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The best and the worst of 2017

Twenty seventeen has been an incredible, wonderful and difficult year for me. There has been so much change, and though I value change and am cognisant of the benefits of not getting stuck in a rut in our lives, this year really was A LOT to take on. I’m going to share with you my best and worst. You should decide which way round you want to read it; I’m already worrying that putting all the worst bits in one place might freak me out!

2017, are you freaking kidding me, why are you being such an arsehole?

On January 2nd, Arijus left for his new job in The Hague, Holland. This goes in both best and worst. It’s here because this might have been one of the hardest experiences of our relationship. After seven and a half years together, we were living apart. This was so not the plan. I struggled to be at home without him, and felt myself slipping towards a darkness that I hadn’t experienced since we went through our (unsuccessful) fertility treatment. Even the hint of the possibility of being that depressed again sent my anxiety spiralling, and worst of all, my best friend, my confidant, therapist and sounding board, was not there to support me. It promoted a lot of introspection on my part, and feelings of failure that I was struggling so much, in comparison to Arijus, who (or so it seemed to me) had swanned off to his new job and environment full of enthusiasm. I may write about this in more detail at some point, but let’s go on. We’re only at the beginning of the year, and 2017 had more shit to throw at me.

In February, my dad, who lives in Jakarta, Indonesia, was in an accident and broke his hip. The whole situation was complicated by his not having medical insurance to cover the bills. I think this may have been the first time my brother and I felt the dreaded reality of the mortality of our parents, and had to try and deal with something this complicated; involving finances, emotion and adulting – all from 11,722km away. We got through it and my dad is doing well, although I can’t say I’m convinced of his dedication to his physio exercises! One positive to come out of this was that I experienced the support of my brother in a new way, and it was very warm and reassuring.

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In August, my beautiful Morty had to have surgery to correct his hip dysplasia in both hips. It was very upsetting to discover the problem, and the surgery and recovery was, and is, a big deal. However, I will forever be grateful to the amazing Wilbury Vetinary surgery, and their fabulous staff. I cannot recommend them enough!

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The middle and latter part of the year were scattered with lovely things, so that leaves the packing up and moving – it’s THE WORST – and some crap I’ve had to deal with regarding businesses that just couldn’t give a hoot about their customers.

We made the decision to move to Holland in September, as Arijus is still enjoying his job here and I (well, both of us) were fed up of living apart. Maintaining separate lives was also a strain financially. I am happy with our decision, but I’m not over letting go of our lovely flat in Brighton. It was not only the nicest place we’d rented together, but also two of our close friends lived in the building, AND I’d only finally unpacked the last box since we moved in earlier this summer!!

The crap with the companies is not small fry crap, it’s big arse crap, involving money, lots of complaints letters, and my time, BUT it’s boring, so I won’t go into it! Just, you know, when you feel like it’s a pretty bad situation, but then when you share it with your friends, their response reflects that it’s much worse than you’re admitting to yourself!! Urgh.

Yaaasss, 2017, I can’t even with your awesomeness!!

I’m not going to write the best bits chronologically, because the very best thing has to be shared first!

WE GOT ENGAGED! For our eight-year anniversary, Arijus planned a surprise trip to Roma, Italia! Up to the point where we were at the airport and he checked in, I didn’t know where we were going. I hoped it was Italy. Our first holiday together was to Florence, and we both feel a strong draw to Italy; we love the food, the history, the scenery, and still have many parts of the country we hope to explore together.

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The holiday was incredible, and incredibly HOT! Rome was everything I hoped it would be, and on our anniversary (28th July) Arijus proposed, as we were about to leave the Colosseum. The proposal itself was sweet and short, prefaced by my criticism of Arijus’s socks (they were a horrendous yellow, that used to be bright, but were now dingy with age) which is funny because that is just so us! I swiftly followed my “YES” with, “Did you just propose without a ring?” – again, so me.

Instead of leaving, we wandered around the Colosseum again, talking about what being engaged meant for us, and what to do about not having a ring (this felt important to me; I know not everyone would feel the same). The situation was that Arijus had ordered a ring, but it had been delayed and he decided to go ahead with the proposal (good call).

We found a temporary ring, later that day, and I made Arijus propose again at the top of the Spanish Steps. Because, reasons.

It was a wonderfully romantic holiday, and we were both so happy. Sharing the news with friends and family was very special too.

The Ring finally arrived in August, and we set up the third proposal (well, I did wait EIGHT YEARS) in a pretty square in The Hague, near the Mauritshuis museum. I think that knowing The Ring was coming, but having the time to wonder what it was going to be like, was worse than having it presented at the moment of proposal! I was really worried that I wouldn’t like it, and clearly Arijus had put a lot of thought and effort into it, but what if he’d totally missed the mark?! Of course, I worried needlessly; it is just perfect. We even have a song for it.

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Another special time was Arijus’s 30th birthday, in June. I spent months planning a surprise birthday party (it really helped that he wasn’t living at home – see, positives!) with lots of our family and friends. I wrote about it here.

I was thoroughly spoilt with what felt like LOTS of holidays in 2017. It definitely helped balance out the difficult times. Throughout the year I visited: Lithuania, Italy, Gran Canaria, and Spain. I spent the first eight months going back and forth to Holland too, which involved sight seeing and having friends to visit.

Arijus getting his job in Holland was also one of the best things. It’s a great step for him in his career, and that benefits us both. It’s definitely shaken up our lives, and we needed that; we were a bit stuck, and didn’t know how we were going to move forward towards our life goals. And now here we are, on an exciting new adventure! (The kitties came too, obviously.)

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I’m pretty excited about what’s in store in 2018. There will probably be some wedding planning. It’s also my 40th next October, and we’ve got big plans for that too.

I’m looking back on 2017 and feeling grateful for the wonderful people we have in our lives. In the tricky times, it’s amazing to experience the support of your friends and family, perhaps from corners you might not have expected it. I definitely know this year would have been much, much harder without them. Thank you.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all xxx

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