The start of a new decade, my goodness! It really doesn’t seem like it was 10 years ago that I spent New Year’s Day 2000 at the Emergency Department of Medway Hospital after some kind soul threw a glass bottle in my face and shattered my cheekbone (all OK now!), but what a lot has happened in the last 10 years! For my own amusement more than anything, here are some of my highlights from the Noughties…
2000: Year of said medical trauma and two ensuing operations to reconstruct my face! Don’t worry, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds but I do have a nice little piece of titanium in my face now (no it doesn’t set off the alarms at airports!). The year 2000 was also when I passed my driving test (first time!) and turned 18. Crikey.
2001: Passed my A-levels (A in French, Bs for Chemistry and General Studies, Cs in Psychology and Biology, FYI) and went off to University (Warwick). The picture was taken in the summer holiday before I went away. Pictured are my two school friends Charlie and Charlotte, with me and my very odd hair in the middle! (Isn’t it weird that we didn’t have digital cameras back then!?)
2002: End of my first year at university (passed the year with a mid 2:2) and the beginning of my second year. I also got a job at the Honiley Court Hotel to pay my way. Not much to report in 2002, really!
2003: End of the second year and beginning of the third year. Went to my first ever festival – the very muddy but very excellent Eurockeenes de Belfort in France. I turned 21 and had a big family and friends together BBQ party at my house.
2004: This year will always be marred by the fact that my beloved Dad passed away from a recurring brain tumour. But on a happier note, is also the year that I completed my degree in Biological Sciences with a high 2:1 (in fact I got 68.9% which is 1.1% off a 1st – a fact I’m pretty proud of!)
2005: In September 2004 I started my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) and in 2005 I finished it to become a fully qualified secondary school teacher of Science, specialising in Biology. Pictured are two of my friends from that time, Laura (one of my housemates) and Debbie (Digital cameras had finally been invented). Yet another weird haircut from me!
2006: After my PGCE I took up my first (and as it happens my only) full time teaching post at Cranbrook School. I also started to develop the travel bug with holidays to Vermont (school skiing trip), Barcelona (with friends, pictured, at the Primavera festival) and a summer in Cornwall and a half term in Portugal, both solo trips.
2007: Probably the best year of my life so far, and difficult to pick out representative photos from the hundreds I took! I continued to teach at Cranbrook up until July, then as my last official duty I took a group of lower sixth students to Honduras for two weeks of conservation study (which involved me climbing a *very* tall tree (pictured). Upon my return, I reluctantly left my flat and moved back in with my mum for the summer before embarking on the biggest trip of my life. First stop was New York for two weeks to acclimatise myself to travelling, then I quickly dropped myself in the deep end by travelling to Ecuador in South America. After two weeks flying solo, I joined a group tour which took me from Ecuador to Argentina over the course of the next two months. I met some amazing people in my group, including my very good friend Kathleen who I then lived with upon our return to London in 2008.
Together with the rest of the group, we explored the silver mines of Bolivia, traversed Lake Titicaca, hanglided over the cliffs of Lima, hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, tasted the wine in Chile and cried for Argentina in Buenos Aires. After the group trip, I continued to travel through the north of Argentina and spent Christmas in BA with a guy from Warwickshire whom, little did I know, would later turn out to be the best thing to happen to me! 🙂
2008: The second best year of my life so far! The travelling continued with 6 weeks in beautiful New Zealand, 2 months in an unusually wet and stormy Australia (where I also furthered my passion for Scuba diving by volunteering on a dive boat on the great Barrier Reef in exchange for free dives!), a few weeks in gorgeous Indonesia where my friend from home, Luisa, came out to see me and caught the diving bug too. Then it was onto Singapore, through Malaysia and into Thailand, which I loved so much, having found myself an awesome couple of travelling partners in the shape of Suzanne and Claire, that I accidentally overstayed my visa and had to pay a fine at the Laos border! Laos was both beautiful and crazy, Cambodia broke my heart and Vietnam was a busy, friendly and fun, despite being stuck up a mountain for a week because rain had washed the roads away!
My last stop in August 2008 was a two-week stay in Beijing where I caught some of the Olympic Games. Although reluctant to come home, I at least had Tom waiting for me!
2009: And so onto the final year of the decade. This year has seen me adjust to some major changes, such as moving to London and starting a new career in the world of science publishing and communications. I started freelancing in addition to my day job and this has started to take me in some exciting and unexpected directions! Tom and I have continued our long distance relationship, which hopefully, in 2010 will be more of a short-distance relationship as we plan to move in together (not bad for some bloke I met on holiday)! My brother graduated, finally, after 5 difficult years at university and I’m really proud of him.
So, the Noughties have certainly been a year of ups and downs. It’s quite weird that you can summarise a whole decade in just a few words, but hopefully this blog will help me to remember the Teenies in more detail. Hope I don’t bore you too much!