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