So this is Christmas…

…and what have you done?

So much, Mr. Lennon, SO VERY MUCH.

2013 is going to go down as one of the best years of my life. It began with a horrifiying moment in a Cairns motel room, when Dad pointed out the plane ticket I’d purchased to spend New Year’s Eve in Canberra was actually dated 31st January, rather than 31st December. Having just arrived from Papua New Guinea mere hours before, I was secretly relieved to not jump on another plane just yet. I went to bed at 10pm on New Year’s Eve – exhausted, culture shocked, dirty and jobless.

Luckily things got better. I landed a job within a couple of weeks, and was told I’d be flying to New Zealand for ‘training’. I’d already booked a trip to Japan, and my flight to Auckland left approximately four hours after my return flight from Tokyo. I spent five days being drunk and/or confused with Nikki on an American naval base in Atsugi prefecture, then at 2am on a Thursday morning found myself lurching into an Auckland hotel and frantically ironing out a nice outfit for the following day. The next morning I launched into my first new job in ten years, and haven’t been happier.

In March one of my best friends in the world married one of my other best friends in the world. I went to my high school graduation with Paul (our version of a prom, I guess) and I met Sammy through a Savage Garden fan site in 1998. I lived in Cairns, she lived in Melbourne. The three of us used to chat on ICQ after school, and when I drifted off on my own nefarious path after high school, the pair of them stayed in contact. Fourteen years later, they’re married. Sammy joked in her wedding speech that she owes me a husband – bitch, damn right you do.

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Just ran over the groom.

 

A couple of weeks after that wedding, Nikki decided she’d had jack of Japan and came back to Australia. We’d both quit our jobs in the same month and had each spent time languishing in foreign countries, so we found ourselves sharing a very similar positive outlook and thirst for life. This culminated in a mid-year jaunt to Las Vegas which quenched our thirst for just about everything. It gave us an even better perspective on life, even though I suspect if we’d stayed there even a couple more days we would’ve wound up dead.

In May another one of my closest friends got married. She’s one of those people who’ve been a positive influence on me since the day I met her, in 2000 in a university share house on the Gold Coast. The wedding was intimate, heartfelt, and ended with a champagne Jacuzzi party.

ImageSometime around July I gave up meat (apart from a brief lapse in Vegas where I ate my body weight in chilli jerky). It was a culmination of watching cute animals being slaughtered in PNG, and my habitual attempts at trying to use fewer resources. Shortly after that I started cutting out eggs and dairy, and let me tell you something – anyone who thinks plant diets will make you look emaciated has been grossly misinformed. If anything I’m becoming more…er, robust. I’m blaming the kale, rather than the avocado, peanut butter, nuts, cocoa butter…

In September I lost my Little Sister. It’s quite a long story – basically her behaviour became too much for her grandmother to deal with, and her aunt volunteered to become her guardian. Unfortunately this aunt decided Katie needed a whole new start, and subsequently ended the relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I asked if it would be ok if I ‘unofficially’ caught up with her occasionally, but was met with the response that her new family was much too busy. They don’t even want the grandmother talking to her, apparently. I was a little pissy to be brushed off like that (and so was grandma, believe me), but in the end if Katie is doing well that’s all that matters. I think my 2014 project will be volunteering with refugees (sorry, ‘asylum seekers’). They have awesome food and can teach me to swear in different languages.

In October, His Royal GOFness deigned to pay me a visit. We climbed a hill, fed camels, planted some vegies and talked a lot of shit. Then I sent him home because he broke my TV remote, and in the process of unclogging my sink he flooded my bathroom cabinet. Bloody men. If you want a job done well…

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Yeah awright, he’s not that bad.

In November I gave up my nutrition, sleep, social life and sanity in favour of NaNoWriMo. This is on par with crystal meth as one of the worst things you can do for your physical and mental health. It was a fantastic challenge, and gave me passion for a few weeks….but da-yum, it’s a lot of effort. On the other hand, it made me realise that writing is something I really love doing. And that I should do more of it. I celebrated my blogging decade this year, and it made me realise how much of my life is written down. On the internet.   

And now it’s December. On Christmas Day (which is tomorrow, incidentally) I’ll be flying up to Cairns, to spend the time on the farm that I was so desperately craving a year ago. I can’t believe what a difference twelve months has made – this time last year I was drowning in fear, uncertainty and self-doubt, and today I’d bet my last bottle of Merlot that I’m the happiest woman on the planet.

To my tiny handful of blogging pals – thank you. Thank you for sharing your world, even though I rarely comment or contribute. Thank you for your insights, your supportive comments and for giving me something to read each lunch hour. I love you guys.

Bring on 2014!

And Merry Christmas, if you’re into that kinda thing. 🙂

Behold my goodies!

Santa’s arrived early at the Inga household!

My goodies are not your goodies.

Get in my belly! Well, maybe not the shot glass.

This would be a US care package from the inimitable Kim, who’s going to find herself with a permanent house guest if she keeps allowing me to sample all her delicious creations (not to mention the wildlife photos and gorgeous scenery). It includes spray cheese, which actually doesn’t taste too bad, considering it’s the “very personification of everything that’s wrong with Western culture.” It went nicely with the jalapenos:

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Admit it, you’re jealous.

I actually just wanted to mix the two together in a bowl and spoon it into my face, but thought I’d better add the wrap to make it a balanced meal.

She was kind enough include some more of her lip-smacking preserves, seeing as the last batch she sent got knocked off by a certain older gentleman who shall remain nameless. I made good use of the plum and rosemary preserve – one spoon with a bit of vodka (measured out with my brand new shot glass), lemon juice, mint and sparkling mineral water. Bam, awesome way to finish a 37 degree Monday (98 degrees for you overseas folk). Cheers, Kim, you rock! *clink*