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- Introduction -
2009 was a pretty noteworthy year, so I thought I'd give it a go of reviewing it, incase it interests anyone, I guess. There have been some highs and lows for me, im quite proud of what I've achieved, while im glad that the lows weren't as low as they potentially could have been. 2009 has definitely made me count my blessings and wonder what the future might hold.
- My Achievements -
2009 was the first year when I travelled on my own in Europe, although I wasn't always on my own but I did travel from a small town in Istria in Croatia, called Opatija, by train to the capital city in Slovenia, called Ljubljana. My friend lives in Slovenia, about half an hour outside of Ljubljana and I had decided in 2008 that I really wanted to travel and visit her country and she wanted me to stay with her at her place. I had never flown on my own or travelled much on my own before, other than elsewhere in Scotland and flights for Slovenia were hard to find, so what ended up happening was that my parents decided to book a holiday in Croatia and I flew with them from Manchester to Croatia and stayed with them for a day then they drove me to the train station and I travelled to Ljubljana, where my friend met me at the station and I stayed with her for a few days before taking the train back down to join my family in Croatia.
It was rather intimidating on the train at times, when the border crossing patrolmen came investigating, not because I had anything to hide of course but because of the language barriers, though I think they realised I was British quite quickly and I did have my passport to hand. Hearing all the different European languages being spoken in the carriage made me a bit home sick, though it was also quite cool in a sense too, the train took three or so hours with at least a couple of border crossing type stops, so it was quite an adventure for me, considering I really haven't done much of this sort of travel, if any before then!. I wasn't so lucky with the weather in Slovenia, unfortunately, there was quite alot of rain and not much blue sky but I still got to see places and I was just happy to be with my friend, really. I saw the city and lake Bled, Bled castle and Predjamski Castle and Postojna caves, which was cool as it was a really big cave network with a fun little train ride to take you right into the caves. The country is definitely interesting, it reminded me of Scotland in some ways, which is probably why my friend is interested in coming here and seeing more of my country sometime (so far she's only been to Edinburgh for a day on a package holiday).
While staying in Slovenia, I also sampled some Slovenian snacks, which were very nice and my friends parents gave us a couple of delicious dinners, which was very nice of them. They had alot of questions about me and my country, which my friend had to translate as her mum didn't talk English, it was a bit awkward at time with the language barrier but I got by ok and apparently her parents have said that they thought I was nice and polite and her mum told me I'm welcome to visit some other time, so, I might do that, though I have also told her that she can come and stay with us and I'll show her around where I live and we could go back through to Edinburgh and Stirling and wherever else but I don't know when or if that might happen. Anyway, so that was quite an adventure for me and luckily it went well, we got on well and I got alot of photos and enjoyed myself.
The other thing I did in 2009 as far as travelling was concerned, was that I flew on my own for the first time, taking a flight down to London City airport from Edinburgh airport. For those who don't know, im a big fan of the music group The Backstreet Boys and they toured the UK last November. Another friend I met online who lives in England, had persuaded me to try my best to get to the London concert because I wasn't able to go to the London concert in 2008, I had only been to one concert on that (the previous) tour and I'd felt a bit sad about that, so this time I had pushed to get a couple of days off so that I could travel down for the London concert. My friend had offered for me to share a hotel room with her and her friend, she thought it'd be fun and I was quite excited about it, especially when I realised it was
going to be cheaper to fly than to take the train as I wasn't thrilled about the idea of taking a train ride from Linlithgow to London city centre, that would have taken such a long time, it would have driven me a bit nuts I think (im not overly keen on train rides).
It was fun flying down and I did manage to get both the flight down there and back home safely, so that, to me, was quite an achievement (in as much as I'd never done it before). It was funny that most everyone else on the flight were clearly business people and there I was in my hoodie and jeans being offered free snacks and a free drink mid flight, that was very nice! I think I got a bargain there, considering it cost under £100 for the return flight and as the concert was at the O2 arena, flying to London City airport was perfect, as I was able to get a taxi to the hotel for under £20 and the arena was in walking distance of the hotel. I'd never been to the arena before either, so it was, again, quite an adventure for me! oh what fun I had trying to figure out which side street to go down and how close I was to the main entrance when I was running out of time to pick up my soundcheck tickets but anyway, things worked out in the end and I enjoyed the show.
