Thursday, 8 September 2011

YES! – in so many ways :D


Yes, it has yet again been way too long since I’ve posted here.

Yes, I’m rubbish when it comes to keeping my friends up-to-date with my life.

Yes, I had a truly amazing summer

Yes, I am guilty of seriously bad judgment when it comes to a certain aspect of my personal life

Yes, I have been denied entrance to a night club

Yes, I’ve been kicked out of a summer house

Yes, I am madly in love

- - - And yes, it’s a different one

- - - And yes, this one deserves me

- - - And yes, I am happier than I’ve been for years

Yes, I am back in Thailand, already working my butt off to provide as many people as possible with as good a holiday as possible

Now that we’re clear on that, I’ll elaborate….;)

First of all, let’s get the tedious subject out of the way. I can’t count the number of people who have called me an idiot, fool, gullible, na├»ve and similar descriptive words after hearing the updates from my personal life earlier this year. You were right and I was wrong. Leopards may camouflage their spots, but eventually the spots shine through, and anyone hoping to be able to change or cure that, is indeed a fool. Love doesn’t cure anything; it just makes us blind ;) I must admit that I am very impressed by all my friends: you stood by me through abuse and depression and you have tried your best to “save me”. Yet, nobody has said “I told you so” (yet) ;) ……..Since you’ve gone through the really tough times with me, now it’s time you get some good news ;)

The summer in Denmark offered quite a variety of experiences; there’s being spare mum for my 2-year-old niece, there’s welcoming her tiny sister to this world, there’s seeing my oldest niece’s son for the first time, there are social gatherings left, right and center – including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day lunch and New Years Eve. In between there was time to chill and talk with my awesome family, and I spent lots of time with my gorgeous siblings and their equally gorgeous spouses and children. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I can’t say it often enough: I absolutely love my family and I am so grateful for having each and every one of them in my life. Even through my idiotic decisions the last couple of years, they have been ready to catch my fall and help me back on my feet. They have suffered with me, but they have never lost patience or abandoned me :D


This summer had a few firsts for me as well: first time I was kicked out of a rented summerhouse and first time I wasn’t allowed into a night club. It was also my first visit to Weymouth and it was the first time in a few years that I’ve felt ecstatically happy – and yes, there is a man involved and his name is Paul. It wasn’t, however, the first time I met Paul, nor the second…….

Bear with me for a quite long, yet in my humble opinion sweet, story of two people who meet, lose each other, and then have to go through so much hardship before they finally meet again and live happily ever after:

February 2005 I was on a business trip in Dubai and decided to take a short holiday, which I spent diving off the east coast of the Emirates. I’d booked a transfer with them and was picked up by the owner himself, who happened to be in Dubai that evening. Have you guessed his name?? It was an almost 2-hour drive, but we talked and talked and talked and were quite surprised when we were suddenly at our destination. During my week there we spent a lot of time together and also went diving. I had the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had – which Paul handled with an incredible amount of patience and understanding. He says he doesn’t remember that bit, but I don’t really believe him; I think he’s just letting me keep my dignity ;)

There was definitely a spark there, but circumstances were against us. I still had a proper job, earning real money, I was living in the Netherlands and I had my own house and (lovely) car. It was all a bit complicated and so we kept contact for a couple of months, but neither of us was ready for the big step, and our contact sort of faded away. Shortly afterwards we were both in new relationships.

Thus unknown to Paul, I moved to Thailand, did my divemaster, worked a bit and then I moved to the Philippines where I did my instructor course and worked for a very nice resort. Customer service was top priority within the resort, so for instance a dive staff member always picked up the guests from the boat, walked them to the resort and did a tour of it, explaining everything. It was much appreciated by the guests. This meant that we had morning meetings where – among other things – the “meet & greet” was delegated and we were all informed of names etc of the guests.

If I’d had coffee, I would have choked on it, when one morning in spring 2007 I was given “meet & greet” duties for the first part of a group. When I saw the name of the dive shop, I double-checked the name of the group leader. Yup, it was Paul. Blushing heavily, my colleagues quickly realized there was a story and made fun of me, while the red colour of my skin intensified ;) Paul wasn’t in the first group though, so I didn’t pick him up, but at least I was warned.

