It's hard to believe that it's the last day of 2010. I started the year off with a pretty woeful new year's eve in Beirut (a mistake not to be repeated tonight...not only because I'm not in Beirut!!) I left Lebanon in July with a heavy heart - the wonderful friends I'd made, the food and the culture certainly made up for a relatively unsatisfying job experience, and it was difficult to say goodbye to such a wonderful group of people.
2010 took me to 5.5 new countries (the half is Ethiopia - I only count countries I've left the airport, and I did leave the airport in Addis, but couldn't leave the hotel the airline put me up in, so it doesn't quite count!!) and a couple I'd been to before, with some Bill & Ted-esque excellent adventures and bogus journeys. Finally going on a safari was a dream come true and the experience wildly exceeded my expectations. My week in Norway left me with a burning desire to see more of northern Europe - Iceland is at the top of my list, having made two Icelandic friends in Pakistan, I'd love to visit them and I also really want to see some puffins!!
Career wise, Pakistan was a great experience for developing new skills and meeting a fantastic range of colleagues. I knew early on that it wasn't the path I wanted to head down professionally, but it was nice to have the luxury of trying some new (and doing a pretty good job of it!) to determine whether or not it was right for me.
And so here we are at the end of the year. I'm heading into 2011 with the comfort of a full-time permanent contract (not something I've had for quite a few years!) but also the uncertainty of where I'll be deployed to first. A number of countries have been tossed up as possibilities, but as yet, I don't know which one will win out first. I'm so looking forward to a new challenge (and this job is going to be a big one!), meeting new people and going to new places. And of course there's always the chance that I'll run into some old friends around the traps which is something to look forward to as well.
So tonight, I will reflect back on the year a bit further over a couple of G&Ts, some excellent snacks, and some scrabble with my friend Julie. We'll take a break from all that excitement and take a walk to our regular viewing point to watch the 8:30pm fireworks! Scoff if you will, but my experience has proven that the best new year's eves are the ones spent quietly with friends, rather than crashing lame parties in Beirut!
Happy new year everyone!!