End of 2018: A Life Update

On the last day of 2018 (what!) I am feeling all sorts of contemplative. One of my favourite things to do on NYE is to reflect on life in the last 12 months.

A big event this year was that three of my dearest friends moved out of Cambridge to other countries, something I’ve found difficult to accept. It’s always nice to know that you have people around the world to visit, though, and I equally think it’s fab that they’re pursuing adventures elsewhere. In other news…

Werk werk werk:

I started a 9 month contract at a biotech company in April. I was slightly hesitant about working full time in a “traditional role” after a year of self employment post maternity leave, but it felt like an opportunity I didn’t want to say no to. It turned out to be a great decision - yes, as expected, life got slightly more chaotic trying to juggle a toddler, friends, life admin and work, but I really found myself enjoying the work itself and the routine of office life. Plus, I get to work heavily with our Japanese and Chinese teams, which is a nice perk I wasn’t expecting and great for the old language skills. I was offered a permanent role in November!

Writing:

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The full time job has afforded me less time (actually, energy) to write, but I did write another piece for the Evening Standard and publish an article in Vegan Food & Living magazine (the veganism continues! 14 months and never looked back).

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The biggest writing / editing project I took on was a super important one. After my Grandad died last year, my Mum and her siblings found his war diaries amongst his belongings. My Mum has been hard at work typing them up this year, and I spent several days copy editing the text, finding copyright-free images and formatting the pages so that I could get it printed in time for Christmas. My Mum cried when I handed it to her on Christmas morning; it’s a special memory of Grandad and his amazing experiences in the RAF. It’s tentatively titled: ‘Nine Lives: The diary of an RAF vet’s many lucky escapes’. We’re going to get more copies printed in the new year to share with friends, family and other ex-RAF veterans. Holler if you’d like a copy!


Yoga Teaching:

I’m finally qualified! It took a little longer than I had hoped due to a nasty tummy bug I got in Summer 2017, but in May I took my final assessment to gain my YTT 200 hours. I’ve yet to take on any formal classes, but have enjoyed throwing impromptu classes on family holidays.


Family expansion:

Happy news! We are expecting another baby boy next year. More madness to come in the Pepper-Wu household.

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I also gained a sister in law in October! Baby 2’s due date means that we unfortunately can’t attend their second wedding party in Peru in April, but we did celebrate in my parent’s village, at the same church Brandon and I got married in 8 years ago.

That “little sister” on the left also turned 30 this year. I organised her an “End of the roaring 20s” party in the summer - I highly recommend it as a party theme!


Travel:

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As well as a few domestic getaways (anywhere with a hot tub, basically), we took a little babymoon in October to Copenhagen. I’ve been obsessed with Denmark for years, and have read tonnes of book on hygge and other pop aspects of the country. So much so that I was worried I had fabricated a fake, unrealistically cool country in my head; it didn’t disappoint though. The people, food and city itself were brilliant, and I learned so much about chairs - who knew that there is such an art to the perfect four legged seat?


Thoughts on 2019:

As well as the big event of 2019 (the Spice Girls Reunion Tour ;p), we’ll be visiting one of my fave cities, Bath, heading to the Lake District, and perhaps heading back to Asia during my maternity leave (next year will mark 10 years since we left Japan!) Day to day, I’m sure work and life will continue to be busy in the ways that makes parenthood both joyful and challenging - but not all that exciting to read about.

As for intentions for 2019, I don’t believe in resolutions (you’re fine just the way you are, btw!), but I do like to have a “theme” to punctuate the year. I’ve chosen the phrase: ‘Conscious Consuming’ this time around, which admittedly sounds a little Gwyneth Paltrow, but do bear with.

Now that I’m getting some sleep and have more energy to think beyond myself, I want to focus on being a little more environmentally responsible next year. There’s nothing like having a baby / toddler to destroy your carbon footprint (nappies, wipes, sheer amount of toys bought on impulsive shopping trips) and the guilt has kicked in.

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I was gifted a copy of Zero Waste Home just before Christmas, and although it borders on the ridiculous (‘have your dog lick your plates before you put them in the dishwasher, pick up your bakery items in a pillow case, gift second hand items from your home’) there were some good ideas in there for reducing the amount of “stuff” we both buy and dispose of. As an easy first step, I’ve signed up for a local milkman delivery company today that not only delivers milk, but also drops off vegetable boxes and bread (in cardboard boxes rather than the plastic you get in supermarkets). See: Milk & More. I’m also on the look out for eco-conscious baby-friendly products and life hacks and I’ve had a mahoosive clear-out of the house over the post-Christmas period - so satisfying!

If you’re also looking to simplify your purchasing and consuming habits, I also found inspiration in these YouTube videos here and here.

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So there you have it, another year gone by. Happy new year to anyone who might have read this far (it’s admittedly written for my own purposes, memory not quite what it used to be) and see you on the flip side!


laurA PEPPER