I now have friends
  • I learnt how to ‘network’ and now don’t completely hate it
  • I went to Wales twice
  • I went to Sheffield quite frequently and got to hang out with my big brother a lot (Win.)
  • I saw Goldfrapp and Fanfarlo and Sarah Blasko
  • I stalked Paul Hollywood
  • I ate a lot of great food and some not so great food
  • I watched numerous parades in Manchester
  • I volunteered in the Manchester International Festival and got to see free things
  • I learnt how to respond to the locals’ “Y’orrigh?”
  • I became older and wiser.

That will do. The last dot point I actually believe to be true. This past year I have felt strangely “adult” as opposed to “just some kid who can’t settle down.” Moving and living in another country on your own is tough and I’m quite proud of my achievements and the fact that I haven’t gone completely insane. Living in Manchester has been a lot easier than Paris for many reasons – language, politics, administration etc. But mostly because of the close proximity of my family members. It has been a huge relief to be able to spend time with my brother and with my very-extended-cousins who have accepted their long lost Australian relative like a daughter.

So now what? Another year (well 11 months now) awaits full of exciting adventures and potential. I have no idea what is going to happen and that’s great. Bring on round two.

Hello Manchester!

Hello Manchester!

Six Months as a Mancunian

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

By now you should know how much I love significant dates. A birthday, an anniversary. I will even celebrate the monthly progression of something if it means I can go out for dinner, drink a glass of wine or (of course) eat a piece of cake. So imagine my shock when my six-month-iversary of living in Manchester almost passed me by due to excess work and general busyness? Shocked to the core, I was. But once I remembered I grabbed a pear cider from my fridge and sat with a box of peanuts and a book by the side of the canal. My only companions were some threatening Canadian geese and mangey pigeons but as the sun set behind the old mill buildings and people walked past me on their way home from work, I was a happy lassie.

Cheers! Here's to another 1.5 years in the UK!

Cheers! Here’s to another 1.5 years in the UK!

So I think you know what time it is – Six Month Reflection Time!!!

What has happened in the last six months? What has been good? What has been ok? What has been less than ok? Ready? GO!

  • I moved to a new country, city, language, way of being, dinner time, general outlook on life. Manchester is NOT Paris. This is a fact.
  • I found myself an apartment in one of the coolest and most convenient locations in Manchester. From here I have explored the city and seen most of my neighbours in the apartments across the road in their underwear.
  • I got a job as a waitress at Artisan. This has resulted in me realising that I do not want to be a waitress for the rest of my life and that I should hurry up and finish this book.
  • I finished the third draft of my book about Paris. It hasn’t progressed much further than this.
  • I went to Wales.
  • I ran a marathon in Paris. Whoa. Cool!
  • I made lots of friends in a remarkably short period of time.
  • I experienced Manchester in snow, rain, sunshine, hail and general grey.
  • I attempted to complete 108 challenges, thought of 76 and completed 34.
  • I climbed numerous hills.
  • I completed a fantastic jigsaw puzzle of the Queen.
  • I served tap water to a famous footballer (Apparently. I didn’t know who he was but everyone at work informed me that it was Marouane Fellaini.)
  • I had a photograph published in a Chronicle Books book. Neat!
  • I rented an office space in the Northern Quarter.
  • I volunteered for the Manchester International Festival.
  • I met even more of my very extended British family members. There are a lot of Davieses in the world.
  • I learnt how to ‘network’ and have even started to enjoy it.
  • I ate a lot of excellent, good, average and terrible food.
  • I outplayed the supermarkets and learnt to buy loose bananas rather than the pre-packs as the loose bananas cost half as much.
  • I started calling everyone “Love”.

So that is a general summary of my last six months and I have to say they have been highly enjoyable. There have been moments of panic, moments of woe and moments of What Am I Doing Here? However, overall I am really liking life in this grungy, rainy, slightly depressed city. I might even get myself a tattoo and a fake tan just so I can really fit in with the locals.

Manchester, I love you.

Manchester, I love you.

 

The End, My Friend, The End.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

I am currently sitting on the couch in my brother’s apartment in Sheffield with a rug over my legs and it has just dawned on me that in three hours it will be the last day of 2012. You may have noticed that I enjoy a good reflection and feel that the last day of the year is probably a very good time to do one. So here we go, chaps! My thoughts on the past year.

