27 01 2013


It’s a little late for a start of the year post, but after four weeks of leave, I’ve been back at my desk for a week.

To be fair, I’m not really back at my desk.  I’m still in New Zealand, a few more chores to do, some health matters to attend to, but by virtue of my laptop, various internet connections, Skype, email and the general wonders of the world-wide web I’m officially back at work!

Here is a brief glimpse of life in 2013:

  • I don’t have a word for the year.  The year I chose “movement”, I moved to China!  The year I chose “openhearted” I ended up getting biopsies of my lungs!  I’ve chosen some practices, some touchstones that help me check in with myself, but this year no one word seemed to appear…
  • Andrew and I loved having homeleave in the New Zealand summer.  It has been lovely to have time to catch up with people when they are not working and not in school.  Summer sales have also been handy for stocking up on a year’s supply of toiletries, shoes and other hard-to-buy things in Beijing.
  • I love being able to read labels when I go shopping.
  • Feilding, a small town, at the end of the holiday season, in a small supermarket, still had 5 kinds of gluten-free bread on the shelves.  That seemed crazy!  There are many things that ex-pats miss about home.  Coeliac-friendly toast is on my list.
  • Our friends are faithful, generous, hilarious companions and having in-person time with them is a treasure.  We had some very lovely visitors in Beijing in 2012 and some great visits in New Zealand and are looking forward to seeing some more folks in Beijing this year.
  • It is awesome to have parents and siblings and other relatives who are also good friends.
  • Having a 4-year-old niece ask how you know her name (because I’m your aunt and that’s my job) might suggest that there is room for improvement in maintaining relationships with the important children in our life.
  • When your appointment at the bank seems to be dominated by the “personal banking consultant” regaling you with stories of pandas he has seen on Youtube, and very little discussion of anything to do with actual bank accounts, you might feel it wasn’t the most fruitful way to spend 40 minutes of your summer afternoon.
  • When kind friends loan you a diesel van (vanette?) to drive, you feel like you ought to have a youth group in the back.  Given the Johnny Cash soundtrack, anyone who might be in your youth group is probably grateful not to be!

2013: a year that’s off to a good start.





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