this has been the most amazing ride, one of the best, intense and most memorable years i've ever had (my other favourite year in my life was when I was seven...so maybe it only happens to me every 20 years eh?) here are my highlights:
-2009 started in Athens with my best friend and soul sister, Chrysoula...the greatest NYE I've ever had; at the foot of the Acropolis drinking rakomelo.
-finished up work the day before my birthday in January, then spent the next two months poor, stressed, and jobless, waiting for the Greek government to give me my passport. I actually discovered that I like being on my own and to my surprise kept my self amused in my room without going too insane!
-finally, officially and with much celebration I became a Hellenic citizen in March...opa! over 6 months of wringing my hands, frustrated tears, my mum in Sydney and my two aunts in Greece all harassing and pushing Hellas to get my papers in order and processed...I still can't believe it's all done. My passport is my most prized and favourite possession.
-made the best decision of my life and went with Chrysi to Palestine and to Jerusalem, it was the hardest thing I've endured emotionally, seeing what life is like for people there and my heart truly broke in the most immense way (relationship break-ups don't even rate now). I haven't been the same since and it brought so many things into focus for me...I yearn to go back there and still think about it every single day. It taught me that humanity is the only thing that matters, the only thing that will save us.
-I was stranded at Heathrow airport for 24 hours during the insane snow in February. I don't know how I passed the time, but I did and now I have no fear of being stuck in an airport for hours. As long as I get out of there...eventually.
-visited two mythical 'mountains' this year, the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and Mount Olympus in Greece.
-for the first time, after a lifetime of waiting, I finally travelled around mainland Greece (and as a Greek citizen!) seeing where my parents were born and raised. I met family I didn't even know I had, relished spending time with my grandparents (whom i've only met once before) and spent almost an entire month just moving around via trains and coaches, breathing in the mountains that cover the entire landscape and thinking about my past, my roots and my heritage.
There is a hole in my chest and it is only filled when I am in Hellas.
-Skype is the most blessed creation, I've had some of the best conversations of my life on it...and it lets me still hang out with my friends, chatting and drinking and laughing, playing each other music, showing each other things we've bought and found, seeing their lovely faces. Most of all I still get to be in my home in Sydney talking to mum for hours while I watch her iron or cook, watching my dogs sleeping in front of the heater. Heavenly.
-I grappled daily with the concept of belonging, and being alone but never feeling alone, missing my family in Oz and after a long time, remembering who I am after it was pushed far aside for years during past relationships.
-I danced my heart out alone in my room and racously with friends all through the year, I developed a healthy appetite for karaoke and mastered the art of rolling cigarettes (it took a few months, but patience!)
-I chose being poor in day-to-day life so that I could travel. In three consecutive months I managed my dream 24-day trip around Hellas, 5 days in Venice on my own, and 4 days in Paris in our own sweet little apartment with two dear friends Meg & Shell from Sydney who I haven't seen in two years. Being poor is so worth it!
-I surprised myself by being assertive in situations where I normally would have just shut up from shock, it's easier than you think and there's no going back now.
-London has been so good to me, and it feels like home. I am proud of it and get defensive when people criticize it. It's not for everyone, but it's my city now and you just can't rubbish my city, not on my watch!
-some pretty amazing friendships have flourished this year and I am grateful every single day for the people that I love, and who love me both here and away. (I still miss my two dogs though)
-I had the loveliest Christmas adventure thanks to my awesome friend Mel and her family who adopted me over the holidays, a proper English Christmas where I ate enough to feed a small village. Dear Mel drove us up and around England ...endless hills, mountains, woods, snow, greenery and a rollicking soundtrack thanks to the iPod. It's a beautiful country.
-the melancholy of missing my family is something that never goes away, but 2010 will be a time to figure out how I can remedy that and make things work better for me so that maybe, I can come close to some sort of healthy balance where the sadness and physical distance doesn't outweigh the marvel of this European life.
HAPPY NEW YEAR Y'ALL x