Here are a few of my personal favourite memories of 2010 –
January – Lingards Birthday night, my 21st and Leicester V Cardiff in Cardiff on my birthday!
February – Handing in Dissertation. An epic trip to Leicester with the boys of 26 and an unforgettable 3-0 victory over Forest.
March – Just general good times at uni.
April – Easter holidays and more good times at uni.
May – A heartbreaking Play-Off Semi Final defeat to Cardiff – a truly unbelievable night. I still think about it, even now. One of the most incredible matches and atmospheres I’ve ever witnessed. Just a tragedy that Yann ‘The Bloody Frog’ Kermorgant had to take a penalty. Also remembered for final exams and the beginning of the end of uni.
June – The end of Uni. To those of you from uni – Not a day goes by without me thinking about the times we had – they really were the best and although life is good post uni – I still miss my friends and the general university atmosphere/banter a lot. Everyday in fact. My grandchildren will have lots of stories to look forward to – “When we were lads…” Also memorable for – a week in Turkey, doing nothing except going to the gym and watching virtually every game of the World Cup. Good times.
July – A hilarious road trip to Great Yarmouth with Nicholls, meeting Amelias family – by the way she didn’t tell her dad she had a boyfriend for months – she told him after passing the interview – “Oh dad, by the way, I’m moving to South Korea for a year to teach English. Oh yeah and I’m moving there with my boyfriend“. Ouch. Fortunately her parents are nice so they didn’t seem to mind! Also noteworthy for a fun trip to the Lake District.
August – Saying goodbyes and preparing to move. Arriving in Korea and our very enjoyable orientation.
September – December – It’s all in the blog anyway. I’ll spare you that.
Upon waking on January 1st I never envisaged that I would actually be living in South Korea. It still seems pretty crazy now thinking about it.
This time a year ago I was stressing about my dissertation, January exams and what the hell I was actually going to do with my life when I finished university just 5 and a half months from now. At the time I had an assessment day lined up with the Prison Service that my parents had encouraged me to apply for, and I was pretty keen to get into that line of work. So off I went to Kent in February thinking that the world owed me a living and that I was destined to become a Prison Officer at least for the short-term before I could eventually find my way into the Police or other form of public service. I came out of the Prison Officer Assessment optimistic and was convinced that they would not reject me. Three days later I received an e-mail informing me that I had been unsuccessful and despite passing all other requirements and assessments, I had failed the role-play, abysmally I would like to add. To say I was distraught would probably be an understatement. The boys I lived with witnessed first hand that I was pretty upset and my parents had to endure me moaning and complaining excessively about what I was actually going to do with my life for a good hour or two that night. I feel quite embarrassed now thinking about it, I really did over-react as if it was the end of the world. I think you could say that I didn’t handle my first significant rejection in life very well.
Until February the big man in the sky had always looked down upon me quite favourably. I had never worried before and always thought that everything will work out for me just the way I wanted it too, as that had always been the case until then. Suddenly the reality had dawned on me that I was going to be finishing university in a matter of months and I had no idea what I was going to do. The idea of applying for graduate schemes could not have been less appealing given the state of the economy (especially with my distinctly average academic marks), and I really didn’t want to end up working in a dead-end job just working to make ends meet. Of course that is the daily reality of life for most people, but I was adamant that was not what I wanted to be doing at the ripe old age of 21. I wanted to do something interesting and exciting, something different to the norm. Unfortunately I had a mountain of debt that I had accumulated from ‘youthful exuberance’ during my first two years of ‘uni’. How an earth was I going to do something interesting, exciting and different with a degree I have no interest in and thousands of pounds worth of debt?!
I had befriended one of the checkout guys from Tesco in Cardiff who had not long finished university either. He had mentioned to me how he was moving to Korea to teach, and filled me in on the details. I was interested, I thought it sounded perfect for me. I went about applying and began the lengthy application process. I realised that I didn’t really fancy moving there alone. Especially given that I had only ever previously travelled to very British parts of Turkey and several Spanish Islands when I was a child. I had been seeing Amelia for some time by now, and she to had no idea what she wanted to do long-term. She wanted to travel – maybe take off to Australia for a year or two but ultimately she had no concrete plans either. Amelia and I were finishing university at the same time, we didn’t know what we wanted to do jobwise – we both wanted to travel, and we wanted to stay together. So I asked her if she wanted to apply to come to Korea with me. It made sense. After some initial apprehension with regard to the idea of teaching, she said yes. We applied, we were successful, and here we are now.
We arrived here August 19th, we are now into our fifth month out here and we are delighted with how things are panning out. We have managed to spend a week in Tokyo, settle into a totally alien culture, travel around Korea, make some new friends and I’ve pretty much managed to clear my overdraft(s) already!
With the exception of a few minor blips and complaints here and there, things could not be much better. Although warmer weather would be nice – it is so cold out here at the moment. I will never ever complain about the cold in England again. It’s got to the point now where -10 for us feels relatively mild in comparison to how cold it can get. Anyway, sorry I am digressing again.
It just goes to show that everything happens for a reason. Everything is an experience that should be learned from. I now feel the rejection from the Prison Service was a blessing in disguise. I should count myself lucky that I’ve only had the one and that I’m happy with life right now. I know most people are not quite so lucky. I’m sure we will all face many more setbacks and rejections in the future, that’s life. Perhaps one of the most important lesson I’ve learned this year is to accept that we will face setbacks in life, but that we should react to them in a positive and optimistic manner and look to the future, instead of dwelling on the past.
2010 has been kind to us, I hope I’ll be able to say the same in a years time. Goodbye 2010, I’ll miss you.
Happy New Year.
PS – Apologies for the philosophical and ‘deep’ nature of this post. It is the holidays but still I am required to be in school. Writing is saving me from death by boredom!