Earlier today, I found Sandy Millin’s blog post posing a list of 30 questions to herself to sum up her 2015, and I thought the idea was so fitting to what has been a crazy year for me, that I thought I would join in! So thank you to Sandy, and to Anna Loseva who had the original idea last year! So, here goes:
THE BEST MOMENT OF THE YEAR.
Mine and Alex’s birthday cakes – my mum is a superhero
This is always a tricky question, but I think for me it would be the joint birthday party I had with my boyfriend Alex back in July. My birthday was Saturday 18th July, and the party started in the evening and continued into Alex’s birthday on the Sunday, which was a perfect coincidence for the year I was living in a different country. I flew back for it; friends and family came from far and wide and it was just fantastic to have so many of our favourite people in one place. (And my mum made two INCREDIBLE cakes.)
WHAT INSPIRED ME THE MOST THIS YEAR?
The amazing people I have met in the online English language teaching community: I have been inspired, helped, consoled and advised all in this wonderful Twitter-verse I discovered around this time last year when I decided I was going to quit my publishing job and move to Berlin to do a CELTA.
THE MAJOR NEWS OF THIS YEAR.
I quit my job as a Digital Product Manager at Routledge, moved to Berlin, completed the CELTA, became an English teacher and then got a new job as a Digital Project Manager at Oxford University Press. A crazy year!
ANTHEM OF THE YEAR 2015.
My boyfriend told me it reminds him of me, so now I love it too:
THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN MY LIFE.
I am writing my blog post over Sandy’s original version so I can copy the questions, and I can leave her answer completely intact because it applies to me perfectly, too:
As always, my friends and my family, but especially some of the new babies who have entered the world this year. There have been a lot of them!
And 2 important additions of my own: my boyfriend Alex, who has been so supportive of me following my dream of living in Berlin, and my friend Sabrina, who has provided me with countless delicious meals and generally been my rock in Berlin.
WHAT WAS MOST DIFFICULT FOR ME TO DO THIS YEAR?
Leave my job, family and friends behind and move to Berlin with no job prospects and just an expensive (but fantastic!) CELTA course to complete.
WHAT COLOUR WAS THIS YEAR?
Me at the top of the Reichstag in front of the glass dome designed by Norman Foster
This is a difficult question to a very literal person…. Can I say red/gold/black for the German flag? I’ve certainly seen it a lot of times with all the visitors I took up the government building, the Reichstag.
WHICH EVENT OF THE YEAR WOULD I CHOOSE TO REMEMBER FOREVER?
The 11-day holiday to visit my best friend from Durham who is living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The whole thing was a wonderful, stress-free and unforgettable experience.
WHICH WORD DID I USE MOST OFTEN?
‘Lecker’, which is the German word for ‘delicious.’ I have eaten a lot of delicious things this year… Probably too many, but you only live once!
MY MOST RIDICULOUS PURCHASE OF THE YEAR.
Oh, also a tricky question! I swapped my flight times to fly home early to surprise my mum for her birthday in July (hers is the day before mine and therefore formed part of a triple birthday weekend extravaganza!) so I suppose that was a little extravagant, but my dad very kindly helped me out with the cost : )
I SHOULDN’T HAVE EXPERIMENTED WITH …
Trying to learn how to code. I’d love to be able to do it, but the small introductory course I did with other English teachers was such an intense mixture of eye-opening and frustrating that I don’t think me and HTML and CSS will ever be firm friends.
THIS YEAR WAS WONDERFUL BECAUSE …
I was brave enough to quit my job at Routledge and follow my dream of living in Berlin. I discovered I’m not a total disaster as a teacher, which was a nice surprise, and I met some truly fantastic people both in school and outside of it.
WHICH INNER PROBLEM DID I SOLVE SUCCESSFULLY?
Whether or not it was a good idea to leave a good publishing job with lovely colleagues to try my hand at being a teacher – it turns out that it was a great idea, as that teaching experience has enabled me to land my dream job working on adult ELT materials as a Digital Project Manager at Oxford University Press.
WHO DID I HUG AT NIGHT?
On the rare occasions when I was home or had him to visit, my endlessly patient and kind boyfriend Alex. When he was at home and I was in England, then the bear he got me from Sweden (named Malcolm) took his place. (Sorry, I’m a soppy lump sometimes!)
WHOSE WEDDING DID I HAVE FUN AT?
