2011 in Review

The idea to write a year in review by was inspired by my lovely hubby. In 2011 I was most likley listening to Taylor Swift’s Speak Now album (over and over again), so to get me back in 2011 mode, I decided to listen to it.

So, in 2011, I turned 25, I discovered volunteering, I delivered an online campaign, I documented my day to day stuff and I danced, well zumbad, a lot. Oh! And we moved overseas, became landowners and started on a brand new adventure. And I’m writing this in markdown, so we’ll see if it ends up looking like I want it to!

Dear diary

I kicked off the year by writing in OhLife, an online journal that sends you an email everyday at 8pm (for me) asking “It’s Monday, Jan 3 – How did your day go?”. Over time, it started emailing me “Here’s what you wrote yesterday…” then “last week”, “last month” and yesterday it said “Here’s what you did last year”. It’s amazing to think I have managed to write in it everyday for a year! For my entries I wanted to write about the positive things in my day, or at least try too. I find that I often get stuck in my own head and tend to dwell on negative aspects of day to day life. Looking back now, it’s nice seeing what I did one month earlier, if something crappy did happen, at least I knew I was able to deal with it.

Since OhLife is more of a self reflection thing, last year I started sharing the random day to day stuff from what I do, eat and see. So when hubby discovered Instagram, I had a bit too much fun taking way too many photos. I’ve taken 325 photos and I most of my photos are either of hubby, Jacob or food 🙂 It’s a nifty little app and very handy.

Another photo project I got into was the joy of LOVE, a 28 day project in February where photographer, Willette emailed the participants everyday for a “photo assignment”. I used the project to get back into taking photos and figuring out how to use our DSLR. I started blogging about the project and taking photos, and did well for the first twenty-one days. It was good fun, and hubby is a very obedient model.

Show me the money

Workwise in 2011, I started the year with two part time jobs (in the same organisation), splitting my time and brain space between different tasks. One of the tasks was to manage the online campaign to fight negative Body Image. As part of the campaign, I got to organise an Avant Card campaign, a dream I’ve had since high school, a lovely launch and I even had my first radio interview.

After the campaign finished, I worked as the Violence Against Women and their Children Advisory Group Communications Officer for three months and then had a bit of a lull. I then volunteered for Working Wonders, an NGO that receives pre loved office clothes to help women in the community get back on their feet. I really enjoyed reorganising the clothing store room! It was so lovely to see women’s confidence grow as I helped find them clothes for an interview.

Back in July, we bought into hubby’s second love as he became one of the directors of Icelab 🙂 . It’s pretty awesome to be part of something that Tim literally lives and breathes. I’m also a very proud wife, being married to such a clever hubby who created DecafSucks for the iPhone.

So, in between the jobs, and figuring out what to do with the rest of the year, I started finally tracking our finances using xero. A great web app with neat little graphs. We also started going paperless-ish, I started going a bit too organise crazy and scanned everything using Doxie. This all worked out very well as I enjoy all the nitty gritty numbers stuff plus I had the time. It felt good to stay top of our finances and figure out what we needed to save so we can travel in the next couple of years. Speaking of life planning and organising finances I attended the 10thousandgirl workshop. It was an awesome workshop and so well facilitated. Participating in the workshops was one of the best things that I’ve tried. The exercises and the things you have to think about worked out so well. Again, great timing and it was comforting that I actually had the answers all along, and what I was doing was all okay.

A healthy change

2011, was totally the year of trying out new things, in May, hubby and I started the Paleo diet. Now, I’m a tiny person and have never been a fan of diets. But from what the interwebs was saying it was worth a shot. It was a lifestyle choice, not to lose weight. And my god the first couple of weeks were not fun! I realised I ate too many 3pm chocolate bars causing me to be cranky, tired and not fun to be around come home time. I also loved to bake so the idea of not baking cookies and cupcakes was a sad reality. But with all the time on my hands I found kick ass recipes for all things bakeable. The best by far are Elana’s Pantry and Nom Nom Paleo. And I think if it wasn’t for that the adjustment to Paleo wouldn’t have gone as smoothly. We experimented with almond flour, all things coconut and even meatza. We also managed to keep eating all my faves: crackers, strawberry cupcakes and pork chops (fat and all). Going Paleo has made a big difference in my energy levels, I didn’t get sick and overall I just feel so much better.

In between baking, taking a break and being a bum, I would always look forward to Mondays with Jacob and PJ. It has been my privilege and absolute delight to hang out with my little nephew Jacob. I was there when he went from being completely amused as he sat in his diaper, dummy in mouth rocking away on a neighing horse to discovering how to use (and see himself) a video camera. His laughing, drawing and non stop chatter has been one of the highlights of my year. And as he naps I would vent, chat and share my plans with sister PJ.

Just Breathe

A week before I finished up my contract in March, I tried out a “life coach”. Turns out he was really a breathing couch, and for that, he was very good. He got me into the routine of meditation. And, he told me that it’s okay that your mind wanders when you’re meditating. I’m now so much better at keep my thoughts at bay, which is so good!

I also got into trying different kinds of yoga, which goes hand in hand with meditation. I also went to several of my sister’s Simplicity Retreats, which is such a great way to give yourself “me-time”, perfect getaway without the hassle. On the flip side, I tried Zumba and hubby wanted to give it a go. Such a great work out as it’s literally non stop dancing! You’re also too busy to watch anyone else but the teacher and it was the best stress reilef.

Operation big move

In July, I found that I had been selected to become an AYAD. So for the next three months there was a whirlwind of non stop activities. For 36 days leading up to the big move I took a photo of what I did every single day, I called it the 36 Day Project. There were to do lists, farewells, packing, moving back to my room in my parents house, more packing, eating, reaorganising and about a gazillion other things. So by the end of October, we packed up our life in Canberra and made our way to the lucious, tropical islands of the Philippines.

Adjusting to life here has been a lot harder than what I thought it would be. Not only is it adjusting to the climate, culture and cusine but being away from everything that is familar and for the friends and family I miss every day. But we’re getting there, and we’ve seen and eaten amazing things already.

Talisay is now starting to feel like home and I love that my beautiful AYAD buddies are just a text away! And technology is so awesome these days that my family is just a Skype away, my besties are an iMessage away and lets face it everyone is on Facebook, so support and comfort is never too far away. But mostly, for 2011 I am over the moon happy that my beautiful Tim is with me always. It’s been exciting, terrifying, exhausting, enjoyable, sad and about a million other emotions, but overall it’s been pretty darn good! From sunsets, jeepney rides, 3in1 coffees to setting up our first house, as long as we have eachother (and the internet), we’ll be okay.

To 2012 – let’s make it another awesome one!

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