GOODBYE 2015

JANUARY

January went by very slowly and I thought, “Finally! This is going to be the year that doesn’t zoom by.”

Preoccupied with exams, starting second semester and putting on a musical in a local theatre, the month was busy, full and steady. Each day came with a sweet welcoming taste and left with soft scrumptious memories. I was up to date with life, not chasing after it, falling behind.

2015 came in with a bang (quite literally). We should really learn how to use fireworks. My news years resolutions included

  • Get to know Jesus better. (check)
  • Learn to “chill out”. (maybe check)
  • Finish a novel. (i scrapped one and started another…)
  • Record music. (recorded three originals… that field is going to be left empty for a while)
  • Find a job that suits. (CHECK!)
  • Publish something. (CHECK CHECK CHECK!)
  • Progress. (not sure what I was referring to here but I definitely did)
  • Basically make a start on my life. (check)
  • Be happy. (check!)

The highlight of January was the original musical we created called “Act of Faith”. It was a stressful, faith testing, dynamic, trajectory experience. January taught me to trust the Lord. We could not have performed that show without him. On the 16th of January we had the first night and I finally felt alive for the first time in a while. I was doing something I loved FOR someone I love – God. It went so well except for a bench breaking on stage.

Also in January, my dad got a job in Glasgow meaning he didn’t have to commute to London and stay there for half the week! It was a great answer to prayer in our family.

I learned how to like who I am because I’m comfortable in my skin. I learned to stop awaiting compliments if I made an effort with my outfit – I learned to dress for me. Which is a big step for all humans to make one day, I think.

zz1.jpg

 

 

DSC09347.JPG
and we got some decent fluffy snow

 

 

FEBRUARY

For some reason in this month I made some more resolutions:

  • Make this year count creatively.
  • Focus on uni.
  • Find courage and guidance on where to send my creative writing work.
  • Keep God in the middle.

I began to realise who my real friends were after weird phases of having different groups of people round to my house. I started watching ‘Nashville’ with my dad which after 12 months, we’re only at the beginning of season 2. (we have really different schedules) Ali & I tried an old fashioned approach to our relationship where we wouldn’t text, only phone. (it lasted one day). I saw Orla Gartland for the third time.

IMG_3527.JPG

Most exciting of the month when friends told us they had an “exciting annoucement”. I spent the whole day thinking they were going to tell us they were having a baby – when in reality, Act of Faith (the musical from last month) was going to be happening again! But this time it would be a TOUR around Glasgow with 9 dates.

Ali, I and some friends went to the ‘Banff Film Festival’ which inspired us to get into bouldering and actually book tickets to Canada for later that summer. We also organised a group trip to Portugal for April.

IMG_3622.PNG

I watched an awards show live for the first time in my life and it was the same one where Madonna fell of the stairs. It was priceless.

I also tried to be a vegetarian for Lent. It lasted six hours and then I ended up in Burger King. Whoops.

MARCH

March was the month of bouldering. About four times a week, Ali, myself and friends went to the TCA climbing centre in Glasgow. I moved up two levels in a few weeks and really fell in love with the sport! (spoiler alert… we haven’t been back since April. Phases in life are weird.)

IMG_3669.JPG

Ali got clipped by a car and his phone got smashed.

I got locked out the house by mum when I was in the hot tub because she thought I was in bed so I stood outside shivering in March bitterness for 10 minutes.

Ali and I picked up slack lining as well as climbing.

I had a beast of a Pinto with my uni pals.

IMG_3767.JPG

I began to feel the intensity of uni. This is the first semester where I’ve had to take an extra module – I decided to take a class of Literature, Culture and Technology which for the life of me, I cannot sumarise. It’s basically the study of old books. Having four classes to keep up with really stressed me out.

I laughed a lot in March. I realised that I like hanging out with old people. Like 90 years old. I learned how to communicate with certain people.

I accepted my feminism views and vowed to have integrity about them and not be scared to challenge people if I disagreed with them (which hasn’t always been peaceful but I haven’t any regrets about it).

