Au revoir 2018

Time for my annual bit of self-indulgence – talking about my year and what I liked about it.

It was quite a surreal year, personally. I completed a dream internship with the Green Party in the EU Parliament, which always seemed something only available to those with connections in the right places. Instead, they saw my CV and for reasons I’ll never understand chose me. Which led to not only a fantastic 5 months where I learned so much about my passions, but also has given such a boost to my CV I am eternally grateful. And, it led to my internship at the Council of Europe, anther opportunity only seeming available to the elite. Not to say I don’t have my privileges, but these opportunities were never suggested to me or my peers when I was growing up. Although I have had frustrations with my current internship in terms of not being given enough work or responsibility, it has expanded my skill set and helped carve out my path for the next adventure.

So for me, 2018 was a success. I continued making friends from different backgrounds, and I feel more confident to pursue my career dreams. My self-esteem has increased since the days my lupus medication totally messed with my looks, although I will forever remain shy and awkward.

What was sad was not being able to say a proper goodbye to my old dog Maisie, who was put down in November after about 15 years of living with us. She was always the sweetest and most gentle creature.

Looking outward, I am terrified of the world and current state of affairs. The UK is (metaphorically) on fire and dousing itself in petrol instead of water. I joke about staying in Brexile, but the resulting laughter and empathy I experience from my non-British friends shows that the UK is not as much as a dream destination to live anymore. I am proud to be part of a left-wing, eco-movement to stand against the attempts of the far right to become normalised. I like to think we are winning.

So, I will reflect on my 2018 goals that I set out for myself:

Finish my MA officially

It is done and dusted, and I passed with grades I’m pretty darn proud of.

Get a job

Pfft, I am about to take on my third internship. Because seriously, it goes from internship to requiring 3 years experience in my field of work. But, with luck, my next internship could turn into a longer term contract so that will give me decent experience and stability.

Settle in a place?

Oh lordy lord….I didn’t settle after Brussels, and now I am returning to Brussels. It could be a longer term thing than before, which is exciting but also terrifying. I am still unsure where exactly I would like to establish roots, but for now Brussels is where the work is.I have loved experiencing new places, and although it feels a little sad to not continue that, it is also emotionally exhausting so I think this will do me some good.

Stay in touch with friends

I saw friends I hadn’t seen in ages and it was so nice, and also taking the time to catch up with many and finding out more about the trials and tribulations, and celebrations! But with friends all over the world, it is a slow and steady process to touch base with all.

Keep better touch with family

I would have succeeded at this more if my Granny wouldn’t unplug the phone so no one could call her. But the other grandparents appreciate receiving calls more!

Get back into cooking

Well I totally forgot this was ever a goal for 2018… Aside from prepping healthy meals to take to work, and dedicating weekends to preparing curries or chillies, my cooking is still not as adventurous as it used to be.

Succeed at Charity Apprentice

Ahahaha….this was a total fail. And by fail I mean I was kicked off the course. My bad… But in all honesty I wasn’t able to keep on top of a course designed for UK residents, and on top of my first full time job since graduating/being diagnosed with lupus. I was doing well until I had two weeks away for work in one month, and struggling to complete a film event task (because it was literally impossible to hire a film license in Belgium) – I couldn’t stay up to date when all I wanted to do was sleep when I got home. I’m disappointed I didn’t succeed, but the content and skills from the course I think would have been more useful had I not taken up my internship in Brussels – instead I learnt the skills through work. It’s a nice course I would recommend, but I think it is better for students or people who have zero experience in activism.

And with 2018 done and dusted, I can set goals for 2019…

Improve my foreign language skills

If I want to continue working in an international environment, I have to stop blaming the poor UK education system for languages and get serious. Although I wish I could improve Spanish, it is clear that I need to instead focus on French.

Save Money

Self-explanatory really.

Travel more

Contradicts with the above goal, but oh well. I have invites to Canada and West Africa, so it would be rude not to take these opportunities up. Not to mention I would love to visit Latin America again, and finally travel to East and South Asia as I have dreamed of. And the Nordic countries! Really, everywhere.

Improve my public speaking

I freeze up the second someone wants me to talk in front of more than 2 people, even though I’ve been giving presentations for years. So, this needs to change.

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