Two wonderful weddings this year: an old school friend married her Canadian sweetheart and a very good friend from my badminton club at home married the sixth member of our ‘Games night’ sixsome. Both weddings were on consecutive weekends in August, which I turned into a week’s ‘holiday’ from being a teacher and just spent frolicking around London and the Home Counties with my friends and family in the sunshine.
WHAT WAS MY AVERAGE SALARY THIS YEAR?
It started considerably higher when I still worked at Routledge, and then I became a freelance English teacher and I had to return to my student ways of counting the pennies. One of a few reasons why I won’t miss being a teacher in 2016…
DID I HAVE A CONVERSATION THAT TURNED EVERYTHING UPSIDE DOWN IN MY HEAD?
I had a few people doubting my decision to leave Alex and everything in England, but I’m still so, so glad I did it. (And Alex and I are still very much together, in case anyone is wondering!)
WHAT NEW PROJECT DID I START IN 2015?
This blog, properly. It’s helped me rediscover my love of writing, which I now also do on paper a lot more. I got a message about statistics today and found out my blog has been visited 7,500 times this year, which I can’t quite believe.
IF I COULD BECOME A SUPERHERO FOR JUST ONE DAY, WHAT WOULD I DO?
I loved Sandy’s idea of being able to fly around the world and hug everyone when they need it! I can’t think of anything else creative except being invisible or able to apparate like Harry Potter, to cut the need to drive or get the train!
WHAT AM I DREAMING ABOUT NOW?
Perhaps maybe *eep* being so grown-up as to buy a house with Alex in 2016, and have a permanent address.
Oh, and not being a total disaster at my new job…
WHAT DO I CONSIDER TO BE MY MOST IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENT?
Having followed my dream to get enough teaching experience under my belt to land my dream job in English language teaching publishing. I also somehow got a Pass A for my CELTA, which I did not expect in a million years.
THIS YEAR UNTIL THIS MOMENT IN ONE SENTENCE.
Following my dreams, eating all the cake and being the ultimate Berlin tour guide 🙂
THE LATEST MESSAGE I’VE SENT.
‘Are you sure we can’t bring anything tonight?’ to the wonderful friend hosting 25+ of us for a Disney-themed New Year’s Eve party, and insisting we don’t need to bring anything!
A QUOTE THAT IS MOST SUITABLE FOR MY YEAR.
I always see quotes I absolutely love, then forget them, but one I have cemented in my mind is the following (I also love the person who said it):
The one that is probably more suitable for the year is this, though >>>
DID I ACHIEVE EVERYTHING I’D PLANNED FOR THIS YEAR?
I did, actually, which is not something I’ve fully processed yet. I moved to Berlin with the specific aim of getting enough experience to land a job in ELT publishing, and through some massive stroke of luck, I have managed exactly that…
HOW MANY NEW FRIENDS DID I MAKE THIS YEAR?
So many wonderful friends, both online and in person. I’ve met some of the lovely online teaching crew, but would love to meet some more in 2016! Thank you everyone for all your help and support 🙂
WHO DID I HELP THIS YEAR?
Perhaps a few people contemplating doing a CELTA – I know of at least one girl who decided to do hers at the Berlin School of English because of my blog, and that made me so happy. I would also like to think I taught some of my students something useful about the English language!
WHERE DID I TRAVEL?
Being silly with statues in Rostock, on the north coast of my favourite country 🙂
This year I’ve been lucky enough to visit my friend in Kuala Lumpur, as well as travelling to my favourite city Berlin to live there. Since being in Berlin, I have visited Amsterdam with Alex, and also gone on lots of little trips to previously undiscovered German cities, like Greifswald, Rostock, Wittenberg and Warnemünde – all of which I recommend! Now I only have 2 federal states left to visit in Germany!
WHICH PROJECTS AM I PUTTING OFF TILL NEXT YEAR?
Anything involving sorting out my room in my parents’ house, and sorting out my scattered finances! 2016 will be the year of properly being an adult in that sense.
WHAT DO I WANT TO ACHIEVE NEXT YEAR?
I’d like to help make some great English courses for adults, like those I’ve been teaching in Berlin this year, as part of my new job. I’d also love to manage to buy a house, which is currently a very scary prospect right now!
Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for inspiring me Sandy and Anna 🙂 Here’s to a great 2016!
Some Berlin bears outside the Olympic Stadium in Berlin – if you ever visit, let me know: I have the biggest list of recommendations for you 🙂