 

IMG_3802.JPG
we both had an early finish so we slacklined

 

 

IMG_3694.JPG
my dog is a diva

 

 

IMG_3901.JPG
this happened when i tried to take a selfie and i’m interpreting it as a compliment

 

APRIL

We kicked off this month by heading up to Aviemore for 24 hours to hang out with Ali’s friend, Christine. We stayed up really late with referendum rage. The next day we went mountain biking, where I rode uphill in 6th gear, not realising I could change it. Then I became extremely dehydrated and had to take a long break and eat snow as a form of water because none of us had brought any. But Christine & Ali were so patient.

zz5.jpg
zz2.jpg

 

IMG_4016.JPG
we went on a wee date before coming home

 

Then Ali turned 23. We went out for breakfast with his family, then Kelvingrove for some slacklining on one of the warmest days of the year. Then Ali went to change some lightbulbs (typical…) and then we had a BBQ with friends at night.

z1.jpg

Then we had an exciting 2 weeks! We went to Faro, Portugal for a long weekend with 13 people from our Youth Fellowship at church. I’d never done a beach holiday before and it was extremely relaxing but also had traces of guilt for me to be spending so much time doing nothing and not writing anything about it or coming out with anything creative. (so the new years resolution of learning how to relax hasn’t happened…)

Highlights of the trip included Ali walking into a pole, Ali kissing Stu on the plane (twice) (should I worry?), Ali kissing Adam (think I should…), Stevie regurgitating his mocktail because it landed on his nose when he lifted his cup up, and intently watching and creating a running commentary for the world’s biggest stokes.

Immediately after getting off the plane from Portugal, Ali, Matt, Rachel and I drove from Edinburgh to the Lake District to spend five days in Centreparks which was the coolest place. It forces you to relax. It was another week of laughter. It was a relaxing lovely week spent with my family. We got a spa day where we got to go in 14 different steam rooms, a foot bath, a hydrotherapy pool and an outdoor pool for three hours.

In terms of uni, I was out of my element this month. I had to do some news articles – one on A&E waiting times and another on stroke units. I had to sit in lectures in science unis and interview people I barely knew.

z3.jpg

z5.jpg

But to make it better, on the 24th of April I surprised Ali with Ben Howard tickets. I had bought them six months ago and was keeping it a secret all that time. I finally got to tell him that night! Quote of the whole day: “I don’t know anything that’s happening in my life,” he said as I drove from place to place, him sitting in the passenger seat more confused than ever.

IMG_4170.JPG

I wrote a wee poem this month:

“I’ve never felt like this before.”
It’s the violet of all compliments.
The shade of sincerity that darkens all others.
To know that your body
mind
words
Are fresh like daisies upon my skeleton.

MAY

May was the month of exams so I had a hot date with Daniel Defoe and Jane Austen pretty much every day. If uni has taught me anything, it is how to hate reading. Which is sad because it’s my favourite thing. But it’s okay because the love returns in the summer.

IMG_4349.JPG

I spent my free time exercising and attending a magazine launch party for a great magazine called Quotidian. Check it out!

IMG_4302.JPG

Nothing interesting happened in this month, really. I listened to “Things We Lost in the Fire” by Bastille a lot. I love the part where he says:

Your diaries: I read them all one day
When loneliness came and you were away
Oh, they told me nothing new
But I love to read the words you used. 

I felt really down while exams were on. I sat at the kitchen table from 9-5 every day, worked Saturday’s 9-2 and had church for most hours on Sunday. “My days consist of studying, exercising when possible, squeezing in Ali, shopping in Boots for various medicines, tiptoeing round people, feeling like life is withering away, anticipating summer, craving time to write.”

 

IMG_4388.JPG
he’s too tolerant sometimes

 

As a break from studying, we had a “Cartsbridge Has Talent” night where I did “Who’s On First?” skit with my dad. Everyone laughed. Kind of.

 

 

IMG_4396
i came here at 6.30am one morning, just because

 

When I sat my first exam, it was harder than expected, we found a man in the ladie’s toilet who seemed very confused and embarrassed, and then went home to study for the next one. On the day of freedom (May 26, bless your soul) I met up with my plastics to see Pitch Perfect 2.