Paul wasn't warned ;) He arrived the next day and naturally we ran into each other in the resort. It was a precious Kodak moment when his jaw dropped ;) He didn’t know I’d become a dive pro of course, so it was a complete surprise to him. We talked and chatted a bit in the evenings and there was definitely a connection - which we didn’t pursue though, since we were both in relationships.

After Philippines came Saba. I was out of one relationship and into the next. Then I moved to Thailand again and back to Saba. Indonesia aaaaand Thailand again. As readers of this blog know; the relationship was turbulent to say the least, until one day in June this year, I saw history repeating itself, finally had enough and ended the relationship.

Paul and I had been in sporadic contact for a few months, but it was purely professional – I was hoping to convince him to bring a group on the Oktavia. Anyway, our personal circumstances made us single on exactly the same day this year, and Paul suggested (jokingly I thought) to visit me in Thailand to get away from everything. I told him I’d be in Denmark and then he said he would visit me there! What???

As you know, I have learned from bitter experience that people aren’t necessarily trustworthy, reliable or honest, and I feel myself being more cautious as opposed to earlier, when I would trust people almost unconditionally. So while I thought it was fun to innocently flirt via emails etc, I didn’t expect him to actually come to Denmark – it seemed a bit hasty and silly (ok, to be honest I thought he just wanted to get laid and that it wouldn't be worth the money and effort to fly to Denmark just for that). After all, we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years, and a week can be a very long time if it’s spent in awkward silence.

Obviously, I needn’t have worried. We continued right where we left 6 years ago in the Emirates, it’s quite bizarre really. We spent a wonderful week in Denmark and rented a small summerhouse (read: hut). Unfortunately, the landlord had forgotten another booking and so we were kicked out 2 days earlier than we planned. That meant one night on a mattress in the living room of my sister’s house (two huge glass fronts and no curtains!) and one night sharing a single bed ;) It could have been me testing his ability to adapt, adjust, be spontaneous and relaxed. It wasn’t. But he would have passed it with flying colours ;)


Saying goodbye at the airport was difficult. I knew what I was feeling, but I was afraid of getting my hopes up and get hurt. I felt that I couldn’t afford to be humiliated again. Uncharacteristically, I was quiet and put myself in waiting position, playing cool towards my family “oh we’ll see what the future brings”. Hahaha, how very teenager ;) Again, I needn’t have worried; when Paul wants something, he doesn’t let details like distance or logistics stand in his way. And it became apparent that Paul wanted me too!

Flights were expensive from UK to Denmark and back; the solution was to fly me to the UK instead - that's when I was in Weymouth without letting anyone know. I honestly didn't realize how many nice people I know in that area plus it was a spontaneous decision. Next time I’ll let you all know in advance :D. It was another fantastic week. I met his family and some of his friends. Funnily enough, during a night out I was actually denied admission to a club for the first time in my life; the bouncer claimed I was drunk. Which, ironically, I wasn’t then (that came later). Apart from that bouncer, I was greeted with open arms and hospitality everywhere. Paul had effortlessly integrated himself into my family, and now I was welcomed into his. It was awesome and so everyone’s happy all way round, except that little “but”……….


It’s tough to live on separate continents when you’re in love. Paul’s solution? He’ll be here in two weeks (actually 13 days and 8 hours, but who's counting ;) ) and spend at least part of the season in Khao Lak and Phuket. He’ll work here on freelance basis - quite a step back for a master instructor who’s owned a dive center for years, but he says I’m worth it :D

I’m completely smitten and I feel both loved and appreciated. Being with Paul feels right in so incredibly many ways and I’m excited about the life and future we can build together! I’m happy we found each other in the end. Our lives would have been different if we’d dared back in 2005, but I’m thinking we weren’t ready for each other. No use crying over spilt milk anyway – we are together now and that is all that matters :D

So, that's the status......

Yes, I'm one super-happy girl (can I still be a girl when I’m 40?? I sure feel like a teenager ;) )

Yes, I deeply love the man I'm with

Yes, I thoroughly enjoy being loved and treated like the best invention since sliced bread :D

And yes, I’ll definitely TRY to be better at updating you ;)

Much love & warm thoughts to all you wonderful people out there

Karin xxx


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Snap out of it!


