2022 has come to an end! Politically, it was a wild year. But what was it like for me?
One of the first things that happened was that I started my side gig. I taught a small group of people from south Wales about climate change. And pretty much as soon as that had ended, my contact person had a suggestion for another small group of people to teach as well. In total, I did the course three times! And it didn't go as well as I hoped; the numbers of people that showed up were low, and there were technical issues. And I needed to get into the swing of this new way of teaching. I'm still learning! But at least the ball is rolling now, and in 2023 it will roll again. It won't roll to financial stability; having taught that course three times, I basically could pay for one solar panel with the money I earned. But I did find it enriching. I hope my learners did too!
The next big thing to happen was big for the entire world: the war in the Ukraine started. It is far away, of course, but the direct effects on me were twofold: I angrily switched off my boiler and did any heating of the house I needed with my wood stove. And I registered as a potential host for a Ukrainian refugee. By the end of the year I was still primarily relying on my wood stove, but nothing has happened regarding the Ukrainian refugees. I have put a lot of effort into trying to get involved in the process of allocation; I think it is very important that guest and host match, and I know I am slightly eccentric. But I didn't get anywhere, and the council did not contact me with a potential guest. So absolutely nothing has happened on that front!
When it came to energy, more things happened; I got my solar panels, with all the faff associated with that, and my infrared panels. I am quite chuffed with all of these! And I started using the shared electric vehicle in the village. And if I had to go into the office, but had a reason not to bike, I got into the habit of hitching a ride with friends (mostly Susan) going the same way, rather than putting an extra car onto the road. My carbon footprint must have come down! I was also involved in the regional citizens’ assembly. So far, basically, we have only talked; in 2023, we should start to take decisive action. I really hope it will be a success!
I also went back to racing. With amazing success! I ran several minutes off my personal best on the half marathon, and I finished as third woman in the world’s steepest street race. I was really proud of that! Although I must've overdone the training, and I ended up with an ankle injury that only went away after both rest and physiotherapy. The injury also lead to me temporarily shifting the balance from running to mountain biking. If I have the choice, I will run, but it was really good to have this alternative available. And I even got two social rides out of it!
Two big projects having to do with the house also finished; one was rendering the west facade, and the other one was stabilising the wall between my upper and lower garden. It felt good to have that out of the way! Even though I later found out that the rendering had been totally unsuitable. One day it will have to come off again. I also dealt with some vegetation that was being potentially threatening the house.
In spring, I got a visit from my Finnish sister. And in autumn, my Dutch sister visited. It was a really good year for visits!
Over summer, I had a MSc student. Unfortunately, he did not pass, so I hope he will successfully resubmit his thesis in 2023.
After the summer, term started easy for me. I didn't have to organise welcome week anymore! So I could just spend my energy on the field work. I wasn't responsible for that this year, but it was still far from trivial, with a lot of early starts because of the tides. But at least we didn't have Covid restrictions anymore that made of the logistic nightmare. I think it was a success!
After that I went back to the office full-time. That was a big change! It was good to physically see colleagues again, and see students in a normal way, without face masks. But the cat started giving herself bald patches, and she is still doing that! The hypothesis is that she misses me. I'm still pondering how I can strike the best balance between holding down my day job and keeping my cat happy.
The going back to Anglesey was also affected by the old bridge closing for motorised transport. But you can still cross it on bicycle, so although I was worried when it briefly closed for all traffic, no further disruptions have followed for me.
It was not a year in which I went underground a lot. I have people to go in the ground with; both Kates, and Lydia, and Miles, but all of them have a tendency to either be busy or away. And I suppose I am regularly quite busy myself. I did have some work to do with the rescue team, though, and that is likely to only increase in the New Year.
I also started to officially teach in Welsh. And that really should increase!
What was it I wrote as my expectations and hopes for this past year? “I do hope the pandemic will become less intrusive. I also hoped that last year, but well, I will have to just hope it again. I also hope that at the end of the year, I will be RSI-free. Another one I was already hoping last year! I hope that my interaction with Adult Education Wales goes well and leads to more things in the future. I hope I’ll manage to find a replacement for my elderly boiler that is as environmentally-friendly as possible, and that I will get it installed. I'm not sure I should consider relying on it another winter. And I hope I will find another opportunity to go for a long hike with Kate, and that I will have loads of good times with usual suspects. Watch this space to find out how this all pans out, and what curveballs life throws at me in 2022!”
Some of that happened! The pandemic is really less intrusive now. And I did get to do my climate course several times. And I totally did get quite a lot of time with usual suspects. But the rest didn't happen! My RSI hasn't gone away, I still have the elderly gas boiler, and I haven't gone on particularly long hikes with Kate. But at least I've got a few shorter ones in!
So what for 2023? One thing I want to do is improve my general quality of life. I feel like I had a peak in summer 2019. And I want to turn that into a local maximum. And just get the curve to go up again! Preferably past that point. But let's first aim for a positive gradient. I also expect that there will be more happening on the dating front in 2023 than it did in 2022. To be honest, I have no idea if anything is going to happen with Ukrainians or with going underground. Or with boiler replacement. But I do think my role in the rescue team will become even bigger, and I do think I will make moves towards more Welsh provision at university. Which I think is a good thing!
I hope I can restore the cat to her full fluffiness. And I will have to sort out my garden! Some of it is currently a blank slate, and if I don't fill that then voluntary creatures like brambles will.
I also hope that at the end of 2023, I will still be enjoying the company of my hill-dwelling friends! Stay tuned for another year in the life.