A Wrap on 2017 Adventures

It’s the 30th of January and with only one New Year’s resolution – to write at least 1 blogpost a month – time was fast running out on avoiding total failure. So here I am, in London, 2 and a half weeks after my second hip operation, effectively housebound, very belatedly looking back at 2017 through the haze of mind-addling painkillers.

The last year was filled with a huge whirlwind of changes, emotional turmoil and growth. Nowhere was this more evident than in my hip recovery journey from my first LPAO. I arrived in Hong Kong back from London at the beginning of 2017, fragile and terrified. At one point in those early months I found myself in the MTR during rush hour. I attempted to navigate through the crowd rather unsteadily on my crutches – sticking to the wall and making myself as small as possible. However, the unrelenting stream of people kept pushing around me, tripping on my crutches, walking into me, and shouting at me for being in the way. I think a small part of me genuinely feared for my life. Against all odds, I made it out alive – and vowed never to make that mistake again! Fast forward many months, physio sessions, x-rays, and home exercises, to November. I was in a field in Yuen Long heaving around buckets of gravel, 30kg spheres and throwing myself over 7ft barricades. To my mum’s absolute horror, I had signed up to the Spartan Sprint Race, a 6km run interspersed with lots of obstacles. While I did complete the course, I also managed to strain my operated hip and was back on crutches for a few days. Not that I learnt my lesson, a few weeks later, inspired by an Ultimate Beastmaster Netflix binge, I decided to try my hand at bouldering/rock climbing (which requires huge amounts of hip flexion)- and fell in love with it. As I sit here at the start of the recovery journey again, I wonder whether my poor hips will forever be doomed to suffer at the hands of my stupid whims…

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I also got my first taste of “real” adulthood – which I’m not totally sure I care for. For the first time in our two year relationship, my boyfriend Lucas and I were going to be living in the same city! To celebrate this miracle, we found a little flat to rent to see if we could actually stand each other for more than a month. We settled in quickly and soon had our first houseguests. We arrived home after a long day, turned on the lights and were met with a cheery family of cockroaches crawling around on our dining room table and the kitchen counter. We were too exhausted to face them, so we simply turned off the lights and ignored them – giving them free rein of the house. As the months went by we found that we could stand each other (me and Lucas, that is) and we slowly settled into an amiable routine. A particular highlight for us was the bi-weekly attack we launched on our unwanted houseguests. When the Narcos craze was at its highest, we even threw in Spanish profanities when laying down our poison or shooting that killing spray. It wasn’t all cockroaches though and we both survived this ordeal – enjoying it so much that we’re hoping to repeat it all in September 2018…Canada maybe…

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Although I managed to do quite a bit of traveling in the last year (which I will definitely write about separately very soon, I promise), one trip in particular stuck out in my mind. In September, I set off for Western Sumatra for a 3 day training course and conference that I was going to lead with my colleague Sophie. The very first day, everything that could possibly go wrong, did. By the end of the day we had a thousand students waiting an hour in a hall while we attempted to fix the incessant technical issues that kept cropping up. Luckily it only got better from there and did manage to end in success. However, it was a huge lesson for me in keeping calm in the face of total disaster.

While it was a big work learning experience for me, it was also special as I have ancestral roots in Western Sumatra. My grandmother came from Padang, and I grew up with fantastical stories from my mum and dad about the Minang Kabau tribe and my great uncle the Raja Datuk Pengkulu (which very roughly translates to Warrior Duke Pengkulu). A small part of me expected to be met at the airport by a crowd of adoring, royal and important family members, but sadly that didn’t quite play out like that. While I don’t actually have any known living relatives there anymore, it was incredible to go to the country that had so much influence in my family.

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