 

IMG_4550.JPG
we look happy and slightly scared

 

When I got home, Ali picked me up from the train station with flowers and my favourite snacks. He bought me a Starbucks and we walked around Rouken Glen. It’s the little things.

 

IMG_4272.JPG
i visited my grandparents. i’ll always remember this. 

 

 

IMG_4511.JPG
a friend had pet lambs for a few months and we had to ‘lambsit’ one weekend.

 

I renewed my passport at the U.S. embassy, held a snake, and caught up with some of my favourite people.

z4z9

Then, things started to get hard. Spoiler alert: I’ve had a difficult year in terms of family. It seems as though after every situation is resolved, another one crops up. So I’m going to call this Crisis #1.

JUNE

To kick off June I created some more resolutions – this time for summer.

  • Edit my London & Albania video. (check!)
  • Finish writing something. (think this will always be a work in progress)
  • Record some music. (recorded three originals!)
  • Bake. (I made three cakes all summer.)
  • Scrapbook. (I found some old photos and they’re sitting inside an envelope.)

But resolutions are just guidelines. Real life happens spontaneously.

 

IMG_4756.JPG
i decided to take my instagram account very seriously

 

I saw my school friends a lot – this happens a lot during the holidays and it’s lovely. Then on June 4th, my friend Ysef and I played a gig at the art school and it was the strangest night of my life. Their version is art is a lot more explicit than my version. The funny thing was though that I convinced all of my friends that I was the sun baby from the Telletubbies and then Ysef announced it to everyone there while we were on stage and I had people asking me for my autographs later. One of the highlights from 2015…

IMG_4721.JPG

IMG_4770.JPG

IMG_4767.JPG

Completing another one of my original resolutions was that I got a new job! I left the bakery and started doing admin for an occupational health company. It may be boring but I get to choose my shifts and I get paid a lot better so it ties in nicely with my life.

IMG_4838.JPG

On the 14th of June, I saw some old friends from Minnesota which was crazy surreal but really nice. And on that same day, I got published in the Grind Journal! Mine is the first featured story in there (page 10) if you’re interested. It gave me a huge confidence boost and I managed to really pursue a lot more ideas this summer.

IMG_4914.JPG

We had our first information night for Act of Faith starting again. // My friend, Stu, left to go to Africa for 6 months. // We had a visitor from Minnesota, Wynter, stay with us for a few weeks as she did some travelling around Scotland! // I went to Oceans Room for my first massage and facial which was… interesting.

June was the month of tackling insecurities. Being unsure of myself has always been an issue and I’m often very effected by one mean comment vs. 100 nice ones. Someone called me ‘boring’ and it stuck with me so much that I cried in an alley way in Glasgow and got grey paint on the back of my bright yellow jacket. 

Thankfully, Taylor Swift exists. I went to see her live and she said something that I have referred back to every single few days in the last 6 months.

“You are not someone else’s opinion of you.”

I repeat that to myself any time someone puts me down for the sake of it. I can take constructive criticism but when someone attacks me for their own pride, this is what I go back to. Thanks Taylor.

z8.jpg

z2.jpg

I also cut off all of my hair which I terrified of doing because last time I went for a huge chop, I felt bald. But this time, I liked it.

IMG_5026

June 24th also marked five years since I left my house in Minnesota. I felt pretty emotional but mostly grateful at how far I’ve come in those five years. If you know me at all, you’ll understand.

Our friend, Benji, came over from Germany to spend some time with us this summer. We spent a day in Edinburgh mocking prices of tourist attractions, an afternoon in the West End drinking Bubble Tea, and a colourful morning doing a 5k in Glasgow Green.

zz3.jpg

z4.jpg

My friends Neil & Becky got married.

12278634_10153361189126312_4255480230025410048_n.jpg

 

And lo and behold, family crisis #2 entered the picture.

JULY

Kicked off July with a weekend away at a music festival in Gloucester. It was a weekend of dance hits at midnight, vanilla chai tea, 5am walks to the toilet that I don’t even remember, savouring moments that I could live in forever – like James Bay’s cover of ‘If I Ain’t Got You‘. And watching someone get engaged.

z1.jpg

z2.jpg

We celebrated Liz & Iain’s 25th wedding anniversary which was sweet.

