As the book on 2010 closes and we put it away on the shelf I think it is only right for me to reflect one last time!
While the year has by no means been straight forward, This post is going to be looking back at the good times, I’ve got 5 specific events to share with you. There are many more but these are the ones I’ve chosen.
- 1: Return to Canada:
In April/May I returned to Canada and the USA for the first time since living in Ottawa for a year in 2006/07. I got to meet up with some old friends and go do some of the things I didn’t get the chance to do when I was there the first time. Going up the Peace Tower is a big highlight but so was a road trip to Boston, MA. I had originally planned to go in early 2007 but a fairly horrific snow storm stopped me that time. A double visit to the legendary Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and hours upon hours of ‘Great Big Sea’ while traveling through New Hampshire and Quebec will stay with me for a long time!
- 2: Promotion at Last:
April also brought something that I didn’t think would happen, Rochdale, my football team got promoted! It’s not happened in my life time, infact, before 2010 the last promotion the side gained was in 1969. Over the last few years I have been to many, many matches through mediocre performances, one off cup days out to play off victories and failures. At the final whistle on April 17 2010 I was one of the hoards of people who flooded the pitch at Spotland Stadium. Some young and had only ever known the good times, many older and in tears having never thought they would ever see it happen. Football is often over rated for it’s influence on people, sometimes, it’s all about the escapism, 40 years of not very much to shout about was released in one big joyous cheer at the final whistle. Pure Joy.
- 3: Chicago/Columbia:
September came and another trip to the States, this time for work with a de-tour to South Carolina. Seeing the other sides of America away from New York State and New England and into the wilds of South Carolina and rich heritage of Illinois was wonderful. This is actually the first time I’ve been sent on a work related mission. The mission: to go and learn about the American manufacturing market at the IMTS manufacturing show in Chicago. The USA might be seen as our close brothers in politics and in attitudes but things are very different. Stereotype at your peril because there is much to surprise you and much to learn about our American friends beyond what we see in the news and on the TV. You can find the articles I wrote at the time here: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4.
- 4: Kidz Klub Cycle Ride:
This was one of the most draining and painful things I’ve ever done and that was just the planning! The Cycle Ride to end all cycle rides was 6 of us biking the entire length of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, a whole 132 miles and 18 hours of shingle, gravel, grass, cobbles, tarmac, locks, gates, gates and more gates. I was ruined after the ride but it was all worth it in the end. We well passed our target of £4000 raised for Kidz Klub Leeds and money is still trickling in some 6 months after the event. Excluding the pain it was actually highly enjoyable knowing we were doing this for something worthwhile and far bigger than us. However, if we ever decide we are feeling stupid enough to do something like this again it WILL NOT be on canal towpaths! You can follow the entire story of the ride on the sister blog I set up at the time here on: Doing the 132.
- 5: Weddings and Engagements:
I was honoured to be best man for Rob at his and Andreea’s wedding in the Spring. With this, I must include the Stag day in Newcastle including box time at St James’ Park for a Newcastle United game. Being best man is probably the highest honour a man can give to another man so to be asked once, by Ed for his wedding some 18 months ago was incredible. This was the 2nd time I have been asked and I was only too happy to make Rob squirm when making my speech. The wedding was wonderful and the reception afterwards was fantastic. A true rock out, enjoyable and proud day.
I’ve actually been asked to be a best man for a 3rd time later on in 2011 by Chris, one of my oldest and best Kidz Klub friends. I feel incredibly privileged by this and to have such great friends who trust me enough to stand and represent them in front of their nearest and dearest and their new family. However, it does give me a problem for if and when I get married. Who do I choose?! The royal rumble fight might be held later this year as seen as all the candidates at the moment will be in the UK at the same time!
Finally, one of my very best friends got engaged at Christmas time, I am beyond overjoyed for Grace and of course for Dave. I would write something deep and meaningful but I hope they both know already how happy I am for them.
- Conclusion: Growth
Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, professionally, perhaps even physically I have grown stronger and more mature this year. It was very flattering to be told my my supervisors how much I have improved since the beginning of the year in many areas but especially in a professional sense. I think I am settling into my roles far better now than I was last year. I think I was a little lost come 1st January 2010. I don’t claim to be any clearer on the answers on January 1st 2011 but then it would be no fun if I had those. But I feel I can address situations better and push on into the next year.
I’ve enjoyed bringing this blog back to life this year, I forgot how much fun and useful it is it for me to write down what is going on. I hope you have enjoyed reading it, from what I gather there are a few of you out there (who are not spam bots) who do!
Here’s to a wonderful 2011!