HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As you may have noticed I did not post a ‘happy and positive’ post for December, simply because there was so much going on I could not get around to it. However I thought I would do a 2017 round up post instead.
There are always going to be certain years that feel as if you didn’t do much. The truth is we are just comparing them to other years, which had more milestones; 2017 was one of those years. However, I think it’s so important to review each year and realise that actually you did more than you thought; you may just surprise yourself.
2017 was a great year for seeing multiple friends and family which, for someone who lives abroad is always so important as not all expats are able to see their relatives as often. I rang in 2017 with my parents and brother, we danced and sang as loudly as we could at the Rathaus Silvesterparty before heading back to our holiday apartment to count down to the new year, just the four of us.
For Spring break I flew back to the UK for the first time since moving to Vienna and saw my Grandparents who are so dear to me, before flying out to Sweden with my Mum and Nan to Gothenburg in Sweden where my Nan lived in when she was around 16 years old. It was incredible to return to the house she lived in almost 65 years later and learn more about her life at that time. It was also an opportunity to visit Mum’s cousins and their families whom I had never met before.
In June I flew back to Scotland to visit Nicole aka Colbie; one of my best friends, reunited with old work friends and explored Edinburgh almost a year after leaving it. I was so excited to see my favourite city and even squealed when getting on the bus I used to take to work most days! I then returned back home for summer in where I spent time with many family members; did some awesome road trips in the Highlands with Colbie, spent time with my family and most importantly, my dogs.
In November my cousin got married so I hopped on a plane to head to Bristol for a weekend and saw lots many cousins, aunts, uncles and new family members. There is nothing like a dance floor to really make the Latham family come together and boy did we make the most of it. Christmas and New year was another family filled time and we had a good laugh playing games, watching movies and trying to avoid the extremely low ceiling of our holiday cottage – no seriously it was impossible to move around and my brother, Grandad, Dad and I spent the time either ducking or walking around bent double (or just neither and hitting our heads anyway…)
Whilst 2016 was a big year in terms of travel and moving abroad, 2017 did see some awesome places too. As well as traveling to Sweden I also ticked Slovenia off my list of countries to visit. It was the most amazing week that combined lots of activities with lots of relaxation, plus the weather was STUNNING which made it entirely worth it.
As much as I take Scotland for granted now after having lived there so long, it was pretty cool to drive around parts of the Highlands instead of being a back seat passenger. Over summer we visited Mallaig and went over the Glenfinnan viaduct seen in the Harry Potter movies, took millions of photos in the dress up area at Cromarty Jail, took the single lane road to the Falls of Foyers, walked the dogs along Dores Beach and ordered amazing desserts from the Dores Inn.
When you live in an area for so long and transport is not easily accessible (ie you can’t drive and the bus service is more than unreliable) you become bored of it, yet when you can finally explore the little towns that have so much to offer and aren’t as far as you think, you do start to see where you have lived in a whole new light.
I have got to know some wonderful new people in Vienna this year. I met Carly who I admired before I even moved here due to her Austrian Adaptation blog. She’s been so helpful to me in providing advice in getting this blog up and running and creating the Vienna Collective for anyone in Vienna that needs a little creative hub to ask questions and share ideas. She’s also awesome at knowing incredible bars and cafes for meet ups. I also got to meet Michelle who runs Michelle Mock photography in November when she took some stunning photographs of me so that I can start updating this blog with professional photos (which I also doubled up as gifts for my parents so that hopefully they take down those awful ones of me we had done when I was sixteen…). She is absolutely hilarious and the joy really comes out in the photos. There is even one she took of me laughing because just before she took the photo she whispered “that tourist has a leaf on her butt…”
Finally, I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Holly who has the kindest soul and not a bad word to say about anyone. She has also set up UShine Vienna this year in order to try and tackle mental health in Vienna through seminars, talks and story sharing sessions. She’s also become my coffee and cake buddy and quite frankly what’s better than coffee, cake and good company?