I turned 20. Which kind of freaked me out. Read about that here.

{family crisis #3 happened right about here}

Ali & I started planning our Canada trip which was less than a month away!

I got kind of swept up in work, family drama, feeling guilty for not completing resolutions, turning twenty, trying to find things to do with short hair, avoiding walking past my old work, that I don’t really remember much about July.

I may not be home.
I may not ever be home.
But I am amongst it.
I am amongst home, I’m sure.

I spent a day in Largs with my grandmother and two cousins and realised that it has to be one of my favourite little places in Scotland. I also have began appreciating the sincerity and importance of family this year.

AUGUST

August, I realised how quickly the year was going. That’s all I have to say on the subject.

I spent the first few weeks of August helping out with church things. During term time, church gets busier. We designed and ordered leaflets for our Friday night youth club called ‘Impact’. We wrote some of the script for Act of Faith. I attended King’s Club at night to help out with some games.

And then we went to Canada! You can read all about that here.

I also got engaged, so that was cool. Even more cool – I passed out on the plane! I’ll insert some photos to colour this month up.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SEPTEMBER

For the first five days, we were still in Canada. Getting home was strange because although we didn’t want to leave our holiday, we were coming back to plan a wedding which was equally as exciting!

IMG_6194.JPG

IMG_6199.JPG

{family crisis #4}

Choosing a wedding date proved harder than expected but after that, plans were pretty easy and within 6 weeks we had a venue, someone to marry us, a photographer, a band, a wedding party, bridesmaids dresses and I had my wedding dress.

Act of Faith rehearsals started up again and we are putting on a show called ‘New Day’. Tickets are available here – please come & see it!

I saw my friends for the first time since getting engaged and it took away all the stress of choosing a date because we cried and laughed and swooned over the whole situation. My friends Alice & Fiona are bridesmaids but I kept it a secret until October 24th. I was so desperate to tell them! Every time I saw them it was so hard to bite my tongue.

IMG_6280.JPG

“Life is a series of unfinished conversations, lost in the chaos of destruction. Our final words tumbling like stars until finally they fade inevitably leading to broken relationships beacuse when have we ever concluded a thought, made true our opinion, told them firmly our story. Our sentences sit in their lap, hot and enticing, and we say we’ll pick it up later but we never return.” Found this in my journal for the 20th of September. Not sure what it was about contextually but it means something anyway.

We confirmed our wedding venue & date at some point: July 27, 2016 & the Waterside Hotel in West Kilbride. There’s a private beach for our wedding guests so… sold.

IMG_6285.JPG

Family crisis #5. This one isn’t so confidential. Our house got broken into near the end of the month. We came home to find nothing missing except for two piggy banks and a wedding fund that Ali & I had been putting quite a bit of money in every day. This led to police involvement, dusting for fingerprints, a panic about money, and my dad setting up CCTV. We never caught the person but thankfully, we were gifted the money.

I don’t know why this happened but I know that God used this situation for the best. We all feel a lot safer in the house and he used these moments to remind us that we need to rely on him and not cash.

To follow that tragic discovery, our YF went away for the weekend which was quaint, fun and memorable. We also crashed a boat.

OCTOBER

I went back to uni at the end of September and so by October, I was in the full swing of stress again.

I saw Rae Morris again with my mum & Ali which was a good weekend break.

IMG_0100.JPG

 

IMG_0255.JPG
F A M I L Y

 

There was some collateral damage from all the family crisises in October which preocupied me a little bit in October, our church started a new thing called ‘Church:’. This was the first time in a while that I felt people really let God in. Scotland can be quite a closed and cold country but tonight, the lights were dim, we were welcomed with some baking, there was a real sense of community, fairy lights decorated the stage, modern worship songs, a game to involve people and prayer at the end. I was allowed to be vulnerable, cry openly, hug, be held by God’s people. This is what church should be like every day.

10817904_1713479738880149_42812753_n(1).jpg

Family crisis #6 (Do you see what I mean? They keep happening. We didn’t get a break this year.)

