2015 was a very packed year. It had many highs and some rather low lows, particularly towards the end of the year as I took on way too many responsibilities work-wise, all of which seemed to have the same deadlines.
Travel-wise, as ever, I was very lucky this year. I visited two new countries, Latvia and Iceland. I traveled to new parts of countries I’d already been to: Barcelona, Milan, west coast of Scotland, and the epic road trip I just finished (more on that coming soon). I went home to Nova Scotia three times. Three times. All under different circumstances, but I feel very very lucky to have spent so much time in my beloved home province this year.
Work-wise, I taught my own class for the first time. I wrote drafts of six chapters of my thesis. I attended four conferences (including my first one in Canada!) and met lots of interesting people along the way. I had an amazing opportunity to observe EU cultural policy coordination “in action” in Riga. I transferred to ‘writing up’ stage and can FEEL how close I am to finishing. I continue to be challenged in what I am doing and enjoy what I am doing and thus know that this is the ‘place’ I am meant to be, professionally, even if it means living like a poor student for a little while yet.
Speaking of which, life in London continues to be equal parts thrilling/amazing and challenging. I have no savings anymore, my teaching jobs do not pay enough to cover my rent, and shudder how much I’ll owe in student loans when I finish this degree, but have to remind myself that this is temporary and that when I finally have a ‘proper’ job (fingers crossed), it will be worth it (at least I hope so!).
One of the absolute best parts of 2015 is that I got to see all three of my best friends this year– one once, one twice, and one four times! All three live in Canada and our visits are very rare so seeing them all has been special.
Food-wise, some of my favourite things I made last year (in no particular order) were mozza and mushroom cakes, chicken and leek pie, tahini cookies, roast shoulder of lamb, seafood chowder, buckeyes, apricot crumble tart, baked satay chicken with millet, and haddock and leek risotto.
My favourite meals are too numerous to think of. Most of them are in Sandy Cove, where the seafood is right out of the sea and the vegetables out of the garden the same day you eat them, but there has also been opulence and extravagance (thank you B.A.!), and lots of wings Wednesdays.
In 2016, my goals are simple. Finish my PhD. Find a job. Keep the stress to a minimum (which will be difficult, given the first two goals!). Try to live well and remember the things that matter most to me: H., my family, my friends, being healthy, having fun, learning new things, seeing the world, and (how can I forget!) reading. 🙂 Happy 2016!