2016 a Year in Review
As 2015 was coming rapidly to a close, I made an important decision. The decision was that I was going to move to England and I would be living in London no later than the first of June, 2016. From that moment forward thing move far quicker than I ever imagined they would. By the beginning of March I had given my notice, was in talks for a job in London, and I had gotten my visa in an astounding five day turn around time. I was set to go any time between the 1st and the 30th of April. The next few weeks were a crazy blur of last minute preparations and too many goodbyes. My world packed into a suitcase, a backpack, and a purse, I landed in England on April 26th 2016, and so began the crazy adventure that I am so grateful to be on.
Since arriving, I’ve gotten lost in Amsterdam, danced on tables at Oktoberfest, drank champagne straight from the bottle track side at the Royal Ascot, sang show tunes on the drive up to the Isle of Skye with my best friend, experienced Brighton’s strange post-apocalyptic charm with my family, and had a ruined abbey to myself in Wales. Not to mention all the little moments wandering London’s streets. Finding tiny pockets of space to momentarily call my own. A bench in Kensington Garden, a sandbox with a mojito on South Bank, or just the view from the top of a double decker bus.
More than just travel, it has been all the new people that I have met in the past 8 months that have really made this year as special as it has been. Whether it has been a crazy and chaotic night where we sang and danced until they threw us out or just a sunny after noon sitting in the park, so many people have been a part of my adventure and I feel privileged to have been a part of theirs. There have been celebrations and goodbyes; bitching sessions and Friday night ragers for no other reason than it’s Friday. There are so many stories, photos, songs, moments, in jokes, and memories that I cannot pick just one that defines this experience. As we move into 2017 I know more people will come and go from our transient little expat community, and so to all of you while I can, thank you for being in my life, you mean the world to me.
When I look back at the person I was a year ago, and everything that has happened since, I find myself still slightly amazed that I have ended up where I am now. 2015 was such an awful year of my life, and ready for it or not in 2016 I took a massive risk that I knew was more than a bit kill or cure. In the weeks before I got on that plane to England I started reading Clara Bensen’s novel No Baggage, and a quote from it has really stuck with me: “Maybe I simply needed to get lost in the same way that forests need wildfires to burn away old undergrowth.” 2015 was certainly my wildfire, but I’ve come to realize without it I don’t know if I would have ever taken the mad leap that I did to move here. Perhaps my greatest lesson learned in this past turn around the sun is that we need to take mad leaps every once in a while. To pursue dreams and adventures with a sense of abandon is worthwhile. This life, like this year, will be gone in a blink of an eye so let’s live it while we can.
I don’t know what 2017 has in store, and to be honest, even if I could know I don’t want to. I’m much rather experience it as some gloriously unknown adventure than a controlled to-do list. I have some tentative plans, some ambitions, and more than few dreams. Some of them will happen, and some will stay shelved for later. All I know is that I will continue to sing until my voice is gone, dance for no reason other than the joy of it, get lost as often as possible, and try to live my life with abandon. So 2017, show me what you’ve got.