When the clock struck midnight a year ago, I was standing in the crowd around Marina Bay, Singapore, with my luggage, having landed just two hours earlier in my return from South Africa. The fireworks were so numerous and extravagant that the air over the bay became dark with smoke and residue, even before the finale was upon us (it was a pretty good finale).
Between then and now, life has taken many turns, as it does. While not all blessings were happy at the time, we are who we are through our accumulation of experience and I certainly hope to continue to find good in as many experiences as I did this year.
So, tonight, I want to share my reflection on the year that is coming to a close in the form of some highlights I recall for each month past.
Fireworks and anticipation, although two weeks later I was back in ZA for my root canal (doesn’t hurt with a good doc!). The start of my Singapore-Jakarta months: 2+ flights a week, learning and applying faster than I thought I could.
The first of two visits to Vietnam this year – both brilliant. This one on the back of the ever special OPSCO meet up. Promising chocolates for the field team as part of valentines flavour for the month (almost forgot to bring it in the end!).
Oners football family and games (even across the border). Friday nights I’m at Timbre@Substation, fresh from the airport, for 53A’s weekly gig (loved it every single time). Getting a gap to visit Thailand and catch up with friends.
Life has reached a mad pace.. So happy, so stressed, so busy, so relieved, repeat with less rest. Drinks with Japanese hotel mates. Exploring more of Jakarta over weekends. Loving the happiness in Indonesian culture.
Birthday! I run off to Yogyakarta and have an amazing break. We do Spartan in Singapore – hilariously good fun. Still sneaking Japanese lessons into evenings vis Skype XD (本当にありがとうございました!). Friendships new and old.
And suddenly it’s done. Second team is setup, I still go check them in trade the weekend after my last day. Farewells are bittersweet, beers at the bar that became my Jakarta getaway – Rosemary Gastro Pub. I share and connect with wonderful people while visiting orangutans in Indonesia and caves in Vietnam, and I’m home in ZA for three weeks with my family.
The three weeks of home fly by and then – Japan! 2 years later (22 according to my mother) and the dream is real. The path I followed is an an ALT on JET, I have no idea what I’m doing, the world is my oyster sauce covered Omurazusshi. And fk Japan is humid..
Magically confusing concept – we arrive with a 3 week break of sorts ahead of us. Luckily summer is the most rediculiusly festive season in Japan. We literally walk from event to bed to event to bed. I take a 4 day tour round Kyushu in my tiny, old, grey stallion on wheels.
The new lifestyle is building. Bouldering and jogging are things again. I love the coffee shop down the road as well as the friend I make who owns it. Somehow September is even busier than August! We host a heritage day braai in town since we have a few South Africans around (:
We host Halloween in our town as well. I finally watch Battle Royal! So good, especially with playing PUBG on the side. I witness Yosakoi and vow to be in it next year. A bunch of things combine to bring me down to the lowest week of my year, but, through traveling with a friend and rocking a co-op presentation at our provincial skills development conference, I’m left wiser and more aware.
We start a DND campaign. We hike to see the autumn colours change. We rehearse for carols next month. We run away to Taiwan for a long weekend and have a blast doing it (even when hangry!). What will I do after this JET thing..
The year is almost over. We write N4 on the first weekend, I’m playing santa for kindergartens. We sing carols! Oh I love singing ^^ 30min after meeting my family in ZA, they solve my future plan problems. I meet my new nephews. My siblings teach me about parenting.
A prayer for next year
And so it ends, and begins again (: this was an even happier writing experience than I imagined. How blessed we are, and how blind I become to that sometimes.
Tomorrow is another day, same as every day, live it with gratitude and joy.
May we be happy next year because of who we are together, regardless of our daily ebb and flow. May we bear our burdens easier through our ability to help others carry theirs. And, may we keep ourselves accountable in all we do.
From my first root canal to my last mom-made meal for the year – thank you ❤