I did not see as much theatre or new films as I would have liked in 2017 (in part because seeing theatre is difficult when you don’t understand the language), however I did manage to watch the performance of Room; the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name. It was a piece of theatre I thought I would never see, considering I chose to design that novel for the stage as part of dissertation topic discussing stage adaptations of novels. It has been my favourite book for years and after developing a stage concept of it over a period of a few months, I was surprised to see so many similarities to my design and was extremely pleased with their version. I also saw ‘The Orient Express’ in cinemas just before Christmas which was incredible. A great cast and brilliantly shot and it was clear to see it was a big budget movie.
2016 was the year I applied for and started my job here in Vienna but in 2017 I progressed into a role with more responsibility. Considering I have never stayed in a job for longer than a year (not due to boredom, simply because a better opportunity was offered to me), it did feel really good to be able to progress within my work place. I was also asked if I would be interested in assisting the EAL (English as an additional language) department within the primary years which I accepted. I now support children in different grades in their classrooms which I am particularly enjoying and has brought something new to the position.
In the last term of the 2016-2017 school year, my junior drama club completed their final project of producing their own story for which they created their own characters and helped to develop the storyline. Their drawings were then animated and they recorded the script in a studio and all the parts were edited together to create this final video. It just goes to show that you can still develop amazing things even with a smaller group. This year I have a much larger class and am looking forward to where we can take it next.
My new year’s goal for 2017 was to read more and whilst 21 books to some people might seem like a lot, for me it was significantly more than I had read in a long time. Books of note included ‘For one more day‘ by Mitch Albom, ‘Pay it forward‘ by Catherine Ryan Hyde, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime‘ by Mark Haddon, ‘A long way home‘ by Saroo Brierly and ‘Mad Girl‘ by Bryony Gordon. Each a very different in genre, theme and intention yet all incredible reads.
Lastly and one that’s most appropriate for this post, I started this blog! When I came to Vienna I had no intentions of starting anything like this and even when I decided I wanted to start writing one, I didn’t really know if it was something I would enjoy doing. However, having met other bloggers in Vienna who have given me some great advice and support, it has inspired me to keep going. I find that it comes in waves, sometimes I feel great about it and imagine all the places I could take it and all the topics I could write about it. Other times I just can’t get the words to appear. However, I have stuck to my plan to just write when I feel inspired and not just for the sake of it and with this mindset I have been really enjoying it. I decided to start my happy and positive posts as something I could keep up with regularly, but also as a reminder to myself of all the good things in each month. I will start again with these posts at the end of January and who knows; maybe I can do it for a whole year?
2017 was about developing me, my career opportunities and my self-confidence. It’s was about spending time with family and friends, celebrating their achievements as well as my own and it was the year we gained two new family members.
2017 was watching my Grandad laugh at an old video until there were tears rolling down his cheeks and we were all slightly concerned he might have a heart attack. It was taking my Nan to Nandos for the first time just for the sheer irony and her ordering “the plain chicken, chips and ketchup please”.
2017 was meeting my friend from high school right in Vienna’s city centre and feeling like to time had changed. It was trying to recreate the Minnie the Mix, Desperate Dan and his dog statues in Dundee and it being a complete fail because our dog kept running away from his spot.
2017 was catching up with my best friend and her family, who are essentially my second family, and going for lunch in Chiquitos with her Grandparents so obviously we all had to wear sombreros. It was finding silly hats and multiple dress up areas and not even needing to ask my family and friends to join in because they’re already routing through all their options for costumes.
2017 was going to Pride for the first time and dancing like nobody’s watching.
2017 was being absolutely boiling in the heat of an Austrian summer and reading books in the park. It was Skyping my other best friend on the other side of the world on her birthday and somehow still making it into the group photo.
2017 was discovering a British export store in Vienna and coming to the conclusion that you really don’t need teabags or a jar marmite for 12 Euros. It was transporting them back from the UK because it was the significantly cheaper option. 2017 was celebrating International Women’s Day with girls and women of over fifteen different nationalities.
Most of all though, it was looking back at the year and realising I did a whole lot more than I thought I did.
It’s true when they say “enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realise they were big things.” It may not be about seeing the other side of the world, but more about discovering somewhere new just down the road. As years come and go there will be some that have more major milestones than others, but each year (just like 2017) has things to look back on and feel proud of or glad that you had the chance to experience them. That’s what I have learnt this year and that’s what I hope to take forward into not only into 2018, but all the years to come too.
Cover photo credit: Michelle Mock Photography