A year ago I wrote “The Silent Victims” about victims of people with narcissistic and/or anti-social personality disorders. I wrote it partly for my own benefit, working through some events in my life and partly because I was sick (literally, more about that in a while) of the taboo surrounding victims of emotional and verbal abuse. Much to my surprise, that blog entry has shown up in many internet searches and is being quoted on several other pages. Now I’m facing another taboo, so I thought I’d try the same therapy and I’m afraid it’s another long post…….please bear with me while I slowly get to the point ;)

Many of you know that I suffer from migraine attacks. Nobody knows why, we just know that certain things are likely to trigger attacks. There’s probably a chemical imbalance in me, but scientists aren’t sure. Yet, nobody who’s seen me during an attack has any doubt that I am in severe pain. To my knowledge, nobody challenges the diagnosis or has any objections to my use of painkillers during attacks. It’s socially acceptable to suffer from migraine and to try to ease the pain with medication.

It is also fairly known – especially by people who’ve seen me in a bikini ;) – that I have undergone surgery for scoliosis. Again, it was a serious disease or malfunction and nobody questions the diagnosis or the need for treatment. Get the point I’m trying to make? When people see that we’re ill they are understanding and support us in our quest for treatment and healing.

Nine years ago my husband, Martin, died. My sadness was disabling and so severe it was almost tangible. It was easy for people to see that I was grieving and for several months I was allowed to be selfish in my mourning. After that, the first voices started “you really should get another man”, “you have to snap out of your grief”, “you have to think positive”. When I still wasn’t “over him” two years later, I only had a minimum of support left – only my closest friends and family accepted my state of mind (or emotions).

During my grieving period I was offered both psychological and psychiatric treatment. I declined, because I believed that psychiatric treatment would mean that I didn’t process my emotions and that I would turn into an emotionless zombie. I wasn’t alone with that belief. There is no doubt that I was suffering from a depression, which had been triggered by the death of the man I loved. At that point in my life I’m pretty sure that nobody would have frowned if I’d undergone psychiatric treatment. What I’d gone through during Martin’s illness and death was too tough to comprehend and ending in a depression was a natural consequence.

What very few people know is that I had suffered from depression several times before. I definitely had episodes of depression as a child and young teenager, but the first severe case was when I was 17/18 and something strange happened in my life. I was very good in school, I had many friends and I was known for being constantly happy, helpful, friendly, joking and smiling. I had every reason to feel happy, but I didn’t. Unknown to me and not triggered by anything, I was in a depression. It was a very scary experience which lasted several months. I had no idea what was happening and I made up crazy stories about my illness and absence because I had absolutely no clue how to explain to anyone what was going on. I almost got kicked out of business school and I knew I was extremely sad, felt lonely, helpless, hopeless and suicidal – but I didn’t know why.

So how does it look, this depression thing? What is the reality of a depressed person? First of all, being in a depression is not the same as being sad. Somewhere I read the description “malignant sadness”, which is quite accurate, I think. Secondly, depressed persons will invariably have different perceptions just like migraine sufferers have different perceptions, but essentially we go through the same thing. And just like a person who has never had a migraine attack can’t relate to that pain, a person who hasn’t been in a depression can’t relate to that pain. One of the best descriptions I’ve read is by Mary Rowe in an article published in The Telegraph March 2010:

“They say clinical depression is crippling. I say it’s like being buried alive. Crushed under the weight of your own sadness, you scrabble at the walls, gasping for air, for light, for someone to help you escape. It feels like every part of you – mind, body and soul – is dying, and eventually you lose the strength to struggle, become calm and sleepy ... and just wait.”


Being in a depression means sleeping for days or sitting for hours (literally) and stare at the wall, unable to move. Simple tasks like getting out of bed, taking a shower or eating become insurmountable hurdles. It means getting scared when the phone rings, not wanting to talk to anyone ever again and it takes hours of mental preparation to call in sick. I once sat on my bed with my toothbrush in the hand for nearly two hours – I’d finally managed to get it from the bathroom, but I didn’t have the strength to stand up while I cleaned my teeth and once I sat down I couldn’t find the strength to get up and walk the 5 meters to the bathroom. It means carrying an inhumane burden on your shoulders, having suicidal thoughts, feeling utterly hopeless and helpless. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Believe me, it truly is horrible. But it gets even worse….