So, last year was the first time I travelled between European countries and the first time that I flew on my own but also, I ended up doing something at work that I had been quite unconfident about for years beforehand and thats taking induction tours around the library that I work at. For those who don't know, im really quite a shy person offline and I'm not great at talking loudly in front of groups of people, so the idea of taking big groups of potentially loud and uninterested students around the large library and having them listen and be interested in what im saying, well, it didn't seem that easy and it didn't appeal to me, it was one of those tasks that, until last year, my colleagues had done for me, pretty much. However, I was asked to take some tours in 2009 and so I crossed my fingers, thought through what would need to be covered and discussed it with colleagues and I did it... and people didn't laugh at me, thankfully - so yeah, that was another achievement for me, it maybe doesn't sound like alot to me but I know how nervous I was about it beforehand, so for me, it was definitely an achievement. I wouldn't say im the best in my team at taking tours but I did manage to do it all the same, so it could definitely be worse.
Edit January 13th - Ah I *knew* I'd forget something fairly obvious, thats typical of me lol I just realised what I've missed out, so I'll mention it now. I was on TV last year, yes im now a TV star lol well, sort of...not really! I entered a contest via Youtube that was run by T4 (the teenage/young adult strand on Channel 4) where people had the chance to ask the Backstreet Boys a question, they picked three videos of fans asking the group a question and showed it to them and the group answered the question. This contest, as far as im concerned, wasn't very well publicised (considering when the show was mention on fan forums online people were like 'I've never heard of this contest'), so when they picked which videos or questions to use in the fan interview, they didn't have too many to choose from, I think there were less than 15. Anyway they picked three and mine was one of them and I was thrilled about it, I turned back into a 13 year old when I first saw the video on the T4 website where they watch my video and answer my question (which was 'what is your favourite dance routine') because they were nice about taking a bit of time to answer and two of them addressed me by name, which made all the difference and this was broadcast on T4/Channel 4 on a Sunday afternoon in mid-September, so I now have that recorded onto DVD to keep and remember.
I'm not sure if the link will work but if its ok, here's a link to the interview on youtube:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebLFooCfsqM my part starts at about 0:48. So yeah, that was a pretty cool thing to happen, they filmed it in Madrid when they were doing promo for their single in mainland Europe in early September. I had hoped that maybe they'd remember me when I saw them at soundcheck a couple of months later so I wore the same top that I wore in the video but unfortunately they didn't but thats fair enough, there are still quite alot of us fans around, they can't be expected to remember us all but it was very cool to have them answer my question and give me a shoutout as they say :-)
- The Scares/Sad Times -
Not everything went brilliantly in 2009, unfortunately. The year ended on a sad note, with the family dog,Holly, having to be put down on December 1st, which affected my mum, well it affected all of us but moreso my mum considering she took her to the vet on that morning and everything. I was quite upset on that morning, it was a sad day and of course I miss her, you can't replace a pet like that, we'd had her since 1995, since I was 12 years old, so, yes, that was sad. She had been suffering from muscle problems due to her old age, it was sad to see how she kept stumbling about, her back legs gave her some real problems and it was clearly not fair on her to keep her suffering in the way she was, so she had to be put to rest but we'll definitely miss her and I'll always remember her.
However, it wasn't just Holly that was affected health wise in 2009. My mum had a health scare in October, when she had to be admitted into hospital over the weekend after suffering a horrendous migraine, a really bad one, the worst of her life she said and it followed on with sickness and seemed to get worse, so she ended up getting a CT scan and lumber puncture and we had to hope that they didn't find any blood clots or anything serious, which the nurse had said could be the cause of the 'migraine'. Luckily, that wasn't the case, all the tests came back negative and she was allowed back home after a couple of days, though a few days later she got ill again, went to the doctors and was diagnosed with an ear infection called Labyrinthitis I believe, once she was diagnosed with that and given antibiotics, it started to die down and within a couple of weeks she was pretty much back to normal, which was a relief. I hated to see how sick she was back then, it wasn't nice.
I was also concerned about my dad earlier in the year as he had to get a few tests taken as well, there was the chance that he might have heart problems and he was stressing about it. I didn't know much about it but obviously that was a concern for me at the time, though it turned out that he got pretty much the all clear, so that was a relief too.
I wasn't without health concerns too, unfortunately. I've had what im told are 'a-typical migraines' (or not regular migraines), so I guess our family aren't too lucky when it comes to being affected by migraines!. I'd been getting annoyed with these colours and flashing circles I tend to get in front of my vision that I first spotted while driving in 2008 and then I started to get more dull headaches, which are a nuisance, so I mentioned this when I was seeing the dr. and I got my eyes checked, I got a new set of glasses, that was in December 2008. Things didn't improve much in 2009 and I ended up having to go to the local hospital in summer and I got a couple of tests done, I had to have these eye drops that dilated my pupils, so the opthalmologist could check the condition of my pupils and it was a very strange sensation, I couldn't focus at all for a couple of hours or so, it was pretty surreal! I also had a fear of eye drops, so I was nervous about that but as it happened, I managed to get those done without too much childish behaviour, thankfully.