But God keeps blessing me. On the 24th of October we had the loveliest engagement party with all our closest friends & family. We played games that tested our knowledge of one another, I had to ‘guess my fiance’s leg’, we had a good meal, we hinted at colour themes and flower choices, and we got to ask our flower girls, ushers, best man & bridesmaids if they would help us out. They all said yes! Except one…

 

z6.jpg
she changed her mind eventually 🙂 

 

It was a wonderful day and it reminded me to take love easy and not be scared to show it in front of people. I felt so blessed that my friends were there to help & that this was really happening.

“Love your man & love him twice.” – The Kooks.

I spent the morning running around trying to find gypsophila flowers, put a sign on the door saying ‘Just Come In :)’, saw friends that I hadn’t seen in way too long, tried not to cry as I invited people into the wedding party, and got called ‘Ethereal’ which was nice.

To end the month, I saw Suffragettes, purchased the bridesmaid dresses and dealt with family crisis #7. (I’m not kidding.)

NOVEMBER

November was the collateral damage of crisis #7 and the beginning of #8. Thankfully, there isn’t a #9. There’s not many big things that I can write about for November because it’s all kind of personal but I’ll highlight the small details.

I saw MSMR for the second time which I actually regret doing. And I’m not the kind of person who regrets things.

We sent out our Save the Dates which was exciting and surreal!

I got a tattoo on my foot.

I went through to Edinburgh for Alice’s 21st.

I completely lost my voice, to many peoples’ disappointment…

I became consumed in uni work.

I went to a career’s fair and realised I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

So yeah, exciting.

 

zz2.jpg
went out for bonfire night.

 

IMG_0375.JPG
foggy doggy walks

 

IMG_0385.JPG
i went rollerblading, crashed into 3 trees and lost my phone

 

 

 

 

IMG_0392.JPG
there were free donuts on gordon street

 

 

IMG_0555.JPG
the happiest day in November

 

 

DSC_0018.JPG

 

DECEMBER

Bah Humbug, basically. I’m not a Christmas fan. The holiday has become corrupted and pressuring.

This month we started advertising ‘New Day’ by making a promo video and starting social media accounts. It all feels very official. We have 3,500 tickets to sell so please… come.

December was a lot of referring back to Taylor Swift’s advice from June – You are not someone else’s opinion of you.

It actually changes everything. It puts who you are into perspective. It reminds you that you’re not what they say you are because guess what, they don’t know you.

I spent most days in December studying or working. I really love ‘The Goblin Market’ and ‘Diamond as Big as the Ritz’. If you’re looking for something marvellous and quick to read, there you go.

Catherine & I got caught by Strathclyde Security for “vandalising public property” – aka, writing political poetry on stairs with chalk.

IMG_0657.JPG

I went to the Christmas Markets in Edinburgh with two invaluable friends – Adam & Rachel. We had a great day.

I had a Christmas meal out with the bible study girls where we exchanged Secret Santa presents. It was all very festive. (ok, so some parts of Christmas aren’t bad)

I saw “It’s A Wonderful Life” which is long and overrated and then went to Garage with some of my favourites.

Spent Christmas Eve with friends and family, had a quiet and game board-y Christmas Day, saw the annual King’s Theatre panto, watched Taylor Swift’s tour video, let the Bridesmaids try on their dresses, threw a surprise party for Adam because he left for the army on the 4th of January, 2016, looked at wedding bands, binge watched 8 episodes of 90210, and celebrated Hogmanay with six swell people.

Overall, 2015 was a year of hardship. I learned that people can be totally unreliable. I learned that I am not in control. I learned that I can grow a lot in the space of 12 months. I learned that I am a good enough writer to get published. I learned what it is like to be in love and how to take it seriously. I learned who my real friends are. I learned the meaning of family.

I learned that sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes he calms you during the storm. Mostly, God calmed me while the storms rolled. He can’t always change circumstance because free will is a choice that humans have. But he can add in wonderful and unexpected blessings (like getting engaged) and remind you that he is your solid rock.

Thank you 2015. You’ve been nae bad.

Xo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s