Apart from the obvious physical and psychological problems of being in a depression, there is the social aspect of it. Being in a depression isn’t really accepted unless there is a valid reason (for instance the death of a loved one). A gifted, smart and attractive young woman has no right to be depressed, she should be grateful. Right? So, apart from being depressed, we also feel guilty and worth less because we can’t “just snap out of it”. We are reprimanded for not contacting our friends whereas just the thought of having to talk to someone makes us panic. And of course we’re very likely to be confronted with the standard patronizing remarks from people who have absolutely no concept of what it feels like:


“You don’t like feeling that way? So change it! You’re responsible for your own happiness”
“Life isn’t meant to be easy.”
“This is what life is like. Get used to it.”
“Pull yourself together.”
“You just have to get on with things.”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself, other people are far worse off and they manage”
“You have so many things. What do you have to feel down about? Count your blessings”
“You just need to cheer up.”
“I know how you feel. I get really sad at times too”

“How about I cook you a good meal. That will make things better.”

“You’re not depressed; you’re just feeling a bit down. That’s normal”

Once we manage to get out of that super-deep, super-dark hole yet again – after weeks or months - we feel battered, bruised and tired, but also very relieved that we survived. That would be the perfect time to go out and tell “the world” what we’ve been through, but unfortunately most of us have learned from our earliest childhood to hide our true emotions. Especially when they are embarrassing to watch. So while we recover from our depression “attack” and build up strength inside, most of us continue spending whatever energy we have to maintain the image of happy, successful people. Even during the early stages of depression we manage to find the strength to keep up the public image, so that most people who meet us have absolutely no idea what’s going on. We work, we socialize, we smile – and inside we know and we feel that we’re on the verge of falling into that deep, dark hole. It is a feeling of complete and utter loneliness to be surrounded by people and know that the world is about to collapse on us. By pretending towards the world that we’re fine we are of course shooting ourselves in the foot. Rather than focusing on getting better, we focus on appearing to be fine. And while people could surely help us during our recovery stage, we automatically waiver our rights to receive help or empathy by making them believe we’re doing just fine. Our closest friends, colleagues and family members often recognize the symptoms and are very often frustrated because they can’t help us.


About a year ago events in my personal life triggered another depression. Everybody could see that I was ill: I was underweight, tired, grumpy, and sad, I didn’t care about anything or anyone, there was no spark in my eyes and I had dozens of open wounds due to an auto-immune disease. It was obvious that I was ill, but most people just didn’t know what was wrong with me. Thanks to my family, I came back on my feet and finally sought professional help. I was diagnosed with periodic depression and acute depression and now receive medication against both. Now, imagine depression would be recognized for what it is: a disease caused by a malfunction. Just like migraine, depression is a disorder which can be diagnosed and treated. In my case, a chemical imbalance plays a big role. It’s like a diabetic needing insulin to function.


I was so relieved to discover that my everyday life is easier to handle. I have more energy and at the same time feel calmer. Once I found good migraine medication, the frequency of attacks went down, because I wasn’t afraid of getting them anymore. I imagine there is a certain portion of that in the case of my depression medication. Also, to my surprise I realized that I have absolutely not turned into a zombie; I still laugh, cry, get scared, have fun – the whole spectrum of emotions is intact. I’ll probably still fall into deep, dark holes; but I trust that they won’t be quite as deep and dark, not as disabling – and it’ll be easier for me to come out of them again.


It was a big step for me to seek professional help and it was definitely triggered by desperation. I simply couldn’t go on anymore so it was a matter of suicide or getting help. It was a relief to find out that I am “just” suffering from periodic depressions. I’m not insane, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not a weak person – I suffer from an illness. And still, when I have told people about it, some of them have reacted the “old” way. “That’s wrong, you’re not depressed” (said in a grave tone of voice as if depression is an embarrassing STD) or “that’s a load of BS, you just need to make the decision to be happy”. These remarks hurt. A lot. Which is why I find it important to spread awareness and understanding of emotional disorders (sounds nicer than mental diseases, don’t you think?). And in some ways, “going public” with it now is an even bigger step. With this, I am opening up to criticism and ridicule – but of course also to understanding and empathy. Approx. 10% of the population suffer from depression disorders. How many people do you know? You never thought I suffer from depression, did you? Don't I look happy in this picture?


When I went to hospital here in Thailand a couple of months ago and spoke to a psychiatrist, he asked about my history. He was shocked and his jaw dropped when I told him that my first definite case of depression was in my late teens and he said with moist eyes “you have lived with this for twenty years? That is so sad”. He was right, it is indeed very sad. If emotional disorders and their treatment were less of a taboo I would probably have sought and received help many years and several depressions earlier. I would have been spared so much pain.