A while later, I got a letter asking me to phone and book a blood test as requested by the doctor, as they'd heard from the hospital that my eye tests had come back all clear, so, like I'd been told on the day, its not an issue with my eyes but more likely to be an a-typical migraine or whatever they called it, I think it was 'a-typical migraine'(?) so I had to book that and that had me feeling nervous too, as I also have a phobia of needles. I was less than pleased when I arrived at the health centre on the morning of my appointment to find that they'd mucked up my appointment with the nurse, the lady at reception claimed the appointment had been moved but I hadn't been informed of that but thankfully they found a nurse able to do the tests there and then, so it still got done and I managed to get the blood test taken without me fainting or crying, thank heck! I'd
Pictures of Review of the Year 2009
Me by the 'three bridges' in Ljubjana, capital city of Slovenia
been worried abut it all weekend, so I was kind of proud that I got that done then. I phoned up at the end of the week not knowing what I might hear but they reassured me that the results came back all clear, so I didn't need to go back and I wasn't showing any underlying problems, which was surely a relief. However, I was still getting the headaches and the visual 'nuisances'/'disturbances' and I've been back once and had to really push to be given something to try, to see if it would help lessen these 'a-typical migraines', unfortunately it didn't work and I still have to deal with them, although they seem to have eased a bit over the last month or so. I'm a bit phobic of going to the dr because they seem very cautious about giving me anything (I swear sometimes it feels like they think im making it up or something, im definitely not! or that im a hypercondriact because I've had alot of things checked over the years) and I've been told that they don't know what is the right sort of medication to try me on because not enough is known as to whats causing these migraines *sigh* so I'll probably just have to live with them for the most part but if things get worse or if there's anything else I need to go to the doctor about, I'll try and make a point of asking about that again... I can live with them, its not a life or death thing of course, its just a nuisance.Back to my trip to London and I did also have a bit of a scare then too, as I got lost trying to find my way back to the hotel, which gave me a bit of a scare given how late at night it was then. I ended up finding some other people to share a taxi cab back, so I was ok but it was a bit of a scare for a while. I felt rather anxious being around the friend I was with at the hotel, which was awkward and it took forever to be able to get sleep and since then, the friendship has pretty much totally dissolved, which is a shame but as far as I'm concerned, she's changed and I don't like the way that she talks about things, so, oh well, thats the way things go. Infact when the new year arrived, there's been a fair bit of bickering about how I was really rude in London and such like, so I guess I didn't do 'that' well there but I don't know, I certainly didn't mean to be rude, I think its a personality clash because I don't tend to talk too much to people I'm not used to being around in person and the people I was with there, I hardly see, maybe once a year tops but oh well...
- Conclusions -
Well, 2009 was quite an eventful year for me, compared to other years anyway. It maybe doesn't sound like I did alot but to me, I feel that I made some pretty good achievements. I was relieved that my parents were ok after the health scares and im sad that we've lost Holly but I have good memories of an adventurous holiday, spending time with my friend in Slovenia, enjoying two concerts with pretty close seats which was awesome and soundchecks (I bought myself a VIP package for one of the concerts and my parents bought me a second VIP package for London as an early Christmas present) and getting new photos of me with the group, flying down on my own for the first time and taking the induction tours at work and surviving that lol.
Now I'm wondering what might happen in 2010, I'd like to continue to do a bit more travelling on my own, I'd love to visit the US at one point, I've always wanted to go but its not cheap and I'd probably have to go with a friend, since my parents don't want the long haul flight, so whether or not that'll happen this year or next or whenever, I don't know, the same with my friend coming and staying here, that could be fun but I don't know if she's wanting to do that or not. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens... you never know what might be around the corner but all in all I feel like I had quite a good time in 2009, so I hope this year is just as good, with no nasty shocks healthwise, hopefully. Here's to a good 2010, lets hope this decade is a good one! and I know this is a bit late to be posting a review on this topic, I had meant to do it during the holidays but I just never got around to it, so, I guess now is better than never!.
Also, there's something telling me that I've forgotten at least one or two other events/things that happened but my mind isn't too clear at the moment, so I may end up adding more to this later, if I remember what I've, uh, forgotten lol!
May Holly rest in peace; on a lighter note, I'm jealous to all the travelling you did. Travelling is one my passions, as I've been to over 30 countries; I'm still waiting to sell my house so i can go back to Europe and Asia. Chris x
MizzMolko 06.08.2010 17:08
So sorry to read about Holly and your family's illnesses. Hope 2010 is going better for you so far : ) Eleanor x
Ruby.xo 18.04.2010 15:14
Exceptional review E. Very belated best wishes for 2010!! x