Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Another Year, Gone...

Hello again, friends. I thought it was only right and proper that we write one more blog post before we all say goodbye to 2010. Before I bring you up to speed on our festive shenanigans, I'm going to go all reflective and newspaper column-esque by having a look back at this year, which has been a pretty huge one for Ania and myself. I'm going to attempt to do this chronologically, so apologies in advance for anything or anyone that I miss out.

I guess the first big thing of this year for us was deciding to go on this trip! We'd been discussing it for a while as an 'in-a-couple-of-years' idea, but it was in February or March that we decided to move our plans forward and carpe that dium!

Another important thing for us both was that I finally got to meet Ania's paternal grandfather, Stas, in March. Ania doesn't see her Polish dziadzio often, because he lives in Munich, but there is a positive side to the fact that he lives so far away: we get to sample the wonderful beers at the Hofbräuhaus whilst we're there! Seriously though, it was great to meet Captain Wujastyk after hearing so much about him. He's doing well for the ripe old age of (almost) 97, and we had great fun listening to his and his wife Charlotta's stories.

In May, Ania and I took part in our fifth Brighton Festival Fringe with our improv comedy troupe, Off the Cuff. This was a great milestone for us and of course, there was to be more comedy-based fun in August...

July was pretty big for us both as we quit our jobs at Continuum and Media Sound. We also moved out of our beloved flat in Brighton, which we'd lived in for just a year. We really miss it and without wishing the trip away, I can't wait to see home again! So with no jobs and no home, this was the month we really became committed to this trip! We also flew to Thailand (the day after we finished work, no less) to join Ania's schoolfriend Gemma Fish (née Brown), who got married to Alan on the beautiful island of Koh Samui.

In August we flew home to Britain and went to join our Off the Cuff brothers and sisters in Edinburgh for the world's biggest Arts festival. This was my first experience of the Edinburgh Festival and I loved it: living in Edinburgh, seeing and performing in loads of shows, spotting celebs on every corner (comedians Daniel Kitson, Alex Horne and Mark Watson, along with Clarke Peters from The Wire were my highlights) and eating the best chips known to man. My idea of heaven! I even chronicled our adventures here.

We spent early September saying goodbye to our families in such glamorous locations as Chiswick, Malta and Essex (!), before we flew from London to Delhi on 19th September. The rest, I hardly need to go over, as it's all laid down here on this blog! Scroll down to 'Older Posts' if you're feeling all nostalgic!

And perhaps the biggest event of the year (for us!): Ania and I celebrated our five year anniversary in October, in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Aw!

So what have we been up to over the Christmas period? I'll start with Christmas Eve. Myself, Ania, her cousin Lucy and her boyfriend Peter were invited to a party at Peter's parents' house. We had a great time with amazing food, secret santa presents and plenty to drink of course! Thanks so much to Peter's folks, Con and Marina, for making us feel so welcome. It meant a lot at Christmas time when we were missing our own families most.

Peter, Con and Marina (back row); Lucy, Ania and me, with Lilly the cat sneaking into shot in the foreground, in the early hours of Christmas morning:

Peter's cousins Marissa and Adam playing 'Just Dance' on the Wii. This was great fun and absolutely no one looked embarrassing or stupid playing it!

Christmas Day we spent at Lucy and Peter's flat, just the four of us! We had an interesting meal that reflected our different nationalities, heritages and tastes! I think it's best if I let Lucy explain:

After some food we opened presents. We had four very happy people, as you can see:

Peter, Lucy and our Christmas 'tree' (actually the plant we got them as a house-warming gift, with tinsel on it):

Luce and Pete bought me a beautiful edition of the Lord of the Rings, which I plan to read in Mordor. I mean New Zealand.

Peter and Lucy with pressies:

Ania's new playsuit, a lovely present from Lucy and Peter:

Four happy campers:

Then we did something which must feel alien for any Brit who's abroad on Christmas Day: we went to the beach. Yes, the BEACH! It was rammed and there were lots of people wearing santa hats along with their swimthings. Ania and I had a dip in the sea, which was cold at first but 'lovely once you're in'. We spent the evening having more food and drink (of course) and watching the film Up, which was excellent and felt Christmassy somehow.

A packed Coogee beach on Christmas Day:

On Boxing Day Ania and I visited my family in a different part of Sydney. We had a barbie and watched some of the fourth Ashes Test on TV. We did pretty well in that one, I think! It was great to see my uncle and aunt, Tony and Glenys, plus my cousins Trystan - and Kate, who was visiting from China. In the evening we went to the cinema and saw The Tourist, which I really enjoyed. The next day Ania, Tony and I went to Bobbin Head for a walk in the National Park. After the blazing sunshine on Christmas Day, it rained on Boxing Day and the 27th! Here's the three of us on the mangrove boardwalk. Mum, Dad and Rach, do you recognise the location from our last trip here in 2005?!

Me with a crazy tree that looks like a foot, again in Bobbin Head.

Drinking some delightful, if overpriced, beer at the Lord Nelson pub at the Rocks, Sydney, on our way back from Tony and Glenys's house. Thanks for the recommendation, Tony: we loved it!

Wearing all of my Australia gear from Glenys, Tony, Kate and Trys. I swear they're trying to turn me...

So now it's New Year's Eve, in the early hours. I must get myself to bed because we've got a big day ahead of us: queuing for a spot to watch Sydney's famous fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge with Lucy and Peter. It's going to be great!

Happy New Year to you all! May 2011 bring you success, health and happiness!

With love from us both,

Stu & Ania xxx

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