Archive for December, 2013

  • Gratitude List

    I’ve been back for nearly a month. December has been a bizarre, transitional month, but it has been quite wonderful. I want to celebrate all of the wonder of this entire year with a gratitude list (a few of which I’ve seen floating around and have felt inspired by in recent days), so here goes:

    1) Family

    I am grateful to have a family that I can really happily call a family; a family that doesn’t just keep up appearances but cares. I am grateful for the fact that this year we were able to reconnect with family that we hadn’t seen for almost seven years, and for the fact that that family welcomed us back as if that time hadn’t elapsed at all. I’m grateful for my extended family, formed over the eleven years that Julian and I have been together. I am grateful to have parents that have been supportive of all of my choices and have helped to guide me on the course that I am now taking. I am grateful for the relationship that I now have with my younger brother: all of a sudden, after all of those years of bickering and nastiness, we seem to click, and I see so much of my younger self in him. I know he will go far.

    2) Friends

    I am grateful for my wonderful friends – you complete me, make me smile, encourage me to be brilliant. If it weren’t for you, I’d be nothing. I am grateful for the new friends I have made, and I hope that we will maintain lasting relationships. I know that we will. I am grateful for your strength; you have struggled and overcome obstacles and shown me through your lived experience that we can do it.

    3) Running

    I had no idea when I started running just a few years ago, how much I would grow to love it. I always thought that sport was something that you ‘had’ to do, like eating lettuce and brushing your teeth twice a day, but I have grown to realise that that’s just not the case. I love to run, and I am grateful to have legs that carry me to the most fabulous places. This year I ran over Tower Bridge in the sunshine with my best friend, I ran in City Park in New Orleans, and today I ran in Bexleyheath in the pouring rain.

    4) Dancing

    I was sad last year to leave behind my friends at the Five Wents Memorial Hall where I learnt to lindy hop. I will DEFINITELY be returning to a lindy class in the new year, but this year I developed a love for a new kind of dance: zydeco. This last weekend, I went Cajun dancing for the first time since I returned from Louisiana, and it was fabulous. What I am most grateful for, however, aside from my pure love of dance, is the fact that I have a man in my life who likes to dance with me, and who doesn’t just dance but sets the floor alight. In dance, the lady tends to follow, but whenever I say to Julian, ‘will you do this [insert crazy new dance here] with me?’ he does. And he does it like he always knew how.

    5) Books

    Books, of course, are my life. But this year I remembered how much I love books, and what I see in books that can be imaginatively brought to life. I hope some day, in the not too distant future, to create my own.

    6) Sunny Days

    This year I have made the most of sunny days. Even when, for the most part, I have been stuck working inside, I have forced myself to get out and enjoy the sunshine. For my international friends, yes, we had lots of sunshine in England this year!

    7) Kent

    Kent is the county that Julian and I were born in, grew up in, and presently (sort of) live in. This year we rediscovered its beauties and found the place that in 2015 we will marry. It’s easy to forget that Kent has historically been thought of as the ‘garden of England’, but if you just step outside, you realise that it’s totally true.

    8) My travelling partner

    This year I have presented at conferences, given a public talk at the British Museum, and travelled to Louisiana in the name of research. I am grateful for the fact that my partner was there for me every step of the way. He has pushed me and inspired me, and he has helped me to make it wonderful and memorable. New Orleans we never expected to have, but now we have it, and we will have it forever.

    9) Ladies’ Night

    Yes, damn right. You all see the pictures on Facebook. These nights are legendary, and ‘ladies’ night’ has become an institution with a number of followers over the past year. I am proud to say that I haven’t missed a single one.

    10) The future

    How can you be grateful for the future, you ask, when you can’t possibly know what the future will hold? Well, that’s precisely why I am grateful. I am grateful for the unpredictability of my life and for the rollercoasters that I will no doubt encounter along the way. 2014, you don’t phase me one little bit.


    Have fun tonight, y’all!