It has certainly been a ride – this time last year I was uncertain as to whether or not I would be allowed to return to France for a year and I was preparing myself for a flight to Australia to prove my visa-worthiness. It worked and I have spent 2012 living in one of the greatest cities in the world. I still love Paris and the past few days in Sheffield have reminded me of some of the things I really, really love about living in France. Great food, cheap wine, a massive variety of shops and things to see and do. It has also reminded me of some of the bad things – grumpy Parisians, smelly streets, dirt, dirt and more dirt. I think Paris will remain as the city my heart does back-flips for but you can’t spend your entire life jumping backwards. Time to move forwards.

This year was tough as I had to deal with breaking up with my boyfriend and learning to live on my own again. As much as it sucked at the time, it was definitely a good decision and life as a single female in Paris isn’t so bad. Although I can say that French men are shorter, weaker (I prefer the word ‘pathetic’) and generally more feminine than me so it has become very apparent that I will never marry a Frenchman. Of course I still have two months and I continue to be willing to marry for a passport…

I have spent this year building up my skills and knowledge of the craft world and feel that I have developed a much better understanding of how to gouge linoleum. Next year I hope to push this further and increase my output and hopefully income significantly. I have also written a LOT which is nice – nothing has come of it yet but one day… one day.

This year I travelled to Australia twice, England four times plus Spain, Italy, and Holland. I also took a writing course, went to a Parisian wedding, and made some awesome new friends. I ate over 200 different cakes. Yep. I sure did. And I didn’t get fat. I also ran the furthest I have ever run in my life (30 kilometres) and committed myself to running even further next year. That was probably the biggest mistake of 2012 but we shall wait and see how that pans out.

I guess that leads me to next year and my big plans for 2013. So far I have no idea what the year will hold for me as I don’t know what country I will be living in as of March. I am surprising myself but not being completely freaked out about this fact – I haven’t even made myself sick over it. IT’S A MIRACLE! I’m sure it will come soon, but I am currently ok with the idea of most likely moving to England. Manchester, to be more specific. That is my current thought – it might change tomorrow. What I do know is that next year I will be leaving France which is sad but I think well timed. I will be returning in April, however, to run 42 kilometres like a crazy lady in the Paris marathon. If that doesn’t kill me, I also plan on publishing a book. Yes, there we are, I have said it. Now that I have put it out in the public forum for everyone to tease and point fingers at me if I fail, I have to do it. Or at least try really, really hard. I have spent the last two years explaining to people that my reason for living in Paris is ‘because I am writing a book’. This hasn’t been a complete lie – just an extension of the truth. I have certainly be writing but it is in no way a book. More just general musings. Now the time has come to put my head down and get cracking. Mostly because my second novel, My Life in Manchester, needs to start being written and I can’t have two books on the go at once.

Ok, enough rambling. A very happy, safe and exciting New Year to everyone. May 2013 be full of fun times, great adventures, belly-laughs and a hell of a lot of cake!

Starting 2013 with a BANG! That's a volcano on my head, in case you were wondering.

Starting 2013 with a BANG! That’s a volcano on my head, in case you were wondering.

Life Moves Forward

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I’m having a bit of a ponder about life in all its glory and complexity and its insistence in moving forward. In a few weeks’ time my best friend will be married and over Christmas I discovered another of my friends is engaged. There has been talk of weddings and babies and buying houses and other adult themes that I feel too young to be a part of, despite the other people involved in the conversations (and weddings and babies) being around my age. Despite being asked for ID at Hans Cafe in Mandurah on the weekend, I am getting older and am supposed to be wiser. My twenty-fifth year saw me set up a relatively functional business – perhaps my twenty-sixth will be a year of wisdom, responsibility and sensibleness. Gosh I hope not…

Time is a magical yet evil thing that brings me much perplexity as I cannot control it. Since the age of fourteen, I have been saving to move to France, and eleven years later I am finally doing it. Those eleven years, and in particular the last two, took FOREVER to pass but all of a sudden time has sped up into “SUPER SCARY ROLLERCOASTER” speed, just to freak me out. Today there are thirty-three days until we set sail for gay-Paris and start a new life of eating, seeing and doing, which, when you think about it, is not a lot at all. And the fact that I don’t really have much to do in order to prepare for departure just makes things worse because all I have to do is put my toothbrush and underwear in a bag, grab my money and passport and I’m off. Too easy.

Anyway, New Years Eve is fast approaching which always makes me reflect on what I was doing this time last year and what I’ll be doing this time next year and I can most definitely say that I am much happier to be where I am now than where I was last year and I suspect I will be even happier next year than I am this year. That’s progress for you. No babies or weddings for me though. Just baguettes, cheese, chocolate, wine and a bit of on-a-whim train travel.