ABC of 2013

Reflection before resolution. A spoonful of the alphabet helps the process go down.

Adventure…travelling, learning, new opportunities and falling in love. What a year!
Blog…2013 was lots of fun on here. My 3 most popular posts of the year: I Got a D and Became a Butterfly, All the Single Ladies (from 2012) and Lose the Lads’ Mags.
City of Belfast…’nesting’ and feeling at home can be difficult for a TCK, but in 2013 I referred to Belfast as ‘home’ more than ever before and am acquainted with, and fond of, this city, warts (rather evident, at present) and all.

Dan…I met a boy at the end of 2012 who had really cute dimples, an extraordinary mind, a courageous spirit, a loving heart and a generous and strong character. In 2013, he became my boyfriend, my best friend, my favourite person in the whole wide world and the one to whom I got…

Engaged…I said ‘yes’ when he proposed (in French!) at Montmartre on October 23rd.

Flowerbomb…a trivial point, but after years of airport-spraying, I finally own a bottle of this Viktor & Rolf elixir of delightfulness. AND I LOVE IT.
Growing…I’ve been stretched and challenged in 2013. Personally AND professionally – I have a thirst for more of that. So in 2013 I started developing a network of people who would help me grow…I’ll let you know how I get on in 2014!
Housemates…after a lovely year (including a month of only eating local produce,) Charlotte moved out of our cosy little house in September to marry the wonderful Andy. Emma and I carried on together and she wrote this brave post about how this year has been for her last week. Our spare room became a place for people to crash in and we loved it.
Italy…is probably still my favourite country, especially after a visit to Rome in April. This could have even somewhat disastrous as it was the first holiday Dan and I went on together, but both the city and my travel buddy were amazing.

Jobs…I continued to work at Caterpillar with some of the best and wackiest people I know until September, when I moved into the first staff role at No More Traffik (NI’s first homegrown anti-trafficking NGO) and in doing so was given the chance to work my dream job as development manager.

Kitchen…I mastered the art of the roast dinner and found that baking is my therapy.
Learning…being in a relationship like no other has meant learning how to communicate, relate and love in new ways. Being in my new role has meant learning to manage people, develop strategy and think outside the box. Life being at a new stage means learning to be a friend in different ways – for example, what does one bring to a housewarming party?
Miserables, Les… No, seriously.
No More Traffik…had an amazing year. You can read about it here.
Oh…I don’t know what to say for this letter.
Paris…is definitely my favourite city. Dan and I popped over in October and had such a fun stay…possibly because we got engaged when we were there, but also because, well, it’s Paris!

Question…”How can I stop human trafficking?” is my most frequently heard question. The answer, I have found, is simple: use what is in your hands. This is true of other tragedies and injustices also. Identify two things: what is wrong, and what is in your hands, and go from there. You are valuable and you have a part to play.
Rio…an unexpected trip to Brazil’s stunning capital for a global gathering of Stop the Traffik that stretched and inspired, and about which I wrote here. My friend Mel came too, and blogged about it here.

Soap…another random one, but my skin has had its best year since I was a teenager thanks to this magical bar of mud. Thank you Dead Sea.
Toes…mine were bared in mild and monstrous weather conditions as Dan and I (and occasional guests) made a point of ‘extreme paddling’ when we saw the sea (which, living in NI, is fairly often).

U-turn…I was all set to move to Geneva for a great job this summer, but plans changed and I stayed in NI in the hope that my job at NMT would concretise. This was a big risk which taught me that it’s ok to change your plans and dream daringly.
Voice…I used mine, which can be difficult to do, especially when it involves against the flow or taking a risk. But I wrote here and for other publications, spoke at events and on the radio and my vocal cords grew a little stronger as I did.
Wilson…2013 was my last full year as one! Parents taking on new projects and making sure their new house is an oasis for us, and a sister pursuing her dream of qualifying as a nurse and changing the world in the process: I love them.

XXVI…in November I officially passed the quarter-of-century point.
You…interacting with the online (some of whom are also offline) friends who very kindly take the time to engage with my posts has been so enriching. Thanks for sharpening me in conversation. Let’s do it again: how’s 2014 looking for you?
Zyzzyva…is an actual word. Look it up. Happy New Year!

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