It started with a journey - first across the Donnington Bridge by bicycle, then to Africa. People write of that first view, of the descent at dawn into Kenya; but I was fast asleep. We thawed out on an island under the auspices of mosquito nets and equatorial heat. Later we drove north out of Nairobi and stayed for a week on the shores of a lake that turned purple in the evening and heaved with hippos. Back in England the cold had become less sharp; it had settled in for the season, become comfortable, while I had become lazy and rather weary. At a certain point it occurred to me that it was no longer emotionally or financially sustainable to stay how I was but nothing much happened about it. I got older and more desperate and still nothing much happened for awhile, until I was denied a visa, granted a visa, and offered freelance work in a short span of time. My parents came to visit and suddenly it was warmer and a volcano erupted and I graduated in a flowing black gown and blue-and-cream hood.
After more than two years, I handed in my notice at the Admin Job, and the freelance work turned into a Proper Job, and the Man and I celebrated three years together and we went to Hay on Wye with friends and didn't buy quite as many books as usual but had a nice time drinking coffee and going to lectures about philosophy. My bank, worried that I had been spending rather more money than usual in Wales, cancelled my debit card.
The spring turned into a giddy summer. We attended a christening and then, later that day, sat backstage at a Blondie gig drinking beers. We listened to a lot of music and watched World Cup games outside at our local pub, crouched near the barbecue. Just as it was getting really, properly English-hot, we fled to Fez, where it was even hotter, where we stayed with friends and squeezed fresh oranges for juice and sat on the rooftop late at night watching the moon shine on minarets.
We went to a festival and sat in the grass getting drunk on sunshine and had to sprint for our train. Then we stayed in the countryside for awhile, feeding pigs and walking dogs. The Man's grandmother passed away. We went to Toronto, where it was summer-sticky and seductively live-able. We came home to the cooling down of September; I started to run seriously again, and then sustained my first proper running injury and took up swimming instead and fell in love with the sensation. I started ranting on my blog, instead of just privately to the Man after every Saturday afternoon spent in the pub with the papers. My mother visited us on her way back from Turkey. My uncle passed away after a short battle with cancer and I felt the distance between California and Oxford.
I wrote 50,000 words in a month and danced all night and went to the Isle of Wight and then discovered, one morning, that it was winter again, although I had not really given it permission to be winter again yet. We went to dinners and Christmas parties and house gigs and then found ourselves in New York. Then we flew to California for the first time in two-and-a-half-years and it rained a bit but we still went for a walk on the beach for Christmas Eve. I saw family and friends and we celebrated on the ranch with steak, red wine, cheese, and a bottle of champagne and here we are, arrived in the New Year.