Wednesday, 21 January 2015

2014 - A Year of Two Halves

I've been going back and forth to this since the end of last year but i'm going to stop stewing and call it 'finished'. This was a really personal piece for me and for a while I was debating not putting it online but it's good to share, so here it is.

2014 was literally a year of two halves for me. For the first half of 2014 I was living in the South of Spain, where I had moved to back in August of 2013, and working for a mobile gaming company in Gibraltar. At the beginning of July the job I had took me back to London where I was reunited with my much missed other half, family and friends.

I couldn't begin to try and sum up the experiences and adventures I had last year. Each place has it good and bad points. I had a wonderful experience living and working abroad but I was so happy to come back to the big city. In this piece i've picked a small selection of a whole bunch of highlights I was lucky enough to experience throughout the year; the left half representing my time abroad (Jan- June) and the right half representing my time back in London (July - December) 

Click the link below to read the details of each panel.

(Bottom to top clockwise) 

Horsie Riding

Horse riding in the Spanish mountains - the scenery was incredible and horse riding is something i've loved as a child but the low cost and relaxed approach made it a much more accessible and sustainable hobby in Spain.


My partner in crime, Dan, had a good job in London and for this and other reasons couldn't make the move with me to Spain. This is my first experience of a long distance relationship and it wasn't easy but we got into a routine of flying out to see each other once and month and managed to see each other every fortnight. In the process we both became experts in low cost airlines, multiple airport's facilities and frequent flyer programs.

The Rock of Gibraltar 

This one needs little explaining - it's where I worked! Gibraltar is a British oversea territory at the Southern Tip of Spain. So I commuted to a different country everyday and had to take my passport to work. It's a tiny, unique place where the language is English and they use £'s. It's like a sunny, Mediterranean corner of England. Famous for it's massive, mountainous rock that covers about half the land mass of the country, and it's Barbary apes (the only apes or monkeys found in Europe).

The Osbourne Bull (Spain)  

I have chosen the Osbourne bull to represent Spain because they are everywhere! Give it a Google if you'd like to know more but you'll see them looming large at the side of highways across the country. The bull is a well known Spanish symbol anyway, but this also reminds me of the very first road trip when we packed up my little car and drove from London, through France and down through Spain to my new home. It took 24 hours of driving over 2 days and was quite the adventure!


This is pretty self explanatory; Spanish food is great and usually accompanied with lots of wine- right up my street. This represents the fun I had with new people I met out in Spain who became good friends in my time out there. Tapas crawl weekends where we'd work our way down the beach sampling tapas and wine at each place before ending the night drunk, full of delicious food and belting out some karaoke form some fond memories!

Beach Time 

Obviously the biggest plus of living on the Costa del Sol is in the name - the sun. The weather was fantastic most of the time and, although we saw each other a lot less, when Dan was around we'd fill up the cool box with chilled treats and set up camp by my pool or down on the beach. Eating alfresco and soaking up the vitamin D with a cold cocktail in hand are some of the things I miss most.


Career Opportunities

I've always been super ambitious and although I had a fantastic experience working abroad it made me appreciate the wealth of career opportunities in London. It's a completely different way of life in the Mediterranean, which was great fun for a year, but the progress I've made career-wise in the 6 months since my return could never have happened back in my second home. 

Being Back with my Better Half

Self explanatory. The old saying of 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' is certainly true. I appreciate the time we spend together so much now, especially now we don't have to hop onto a plane and fly 1000 miles to see each other.

Dogdog Cuddles and Proper Seasons

I missed my husky, a LOT when I moved. I actually saw the rare sight of a husky the first day I was in Spain and cried for half an hour afterwards. I am so happy to be back in the same house as the fluff ball. I also missed the seasons in Spain. It got surprisingly cold in the winter but I missed dog walks on cold, crisp Winter days and, although London's weather can't compete with the warmth of Spain, I did miss the seasonal variation. 

Sonia's Wedding

One of my very close friends, Sonia got engaged just before I packed up and moved in Summer 2013. I had the honour of being her bridesmaid - it was my first time having this duty! Although, I was there mainly for cyber support as I sat 1000 miles away in my apartment, I flew back to London especially for her hen do. The wedding was one of the things I looked forward to most when I moved back and it was spectacular! A highlight for the year in general. 

Christmas at Home

In 2013, because of the time I started my job in Gibraltar and a pre-booked holiday to California (including my first trip to CTNX!) I had no annual leave. Fortunately my boss let me fly back to London and work from there. However, I was home for a far shorter time that I had hoped and I was working for most of it. This year I really loved all the festive build up, even the colder, darker nights made me excited. I loved putting the Christmas decorations up with my family and having the opportunity to catch up with a lot more friends for Christmas revelry! 

As with the boyfriend and family thing, this is pretty self explanatory. I missed my friends, a lot. Far more than I thought I would and that's no reflection on them! I underestimated my homesickness at times and even though I had great times out in Spain, I often found myself thinking 'oh I wish so-and-so was here for this!'. Some of my best friends came out to visit me and we had some fantastic times in Spain. I love being back in relatively close proximity to them now and I never take for granted being able to catch up with them so easily now.

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