Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Highlights of 2013

Well, the year is nearly over. I’ve mentioned most all of these things on the blog at some point in the year, but here they are again, summed up in a top ten list. It’d be silly to rank them, so I’ve just listed them out in no particular order.

Badminton (April onwards)
I don’t think I’ve been so motivated to improve at a sport since I was in Little League playing baseball over ten years ago. Despite not being tremendously gifted athletically, I love sports and all the triumph, disappointment and fun that go with them. I think that my heart had always had a badminton racket shaped hole and now that hole has been filled.

UK/Ireland Trip (July/August)
This one’s a no brainer. Our whirlwind trip was truly special. Seeing the Beatle-shire for the first time, experiencing Scottish and Irish culture up close, London and its majesty, and of course, being able to see it all with Sharman and my parents.

My Students (all year)
I’ve been primarily working with the same children at school and for private tutoring during the entire calendar year. Because of this, I’ve gotten to know them extremely well. Seeing and interacting with these kids every day is genuinely a joy and distracts me from all the unpleasant aspects of my job.

Hua Hin, Thailand Trip (February)
It’s not every Valentine’s Day that you get to spend riding on elephants with your partner! Sharman and I had a lovely escape to the quiet beaches of Hua Hin for our Chinese New Year. 2012 CNY was the idyllic island of Palawan, Philippines and 2014 will be Bali! Seems to be a beachy theme here.

Hiking (all year)
This clearly wasn’t the first year I’d been hiking, but it was the year I discovered just how much Hong Kong’s trails have to offer. I hit the country park nearly a dozen times this year, discovering war relics, waterfalls, beaches and more.

Vietnam/Yunnan, China Trip (March/April)
I met my good friend and classmate Luke in Hanoi for an adventure that took us to some beautiful (and terrifying) places. Trekking through these strange lands was a rewarding contrast to the more comfortable Thai holiday I’d had two months before.

Visitations (all year)
I still can’t believe how often Bainbridge Islanders find me in Hong Kong. This year, I saw old classmates Evan, Henry, Cosmo, Luke, Greg, Ryan and Sean. All had ventured to the east for different reasons and I was thrilled to host them and play tour guide during their time! Also, this was my first year hosting CouchSurfers.

Seattle/Vancouver Trip (December)
For the third straight December, I’ve crossed the Pacific to be with my family and friends during the holiday season. It’s always such a great time, filled with gatherings and reunions. My old roommates and I even plan to drive up to Vancouver, BC for a weekend exploring the city, where I remarkably have never been before. 

Commencing My Postgraduate Program (August)
Though it’s still too early to say whether my primary teaching degree will be worth all the time and effort in the long run, I am happy to be back as a student again after two years removed. Also, meeting a network of teachers with varied experience around HK is incredibly valuable and good fun to boot.

Playing Open Mic Nights (June onwards)
After searching for the right sort of venues in Hong Kong for two years, I finally managed to play my songs at five different musical events, performing both solo and with friends like Erin, Andromeda and Ryan. Music is in my blood so I hope to continue building on this and play even more in the coming year. 

Of course, this year hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows every day. In 2013, I’ve felt more disillusioned about my full-time work and have been overwhelmed at times with balancing work and my university courses. In October, I learned that my cat Liddie died at age 19 back home. I was disappointed not to write any original music this year and was shocked to see my rent go up by a full $2,000 ($258 US) from January to December.

But every year is filled with highs and lows and 2013 has been no different. I’m blessed to be so healthy and have so many opportunities to explore the world with my amazing family, friends and girlfriend.  Here’s to another interesting year ahead!

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