Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 36 - My Year

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 36 - My Year

So, which year in my life (so far) was MY YEAR, the year in which I look back and see as the happiest, most special and treasured?

There are many periods in my life which I would say were "MY Special moments" but picking one year which was the happiest and most treasured is quite difficult. 

I am going to say summer/autumn 2004 to summer/autumn 2005 was the happiest and most treasured, although it has to be said 2014 is becoming "A very INTERESTING YEAR" but much more about that at a later date!

So, what was it that happened in 2004-2005 that makes that the MY YEAR?

Summer 2004, I left 6th form college, which I loved my time there but it was quite stressful with all the coursework and exams...but I was beginning to discover who I really was and able to start discovering much more about myself as I left college and stepped out into the big wide world of life...

My Action Team to Brazil
I was really privileged to be able to take a gap year which started in Sept 2004, I went on a program called Action Teams by a Christian charity, BMS World Mission. As part of the program I spent 6 months with a team of 4 young people living overseas in Brazil. It was a really eye-opening year to learn so much about the world, other cultures and more than anything learning huge amounts about who I was. I still keep in contact with the family I lived with in Brazil and also my British team-mates, Alison, Scott and Jennie. I still regularly talk about my time spent in Brazil and look back on my time their with great fondness. The whole experience has planted seeds into the rest of my life, which are still growing. (You can see a few of my photos of Brazil HERE)

In the period leading up to leaving the UK, I spent the summer working and fundraising, but it was the first time in my life that I realised how much I meant to the other people in my life at the time, people in my church fellowship, my school friends and even more to my family. I began to realise people loved me and were sad to see me leave on my adventure of a lifetime.

In returning to the UK and finishing my gap year, I then prepared for the next big phase of life and the beginnings of university, which in itself was a very, very exciting period of new change, building new friendships and the beginnings of my career. Of those first friends I met at university, I am still in close contact with many of them and am also married to one of them.

Now, we've focussed on MY YEAR, what about the YEAR which was NOT MY YEAR?

Again a difficult decision, as there have been many phases of life which were tough and even though 2014 looks to be a really happy year, this beginning of this year has also been one of the hardest years of my life as well.

But, looking back I think one of the hardest years of my life was possibly my final year of university and early days of my first full time permanent job in 2008

The last family photos I have of my grandparents with us all
It was a year in which I had a lot of hard things thrown at me, alongside working my butt off to get a decent grade in my degree and massive changes of life, from being a student to a full time employee.

In early 2008, my grandmother passed away in the middle of some of my university finals and then just over a year later my grandfather passed away as well. My grandfather was very partially sighted for a time I was the closest relative (geographically) to my grandfather and spent a lot of time with him in that last year of his life after my grandmother passed away. I did love visiting him and spending those hours with him, but I found it very hard to live a busy life alongside this. I was studying really hard for my finals and writing my dissertation. After I finished university in the summer, I started my pre-registration year of my career which involved working 6 days a week with a 30 mile commute and more study out of work. During those first few months my grandfather fell very ill and was hospitalised about 100 miles from home, so my mother and I would make the trip weekly to visit him during those last months. There were also other emotional problems going on in my life, so it was majorly hectic and a year of massive change and busy-ness!!

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