I am still me. I am a happy, friendly and smiling person. I am reasonably intelligent and attractive. I am strong, self-confident and independent. I am also a person who suffers from migraine and periodically gets “depression attacks”.


Thank you for listening and to everyone who’s helped me: I am deeply grateful for your patience and tolerance


Yours

Karin xxx

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Where is it then?? - Life's pause button? ;)


Is it just me or are there more people out there who wish we could press pause once in a while? Don’t worry about answering; it’s a rhetoric question ;) Sometimes things happen quickly and events overlap each other. That’s when I wish I could have just a day or two to catch my breath. Doesn’t work like that in this business though, so it’s a matter of hanging in there until low season :0

After the visits around Christmas and New Year, it was back to normal in January. Normal plus whatever work had piled up on my desk while I was busy enjoying life with my family. Business finally picked up with more tourists in the streets and more bookings - needed after a near-disastrous beginning of the season. One day chased the other and suddenly we were in February.

January is a bit of a blur, I’m not sure I did anything, except working. I’ll let you know if I think of something ;) February was quite eventful, though. I started off with tour leading our boat on a full charter with 23 Austrian divers. I won’t go into details, but I’ll just mention that I truly, honestly and completely deserved a cold beer when we returned with all guests and without causing permanent bodily harm to anyone J

My colleague, Bernie, had taken care of things in the office while I was on the boat, so unexpectedly there weren’t any extra piles of work waiting for me. Luxury :D A week later Bernie and I decided unanimously and spontaneously that I should go on the boat one more trip. Two boat trips in one month, SWEET :D Office work isn’t that boring with a boat trip here and there to remind me why I moved to the warm countries in the first place.

Last Saturday, we took 17 children from the Home & Life orphanage on a boat trip with fun, games, swimming and food. It was magic to see that many happy & smiling faces on the Oktavia! I am impressed that “my owners” made this possible – many people talk a lot and do very little. They immediately liked the idea and made it possible. Amazing :D

The orphanage is a beautiful place, a family home rather than an institution. Unfortunately, they don’t get support from the government, so they rely on private funding, which makes life very difficult. We do whatever we can to raise awareness and get donations, so that this incredible place can keep running. A day on the Oktavia didn’t get them any more food on their plates this month, but at least the kids (and adults) had a fun day out :D

Now it’s time for the month-end closing and as usual I find myself digging out all sorts of things that have higher priority. Such as updating my blog ;) I’m about to book my flights for this summer – I’ll be in Denmark mid-June to mid-August (ish). And I am seriously considering some major investments……….a vacuum cleaner (already decided) and a mountain bike. The vacuum cleaner makes sense – sweeping with a broom just doesn’t do it for me. The mountain bike would be nice to have, but must admit that I wouldn’t have much opportunity to use it in high season – and in low season a canoe would be more useful in the streets here :0

Enough said…it’s back to work now……..take care lovely people

Karin xxx

Saturday, 1 January 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR


It's definitely been an eventful year. Of all the words I could use to describe it, "boring" would be the last I'd think of. Guess that's nothing new in my life, really ;)

2010 started with worries, a never-ending row of illnesses, an emotional breakdown, 7 kg underweight, and way too much work. 2010 ended with happiness, good health, emotional stability, my ideal weight, and a day off :D


Between those, there was a long stay in Denmark and Norway with my lovely family. I met my niece, Freja, and felt very fortunate to have enough time to bond with her. My oldest niece announced her first pregnancy (it's ok, she's 26 ;) ) and gave birth to a healthy baby boy just a couple of days ago. My sister & family inaugurated our, oeps I mean their, new (and very luxurious) summer house - which is of course the gathering point of our entire family, just like the old one was.

It had been 3 years since my last visit and it was about time. Many things have happened in Denmark since I left the country 16 years ago. The language has changed a lot (why do people think it's cool to translate American terms directly into Danish?? - It sounds silly and wanna-be) and it would appear that Danish culture has changed a lot. There seems to be less "hygge" and tolerance, but more narrow-mindedness and sense of entitlement. Or maybe it's me getting older. Or maybe it's me having widened my horizon by living in other cultures.

