…I climbed a mountain. A mountain 4095.2m above sea level, to be exact. In mid-November Mr B, myself and a small band of fellow
crazy people hikers tackled Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest mountain (not the tallest in South East Asia as many are led to believe; a range of mountains in Myanmar hold that honour). I’d done lots of practice on Penang Hill, so I started the hike well prepared mentally. Reaching that summit just after sunrise was magical, and the sense of accomplishment was worth every ache of soreness.
I also completed the world’s largest Via Ferrata at Kinabalu, climbing and navigating a vertical drop from 3776m. Let’s just say I wasn’t as mentally prepared for that part of the adventure. I was fine until I went over the edge of the cliff and saw the sheer couple of hundred metre drop below. Cue the panic. I think of myself as fairly good with heights but doing that climb scared the crap out of me. There were plenty of tears shed, obscenities uttered and quite a few “I can’t do this anymore” moments…but we completed the trail. The guide said I wasn’t the worst person ever to do the trail, but I think I came pretty close. And I think Mr B was pretty close to filing for a divorce (I think I really pushed that “for better or worse” part of the marital vows to the limit on that mountain.) In short, I’m glad I did the Via Ferrata, but I will never do it again. I’d tackle the summit again though…
…I became an Advanced Open Water Diver. Mr B and I visited Koh Tao in mid-December to get our qualifications. For Mr B, all he had to do was move from Open Water Diver to AOW. I on the other hand had to get the Open Water qualifications before we could even start on the AOW. My last scuba diving experience in the Perhentians in Malaysia wasn’t the best of experiences, so I went into my Open Water training with plenty of nerves. This time around there were still a few tears and moments of panic, but mostly it was just lots of fun, thanks to Mr B and my awesome instructor, Fabio (seriously, that’s his name!) Swimming amongst the fishes, exploring shipwrecks and “finding Nemo” is the most amazing experience. I hope we can do lots more diving in 2011.
…We did shedloads of travel. There was the big trip around Morocco, Spain, France (well, Paris), England and Scotland; girls trips to Bali and the East Malaysian state of Sarawak; a visit to Hong Kong to watch Mr B play cricket; a few trips to Thailand; a few visits to KL and of course the Kota Kinabalu visit in the east at Sabah. Sabah, Bali, Hong Kong and Thailand (Koh Samui and Koh Tao) were all within the last six weeks or so, hence why this blog has been a little quiet…
So, so blessed to have this rare opportunity to travel so much and I’m loving every minute I can cram into an itinerary. I plan to continue this pattern in 2012 – if I can get away with it.
…I didn’t cook a Christmas dinner. We went out with friends for a buffet lunch at one of Penang’s nicest hotels, the G. I bought cupcakes and gingerbread along to the poolside supper, which was the extent of my holiday baking this year. As much as I loved the all-you-can-eat smoked salmon and prawns (and the roast buffet, and the chocolate fountain…) I sure did miss my Boxing Day leftovers sandwich and snatching mouthfuls of Buche de Noel out of the fridge.
…I did lots of exploring in Penang. I love to drive into Georgetown, attempt to park my car (it can take a while to find a park) and then explore the streets on foot. Happy to say I’ve crossed a few things off the “to do” list I made up, and have quite a few more things to add. That’s a whole other post though.
… I swapped volunteer secretary work for volunteer editorial work, and am so happy with the change. This new role suits me to a tee, much more than the former did. I really need to share some of the pieces I’ve written on here; I don’t see any harm in doing so.
…I celebrated four years of marriage with Mr B. I’m hoping that adorable man will allow me to celebrate at least 40 more years with him
…I had my parents and two of my brothers visit us in Penang. It was very cool to see my folks enjoy Penang as much as I do, but especially my two brothers. With both of them being autistic and intellectually handicapped, I was doing my share of “big sister” worrying before they arrived about how they would cope with the different climate, customs, food, etc. But both of them did brilliantly and enjoyed their visit. One of them, who isn’t known for his huge appetite, even developed an affinity for the local food and would specifically ask for us to go for makan. Awesome.
…Enjoyed a lot more time with friends. Being an introvert, it takes me a while to build up friendships with people but this year, new people have arrived who are now good friends, and friendships started last year have strengthened. I’m so thankful for that. I’ve done a lot more socialising this year, and am definitely happier for it. I hope to savour those friendships more in 2012, as well as build some new ones.
…I gained some of the weight I lost last year. Yeah, I’ve spent quite a few hours berating myself for that. Yeah, I know how it happened – I wasn’t as much of a gym junkie (for various reasons), I did a lot of foodie indulgences on my travels and a few sad moments in the year meant I ate a lot of feelings. But next year I’ll be living spitting distance from the gym and I plan to cycle to the wet markets for my fresh produce. Let’s see how that goes. I don’t want to be focused on a weight measurement or a dress size, I just want to feel strong and healthy. And right now, I don’t feel like that.
…I saw some of my hopes and dreams disappear, and I’ve experienced plenty of sadness because of that. I guess you could say I’ve had to climb a few mountains metaphorically, as well as the physical mountain in Kinabalu. I’ve had to adjust my approach to these particular mountains, and imagine a different summit to the one I initially expected. But life is, as John Lennon famously said, what happens when you’re busy making other plans, and I can’t wait for 2012 and the promise it holds. It’ll be my final year in Penang, and I want to enjoy every moment of it, however I can.
Apologies for the long and photoless post; trying to work out how this new photo uploader on WordPress works. Some days I feel tech savvy, others I feel like a Luddite…