I’m so lucky to work at a large university, where the Student Union fully embraces all manner of cultural celebrations and events on a regular basis. Today I’ve been enjoying all things Chinese on campus in honour of the Chinese New Year; including lantern making, calligraphy and free fortune cookies.
Large, red lanterns had been hung everywhere and there was a real festival atmosphere amongst excited students and staff alike. The highlight for me was the performance of the Lion Dance, accompanied with a drum so loud you could feel every beat inside your body. It was a truly amazing experience.
Mother Nature blessed the event with blue skies and sunshine, which some might say was due to all of the good luck and fortune associated with such displays. With the Lion Dance completed it was then time for the Dragon, which made it’s way all around the site before returning to great applause. I just love days like this…
It’s been a busy start to 2017 and I can’t believe that the first half of January is almost behind me. Having bid farewell to self-employment at the end of 2016, my salaried job role is taking up most of my time these days, which is really positive. There’s a massive amount to learn, and at times I feel as if my brain will burst, but along with the challenges there are more than enough rewards to make up for it, and being part of a team is a dream come true.
My shifts are longer than I’m used to, but this became a lot easier once I settled back into my new routine after the Christmas break, and the bonus is that I’m getting fitter. I’m slowly getting used to the sheer volume of business meetings I’m now attending, along with various training days, and although my schedule is filling up with work it’s also being filled with fun stuff such as the monthly team breakfasts, and will soon include an ‘away day’!
Never in a million years did I ever imagine that my life could change so quickly and dramatically, which just goes to show that you never know what’s just around the next corner. If you want to move upwards you have to move forwards…
When you receive an email from your new company offering fast-tracked promotions for a select few; and clearly you’re one of those they wish to promote; it comes as a bit of a shock, especially when you’ve only been working there for a year. To be honest, I had to read the email several times before it sank in, and even then I thought it had to be a clerical error, but apparently not.
My knee-jerk reaction would normally be to take up the offer, and within a week acquire a senior status. However, the reality is that with just twelve months worth of experience I currently feel under-equipped for the role, and I need at least one more year under my belt before I’ll be confident enough to take on such an important job. While the extra cash would be great, of course, and it’s a huge compliment to be asked, sometimes you just need to slow the pace down a little. Although I won’t be attending the required training this time, I haven’t turned down the promotion, I’ve simply put it on hold until I’m ready for the next big step. No matter how tempting, it’s not a particularly good idea to start running before you’ve mastered the art of walking.
It’s one thing when your favourite famous people start dropping like flies; Lemmy (saw Motorhead in the 80s) and David Bowie (it was just a couple of weeks ago when I was watching Labyrinth for the umpteenth time) and then Harry Potter’s ‘Professor Snape’ (my ‘weird crush‘); but it’s quite another when the people you hung out with during your teens are suddenly taken far too soon. These aren’t lads and lasses who were several years older than me, but people my age for goodness sake! Even though I’m no spring chicken, I’m not exactly reaching for the zimmer frame just yet, but the sad news of old friends passing away is a very unwelcome reminder that our time on this planet is relatively brief.
With this sobering thought in mind, I’m now more determined than ever to go way out of my comfort zone from now on, cramming as much as I can into each day, each week, each month… I want to explore new places, meet new people, do exciting new things and really LIVE my life. As from today I’ll be seriously raising my game, and seeing just what this middle aged peroxide blonde is actually capable of. Bring it on!
Well, the past 12 months have been another roller-coaster ride but thankfully there’s been decidedly more ups than downs. With rather more medical woes than I could ever have imagined, 2015 was, at times, both a physical and emotional challenge, but thanks to the support from my wonderful family and friends (and a wide variety of NHS specialists) the year has ended with a more positive outlook for the future.
Socially, I’ve been to so many new places that my geography has improved enormously. I’ve enjoyed lots of day trips here, there and everywhere, and been treated to the fabulous Britishness of ‘afternoon tea’. Further afield I’ve travelled to Wales and enjoyed my seventh holiday in the Canary Islands! I’ve been introduced to the concept of pub quizzes and have been fortunate enough to have been on the winning team on more than one occasion. I’ve accepted awards on behalf of a local community project that I volunteer for on two separate occasions and I’ve also discovered a new and exciting genre that I can merrily indulge in – Steampunk.
Financially, things have taken a dramatic turn too, with a brand new job in addition to the freelance work I was already doing. Technically I’ve successfully completed several DIY tasks all by myself and have finally dragged myself into the 21st Century with a new smartphone. I’m pleased that I managed to achieve everything on my ‘To Do’ list for 2015, so for 2016 I’ve set the bar even higher. I now begin a brand new year full of excitement and anticipation, wondering what wonderful new adventures the next twelve months will bring… Happy New Year!
I must be doing something right at my new job, as it appears that I’ve now been head-hunted by another department. I found out that my services were required via an email out of the blue, and I had to pinch myself when I realised who it was from – one of the administrators in a brand spanking new, multi-million pound building, which has only been open a couple of months. I had a sneaky peek inside it a few weeks ago and was overawed with it’s magnificence … and I’ll now be freelancing in it!
The even better part is that it fits in perfectly with my other work, so it’ll simply be an additional source of income as and when I’m needed. OMG, it even has actual palm trees inside, yes, real palm trees! It’ll be like having a holiday but getting paid to be there. I’m so stupidly excited I feel I could burst at any minute. Woo hoo…!
Less than 24 hours after my posh night out on the town, I was sober enough to pop round a friend’s place to admire her recently re-decorated home. Never knew I could be quite so jealous of someone else’s wallpaper! As caffeine seems a decent cure for a hangover it was an ideal scenario to put the world to rights over a coffee, while enjoying extremely yummy fresh cream cakes filled with raspberries, followed by flapjacks topped with toffee and marshmallows. Thank heavens for elasticated waistbands.
Seeing what a great job my mate’s done has now made me start thinking about new ideas and possible colour schemes for my own pied-a-terre. I don’t have a vast budget and will be limited by what I can achieve by myself, but I think that by next spring I’ll have managed to put together a few ideas and give the old place a bit of a re-vamp. There’s nothing like the idea of a new project on the horizon for firing up the creative juices. How exciting!