This year, 2011, was brought to us by…

  • The Letter “A” – For Abu Dhabi
  • The Number 218 – The quantity of boxes our lives were compressed into on departure, not including one bus)
  • The Regret – Of Goodbyes
  • The Excitement – Of starting all over again (“Additionally, the doctor believed that the pleasure of homecoming was more than recompense for the pains of setting out, and that therefore it was always worth departing” – Louis De Bernieres)
  • The Saying – “Insh’allah”
  • The Temperature – 50 degrees
  • The Book – “When God Was a Rabbit” By Sarah Winman, on account of it succeeding in making me cry and laugh at the same time, literally.
  • The Song – “My Happiness”, by Powderfinger (a few years late with that one)
  • The Anxiety – Of taking 3 kids half way around the world, dropping them off in a foreign classroom and reassuring them as they stand there all alone holding back tears, “I know what I’m doing, trust me you’ll be fine”
  • The Pride – Of watching 3 kids excel, half way around the world in a foreign classroom, running off into the distance with friends, not even pausing to glance back at you
  • The Appreciation – For the enormity of the task Malcolm has undertaken
  • The Admiration – For his talent and dedication in pulling it off
  • The Achievement – Of furnishing an entire house at Ikea in under 24 hours (which was my sole contribution to aforementioned task)
  • The Sadness – of friends and family departed, somehow even harder for the distance; Grandma Painter, Uncle Harry, Evs; Neville; Amanda.
  • The Disappointment – Of being told off in a public car park not once, but twice in one year (and it wasn’t for stealing shopping trolleys either)
  • The Venue – The Corniche, 8kms of blissful rollerblading waterfront.  This is where I do all my serious thinking; for example “Life it too short, I’m going to the wedding” and “One day I will find the right words” and “God I miss the 90s”.
  • The Sentiment – Whatever’s there to feel, feel it – the riddance, the relief, the fright and freedom, the fear of forgetting, the dull ache of your own mortality. Get with someone you can trust with tears, with anger, and wonderment and utter silence. Get that part done – the sooner the better. The only way around these things is through them (Thomas Lynch).
  • The Mission – To get all the kids’ homework done in under 17 hours per week
  • The Shame – Of having become dependent on a weekly visit to the manicurist for no other reason than because everyone else does it, and hey, I quite like it so why not?
  • The Guilt – Of discovering that “cheap tasty food delivered to your door” is a way of life here and subsequently declaring I will not cook until further notice
  • The Surprise – Of earning the title of “3rd best Goodreads reviewer in New Zealand” on the week of Christmas
  • The Concern – That perhaps I’m taking my geekiness just a bit too far
  • The Mentor – W. Moloney, for constantly reminding me what a coup it is to have the title “stay at home mum” and to damn well enjoy it while it lasts
  • The Inconvenience – Of having the principal account holder (i.e. Malcolm) receive immediate notifications every time a purchase or withdrawal is made (yes Girlfriends, think that one through!).
  • The Fun – Of being the only kiwi parent I know in Abu Dhabi who got their kids out of school to watch the All Blacks play in both the Semis AND Finals of the RWC, certainly the only parent to bowl my way into the classroom wearing pom poms with her face all painted black.
  • The Horror – Of a Cocktail party with no alcohol
  • The Double Horror – Of a Cocktail party with no food OR alcohol, and a programme that goes on for 3 hours, not including speeches
  • The Pain – Of heels that look good
  • The Wonder – Of blue skies, every day
  • The Wonder – Of Snow in Wellington
  • The Relief – Of having reconciled with my brother
  • The Pleasure – Of watching him marry the love of his life
  • The irritation – Of declaring how much I hate Facebook only to use it without shame nor restraint all year

And finally, 2011 was ALSO brought to us by….

  • A Job – Thanks Te Rau Matatini, from your 20-hour-a-week senior researcher based remotely (lets not calculate the precise distance ok?)
  • A Family – With no children under 5 anymore, hooray!
  • A Husband – Who loves me, despite my moratorium on cooking
  • A Husband – Who I love, despite (or perhaps because of) his inability to get excited by 5 star hotels with giant pineapple-shaped chandeliers, my carefully manicured hands and feet, or 7-story shopping malls in Dubai
  • An Anniversary – Ten Years
  • A Comfort Zone – In no particular order, Nicky, Soph, Fi, Chlo, Amelia, Sheryl, Jo, Becs, Sarah (my shout Wednesday at the Yachtie)
  • A Holiday – On Safari in Kenya
  • A Computer – On which I spend too much time, case and point

And for 2012 I have…

  • A Hope – That I would Be Good
  • A Mission – To understand that to be a good mother/person/wife, I need to spend more time doing, and less time talking
  • A Goal – To read books at the same pace at which I buy them
  • And A Wish -To Write.  Full stop.
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