31st December 2016
I spent New Year’s Eve with Italians in Cambridge. Our menu for the night included:
- Butternut squash risotto
- Smoked salmon
- Cured hams
- Two polenta dishes: one with cheese, one with sausages in a tomato sauce
- And a freshly baked pear cake
It was quite a feast. And enough to stave off the worst of my year-end blues.
See, I just can’t get excited about the prospect of toiling through another twleve months when all that’s on my mind is how twelve just slipped by.
This year however, New Years coincided with an unusual optimistic dynamism and I did start to think ahead. I made some goals throughout January and decided to chart any progress towards them, no matter how small.
Now, (it being March already) I don’t feel so silly sharing some of them.
First, an easy one: Visit more of Europe; go to new countries and regions; get to know it better. I haven’t done much towards this in Jan and Feb. One of my original goals had been to move house, to have a shorter commute (especially for my girlfriend who was slogging an hour and a half across London twice a day!); a goal we have achieved. But this has taken up most of February. On top of that, my punishing schedule of weekends away is straining my bank balance more and more. The pound doesn’t buy as much as it used to! (I did a little calculation and reckon my upcoming trips will cost me £200 more than they would have pre-Brexit).
However, in the next few weeks I will spend a weekend in the south of Spain on a rare trip with my oft-neglected, Italian beauty. I’m also visiting some friends in Frankfurt in May before a week in Turin for a wedding. Ahead of which I’ll be making another trip, to work on my next goal:
Learn enough Italian to have a conversation. I started studying a while ago but this died out quite quickly. With Spanish and French, I can understand a fair bit but remain pretty much mute. So at the end of the month I’ll be going to Bologna for a week-long course. It probably won’t be enough but it’s a start.
Another language one. Maintain my French and Spanish; use Spanish more at work and find a way to practise French regularly. I haven’t found anything for the French yet but I have been sneaking in more opportunities to phone my colleagues in Spain and South America.
Now (still with work), I should say that I work in accounts, reviewing our Spanish-speaking region (plus Brazil and Portugal). It’s not my dream but it’s not bad (and I don’t have an idea of what to do otherwise). Hence: Gain useful knowledge and experience; focus my role on the Latam region. I want to make more of the international element of my work – since that is what I enjoy – and to take away a solid, useful understanding of finance and business.
I’ve spent the last six months since Brexit in varying levels of anxiety. Now that the pound seems to be set stubbornly low against the euro and inflation is rising quickly at home, I want to prepare for the future, save money and consider opportunities to move abroad. I know I won’t be going abroad any time soon (sadly) but I suppose learning Italian and maintaing my languages is preparation in a way. I also don’t intend to save money on travelling; rather I have been cutting down in London (not going out as much, not shopping), saving money for travelling.
Perhaps more in reaction to Brexit and Trump than any others: Involve myself with society and my community more. I’m looking for opportunities meet people in our new London borough but my main progress here is the volunteering I’ve started.
Then I have some classics: Cook more new dishes (going fairly well so far), read more (could be better), practise the piano (stalled for now), and keep writing. This blog post can count towards that last one!