Tag Archives: friends

The Gratitude List

2 Jan

It’s official. I spend too much time on Twitter. I only joined the site back in June, but it’s already usurped Facebook to win the title of Chief Internet Distraction. But I can’t complain while it continues to give me writing inspiration. For example, when I saw this circulating the other night, I just had to leap onto the bandwagon. People spend a lot of time complaining that social media makes us envious and depressed, as we see how great other people’s lives are. But how often do we stop and think about just how lucky we are? The challenge which was circulating on Twitter was to make a list of 100 things which you’re grateful for from the past year. Now, while I did manage to come up with the required number, I thought that 100 things were a little excessive – I didn’t want anyone falling asleep attempting to plough through the list! So, with a little revision, I’ve condensed it down to ten.

From 2011 I am grateful for:

  1. Old Friends. I spent a large part of the year abroad, and being apart from my friends has shown me how much I care about them (absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that). Being away for a long time also makes for amazing catch-up sessions when you return, one of the highlights being a day of sushi making for my birthday.
  2. New Friends. As I just said, I spent a large part of the year abroad, and I didn’t spend that time sitting in a corner and rocking. The new friends who I found this year are spread out across the world, but in this new age of technology, that won’t stop us from being friends for life.
  3. Family. My “rock god” father, my problem-solving mother, my chick flick-watching brother, and my entire crazy extended family. They may drive me insane most of the time, but I wouldn’t be half the person that I am without them, and I should be more aware of that fact.
  4. Pets. The last three bullet points have covered people, but my pets deserve a special mention too. Everyone needs a furry somebody in their life, and I’m lucky enough to have two!
  5. Home. I’ve lived in many places this year: a flat above a former brothel on the Viennese Gürtel, a detached house in the Home Counties, a tent pitched in the driving rain in the American Berkshire mountains, the “little witch house” in Bamberg, a student bedroom in Durham. All have been home in their own way, and I’m grateful for all of them (well, maybe not the tent, but you get the idea…).
  6. Travel. 2011 has been, without a doubt, a very good year for travelling. I’ve visited eight different countries, climbed the Empire State Building at midnight, drunk  in sports bars in small-town Pennsylvania, crossed Romania by train and bus, and met some incredible people along the way. Travel has always been my passion, and I’m hoping that 2012 allows me to do even more of it.
  7. Education. I’m approaching the end of my final year of university, and although part of me can’t wait to be free (even if I step into the waiting arms of a postgraduate journalism course), part of me will definitely miss geeking it up in language classes and history seminars. Shoddy administration aside, Durham has treated me well over the past few years, and I shall be sorry to say goodbye.
  8. New Experiences. This ties in with the travel somewhat, and if I was to make a comprehensive list of my new experiences last year, it would go on forever! But suffice to say that 2011 has been a year of firsts for me: first rock festival, first CouchSurfing experience, first time travelling in first class, and many many more!
  9. Television. Many of the points on this list have been fairly serious, so I felt the need to be at least a little flippant. My favourite television shows cheer me up when I’m feeling blue, give me something about which to natter to my friends, and have provided the inspiration for many a blog post.
  10. You. I’ve loved developing this blog over the past six months, and watching my readership grow. So to everyone who has read, commented, subscribed, and generally made me feel good about myself as my stats have climbed: thank you! You’re all responsible for my inflated ego!

What are you grateful for? If this post inspires you to make your own list, please do leave a link to it in the comments!

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Five Things To Do This Summer

11 Jul

Having read the Huffington Post’s article on the five best things to do alone this summer, I’ve been inspired to make my own summer to do list. Some of this is work-related, and is currently glaring down at me from my notice board, but some of it is fun, and I’ve put my five top things on here for everyone to read.

Spend time with friends.

This is a big one. It’s always high on my to do list when I come back from uni for the summer, but this year it’s especially high as I’ve been abroad for most of the year, thereby spending even less time with my friends than I’d like. Plus it’s my 21st birthday in less than a weeks and what better way to celebrate than by throwing a HUGE party? Or even better, a small party, but with sushi? (Note to self: Stop valuing sushi above friends!)

Get more exercise. 

Before I went to university I never exercised. At all. There was a good reason for this. Going to an all-girls’ school, exercise for me was invariably associated with “female-appropriate” sports like hockey and netball and desperately trying to change into your kit without flashing the other hundred girls in the changing room. But at university I discovered that not all exercise was like that, and as I’m meant to be president of my university aikido club next year, it might help if I can actually participate in our (quite frankly gruelling) warm-ups without passing out. Time to get out my brother’s Wii Fit I think!

BAKE!!!

Baking isn’t something I do often (mostly because whenever I want to do it I turn out not to have half of the ingredients I need) but it is something I enjoy doing. Last week my friend and I set up shop in my kitchen as The Incompetent Bakers and after a string of disasters involving too dry dough, too sticky dough and dough that was completely caked in flour because we put too much on the table, we produced a stack of alphabet gingerbread, which we used to make Harry Potter-related sentences on the table (it was the day before the premiere and we couldn’t afford to go. Displacement activity). Next week we’re making fairy cakes. I predict that we’ll end up covered in flour and icing sugar. I’m hoping to be proved wrong.

Make photo albums

I’ve been clearing out my wardrobe recently, and I found a lot of photos from family holidays 6-10 years ago. The years before I had a digital camera. Since then I’ve taken thousands of photos, but most of them have never left my computer’s hard drive. So this summer I’m going to print a load out and spend a few days sticking them into albums. Now I just have to choose which of the thousands I want to print off – and that’ll probably take longer than organising them into the albums!

Go to the beach

Apparently in the UK you are never further than 72 miles than the sea, but from my home town in the middle of the Berkshire countryside it feels pretty far away. But this summer my friends and I are going to fulfill a promise we’ve been making to each other since we’ve been able to drive – we are going to get a car and drive to the coast. The only problem is getting a day when it isn’t raining – gotta love British weather!