Looking Back on 2017

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Happy new year!!

Last year I reflected on my own experience of 2016. So, I thought I’d do the same for 2017. Because why not. I’ll also be focusing on the positives, because although there have been moments of fear and sadness, I like to end the year on a high note. Again, I won’t be touching on what has happened in the wider world, so this will be very self-centred post all about myself so hi 😉

I will however just comment on Time’s person of the year: the women who broke the silence. And the men. This hopefully will be the start of men, like the criminals named, realising than women are not to be owned. And us pussies grab back.

First, I will go back to what goals I set for myself for 2017:

Graduate

I DID! Of sorts, I still went on to start an extra Erasmus semester, which I will finish in February. But hey, I put on a fancy dress, received a certificate at the graduation ceremony, and got really drunk. And what else is graduation but that?

Travel

5 countries, 4 of them new. I am still anxious about travelling outside of Europe with a chronic illness, but I’m not scared scared. I’m mainly just too poor to afford any return flights above £100.

Non-Moon Face

I had begun to forget what my normal face looked like, and I am slightly convinced the prednisolone has permanently altered the shape of my face, but I can look in the mirror again with confidence again. YAY! I spent most of the past year feeling out of place and far too insecure, I’m glad that is behind me.

So what else am I proud of?

Moved abroad (again)

This time to a country I’ve never visited – Germany! It is, of course, very different to Spain but I am really enjoying the vibe of Berlin. I was nervous because a week before moving I was in the hospital again due to lupus, and I was worried the flying and stress of adjusting would make me too ill to enjoy my first weeks. But it was all fine, and I am sorry I will only be here until March.

Became an Amnesty International UK Country Coordinator

I always say working for Amnesty is the ultimate dream goal, but getting this voluntary role is also just as awesome. I work on the West and Central Africa team, designing campaigns and keeping in contact with many offices, and it feels like incredible responsibility entrusted to a girl who can only just about take care of herself. But it’s also huge for me, because I applied two years ago and was rejected, but given advice on how to be successful in the future. Which I took on, and HELLO. So, always get feedback from interviews even if it’s an unpaid role.

One (sort of job) offer and an internship offer!

I’ve been applying to various jobs in the hope I can score something before I finish my studies. And, after a strange interview including a colour preference test, logical puzzles, a written exercise, and an interview in which the woman only ever asked about the time I worked as a a zombie for a tourist attraction, I was sort of successful! As I won’t be free until March, they said they can only let me know in February if they will take me on.

However, just before Christmas I was offered a 5 month internship with the Federation of Young European Greens! In Brussels! I will be helping them with their work to engage young people with Green politics on a European level, and I get to spend some time in the EU Parliament, which is very close to the European Greens office! So exciting, I’m still shocked that I received the offer. And it looks like another city/country is on the cards!

Haven’t had a major lupus flare up

I’ve had blips -including missing vital classes and needing trips to hospital a couple of times, but I am happy to stay that I am still flare-free since my diagnosis!

Saw two great people get married

One good friend from undergrad started dating his other half in our first year, and this summer I was honoured to be one of their guests at their beautiful wedding. It fills my cold, cynical heart with joy seeing two of the loveliest people so happy together, and I also drank so much but didn’t feel like death the next day so everyone’s a winner.

Had a moment of brief internet fame

My sister recommended me to send my post on experiencing a moon face to a well known website – so I sent it to The Mighty (which is great, and covers all mental and physical health). The response from the FB share was huge, people were thanking me for writing it, and sharing their own experiences. I hadn’t thought much of the post originally, it was just me whining about my face, but seeing how so many people could relate was overwhelming. Even friends saw it and contacted me after, saying they had no idea how shitty I felt. And I should thank my sister for telling me to share it with others.

Two training scheme places accepted

Well, technically the first I was accepted end of 2016 – the Young Greens 30 under 30 training scheme which I completed this year. I got to visit Brussels, meet new people, and realise more about my own political beliefs. I also have been accepted onto Charity Apprentice 2018 – this I hope will really help me gain experience and skills for non-profit work.

Realised more about what I want career wise

When I was about to graduate with my Bachelor’s – I was so unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I had thought about teaching, publishing, editing, journalism – all the typical English Literature jobs but nothing really appealed to me. I had started to think about non-profit work, and my mind focused on this. Human rights has long been a passion of mine, but this year I started to think also about International Development. If I can put my knowledge, and frankly privileged, life to good use for others, I will be fulfilled. Only now I am desperately trying to catch up on experience, because the job market is tough!

So phew, I can look back on this year and feel incredibly happy. But what about 2018?

Finish my MA officially

Complete and defend my dissertation, and hopefully get a good grade. Complete this semester in Berlin with good grades. We shall see…

Get a job

The thought of a disposable income again is so exciting it’s kinda sad.

Settle in a place?

I love that I have had these opportunities to live in different countries and cities – and a part of me wishes that I could continue this. But, volunteering for Amnesty means that they expect me to stay in the UK to fully commit, and the role has already done wonders for my CV and learning more about Amnesty’s work. Also, as I was ill just before moving to Berlin, it put things into perspective – I have to know my limits. And it’s exhausting having to constantly register with different doctors, explain my situation, and worry that the stress of moving could trigger something. Maybe for a while, I should stay put. After Brussels.

Stay in touch with friends

Living in different cities has allowed me to befriend wonderful people from all over the world. But it also means when we part ways, we don’t know when (if) we’ll ever meet again. Therefore, I have to make extra effort to keep up to date with their lives, because they have been a huge part of mine.

Keep better touch with family

I always feel bad for not texting/calling, but I should turn that feeling of guilt into actually doing something. I am lucky to have such a kind, mad, family, and I should make sure I make the most of it.

Get back into cooking

Living abroad makes me miss all my kitchen equipment in storage, and in Spain I lacked proper ovens, and even now there is no grill (or toaster!). I also went into super healthy mode since my diagnosis, which is great but means I am more focused on getting all my nutrients in easy meals, rather than experimenting and using cooking as a de-stresser like I used to. But I would love to get back into trying out new recipes again.

Succeed at Charity Apprentice

This year the course is free, but we have to raise £1500 – a very daunting task! So I can only hope that I will manage this, and all the other tasks the course will entail.

Happy New Year everybody! I hope it brings luck, happiness, and wonderful moments!

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