Going back confirmed that I love the country and my friends and family dearly. Going back also strengthened my suspicion that I would find it very difficult to live in Denmark again. But to be fair, I have been (or am) known to make surprising decisions ;)

Speaking of surprising decisions.......do remind me to tell you about my personal life at some point.......never a dull moment and a huge surprise for everyone, especially myself (no I'm not pregnant!!!) ;)))

In September I returned to Thailand to continue working for M/V Oktavia, the best live-aboard in Thailand (if I do say so myself). 2009 I came to Khao Lak just a couple of weeks before the season started and there simply wasn't enough time to set up the organisation the way I'd have liked to. Hence the early start this year. The result is that the administration runs more smoothly this season and we have transformed our office into a rather nice-looking shop. Unfortunately, shops are open till 21-ish here, so my spare time is rather limited - but I do have an assistant this year, so I don't start work until noon-ish. This gives me time to go to the gym in the morning, something I've missed quite a bit.

Speaking of gym, my brother and his family came to visit a couple of weeks ago. You may not see the connection, but they brought me a lovely present: new running shoes :D Some things are just difficult to get here. For instance Danish Christmas cookies, Gammel Dansk and salty liquorice. And Asics running shoes ;)) They all came on the boat for a 5-day cruise and did some snorkelling. One of my bonus nieces did her Open Water course with me and Torben went diving for the first time since 1989. His ears weren't happy about it though, so we left it at the one dive.

Before the trip I was a bit worried about my sinuses after all the trouble I had last season and the doctor's verdict that I need surgery. I didn't have any problems at all and it was absolutely wonderful to be back in the water - 11 months after my last dive! Being on the boat was of course still work, but it's very different from sitting in an office all day every day. Besides, I have awesome colleagues, who basically wouldn't let me do any boat work during the trip - so I was just teaching and doing office work whenever the phone connection allowed it :) I felt my batteries charging day by day :D After the trip, we all spent Christmas eve at a Swedish restaurant here in Bang Niang. Surprisingly enough, Swedish food isn't all that bad. It was quite lovely, really - I grudgingly admit ;))


Speaking of which (I'm quite good at those transitions, ey?).......there's something else I have to admit: there's a new man in my life. he has the same name and looks exactly the same as my previous partner, Jan, but this one behaves in a very different way. We both spent the 6 months apart wondering and considering what we want, need and expect. The result was that Jan came to Thailand 2,5 weeks in December and left today. We have both learned a lot about ourselves and each other and we have both grown a lot. And so we've decided to wipe the board clean and start from the beginning again without the mud of the past. There are of course still some issues and it'll be a long while before everything's dealt with, but we are both very happy, both very much in love - and now we're taking things step by step. It feels very good and very right - and who could possibly ask for more.

After two weeks with humane working hours and lots of fun with family, friends and partner it's time to roll up the skirt again. Uhm, that'd be sleeves, I guess. I'm way behind at work and have been pushing the work load in front of me, where it's still sitting, towering over me. I also have to move into my new place properly - I moved one day before we went on the boat and have been otherwise occupied the past 10 days, so the place still looks like the first day (apart from the shelf units, which Jan assembled and I still haven't filled). Cha-cha as we say in Thailand - slowly slowly ;))

Speaking of cha-cha.....things are really moving slowly in one area: there is something missing in Khao Lak.........a tourist or two. It's a BAD season down here; very few tourists and the ones we see don't want to spend any money. Quite disastrous in an area which depends almost entirely on tourism and where most people are constantly living on the edge - financially. Many businesses have closed down already and many will follow. There are less volunteers for the charity projects and less donations for the orphanages and Burmese schools here. I always find it interesting when European tourists complain about the current financial problems. They can still afford to fly to Thailand, they probably all have a nice place to live, they don't have to worry about finding money for the next meal and I'm pretty certain they own at least one car and one TV. Try walking through a Thai village, think again and then stop complaining! Most people in the Western world have a lot to be grateful for; they just sometimes need to be reminded of it ;)

Speaking of which (last one today, I promise - just couldn't resist)........Before I dig into work it's time to say a big fat THANK YOU! I am humble when I think of the fantastic people I have in my life, my wonderful friends, my incredible family, who always makes me feel safe, secure and loved - no matter what life throws at me or what I throw myself into ;) Thank you all for 2010, I look forward to going through 2011 with you.

I wish you all a good and happy new year with lots of precious moments

Karin xxxx