Moving on

The trip to Rome that me and Dave had last week was so needed. Five days of just eating, drinking and topping up the vitamin D supplies. And of course I came back to the news that the job I applied for with Shell in Amsterdam is mine! I move over there in 10 days!

This is technically the second time I move to Holland. The first one being to Leiden a couple of years ago, although that didn’t last very long for various reasons, that move was only ever meant to be for 6 months. This time around it’s a different company, it’s in Amsterdam and Dave will eventually join me out there!

There’s a lot to be sorted out in the next coming weeks. Not only with the move over and all that that entails (most of which the company will sort out), but the flat here too! The old windows are going next week and new double glazed ones are getting put in! Yay for more energy efficient flats! As I’m leaving next weekend we’ll also be celebrating our 1 year anniversary since we completed the flat purchase! This year has gone by so fast. In fact the last 9 years that I’ve been here in London seem to have just passed by.

When I first moved here I never envisaged that I’d stay this long. Let alone buy a flat and settle down. Now that I have this job it actually feels like an ideal time to move on from London, although I’m sure I’ll return at some point. I can’t see life ever being this flexible in the future (except for in retirement maybe) so why not take the opportunities now. A lot of people have asked about the flat and relationships, but I really don’t see it as an issue. I have a house-mate who is great enough to understand what I want to do, and flexible and wonderful enough to work up solutions with me, so that it’s a win-win for everyone. I have a fiance who is willing to come with me, and change his job because of the chances that I’ve been given. A sacrifice (or not) that I would happily do for him as well.

I always wanted to move around different countries, experience different cultures, and one of my fears is still that I’ll look back in 30 or 40 years time and think that I had the chances to do all that and I didn’t take them. So here’s to 9 great years in London! It’s been a blast, and it’s probably shaped who I am as a person today more than anything else. But also, here’s to welcoming new chapters in life, and new beginnings!

I hate uncertainty

Last week I was prompted by a new piece of information to think deeply about the ever changing life question “what do I want?“. What prompted it will remain undisclosed for now, as I’m sat here five days later, with several feasible answers to the question, and still no actual idea of what will happen. Up until last Wednesday, when this curve ball entered my life, I had planned life as far as going to Thailand in January. I possibly had some vague plan of getting married in spring 2016, and possibly even going on a honeymoon afterwards. But as far as wedding goes, it’s still abstract enough to draw the life plan cut off at February next year.

So two very intense days of emotion and (trying) logic reasoning came and went. I discussed with my parents, and I discussed with the two sets of people who would be immediately impacted by my choices; Dave and Orsi & Sam. I weighed up what felt right in my gut, what I wanted to do, what was logical. I compared what impacts different choices would have on my life one year down the line, two, three and even four years down the line.

My general view on life is that when an opportunity presents itself, you should take it, firmly believing in that it’s the chances you miss that you will end up regretting. And after much reasoning, and logical conclusion, I (we) came to the point where what felt like the right choice probably also is the right choice. And so I made my intentions clear… and here I am almost a week on, none the wiser. Here I am, having now pictured what life might be, and I don’t know if it will be… I HATE uncertainty.

A cryptic post, I know. Maybe I’ll find out “early this week”, maybe later… maybe the chance will pass, and this “could be” scenario will be filed away with the other things that never happened.

Two bad weeks does not a failure make

Oh how well I know myself. A new challenge, a new training plan, a new food plan and most importantly being back in the gym with my work-out buddy and I feel back on track. I got into the office after the gym this morning and felt re-energised, re-vitalised and re-motivated! So what are all these changes? Well…

- I’m taking on one of those 30 day work out challenges, similar to the “always on IG” Squat Challenge, but a full body workout one. This takes no more than 5 minutes a day, and has mixed up my routine a little bit.

- We started a new training plan today which we’re trialing until the end of October when Orsi’s off to Jamaica. This basically consists of the same exercises we’ve been doing up until now, but with a couple of new ones added in and with 3 different days, rather than the two we had.

- For the duration of the 30 day challenge I’m trying to cut down on all the cake I’ve been (secretly) eating. It started off with me contemplating the Whole30 challenge, but on further consideration and advice, I prefer things that are actually doable, and cutting out dairy (cheese!!) was never going to last. No cake is a far more reasonable target and each time that I turn down cake in work (totes still doing treats generally) I will reward myself with £1. So far i have £1, but that’s only because this is day 3, and there’s only been one opportunity to decline cake so far.

A tale of two contrasting months

If July was a good and junk free month with clean living and lots of gymming, then I can assure you that August has seen me undo all those things. I’m slumped and plummeted back into my old habits and the gym progression has plateaued. I’ve still been going, even on holiday, but I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Maybe it’s because Orsi (my training partner) and me have been in different cities or countries for a lot of the month, and going at it alone is just not fun, inspiring or anything that I look forward to. Or maybe it’s because after quite successfully lowering my carb intake in July, I felt that I was entitled to binge a bit at the start of August, and that binge just kept on going…

I’ve been thinking about challenges and things I can do to pick myself back up all week, as I know that working towards a goal normally motivates me. But the logical side of my brain knows that whatever 30 day fad I might try, it’s not going to be sustained for long. So instead, let try the old get back in the saddle strategy. Re-jig the gym plan a bit, structure the meals again and try not to eat cake every day…

Proud to be inclusive

The next two weeks people can vote in the general election in Sweden. Democracy is great, and having the chance to cast your vote for who you think will do what’s best for the country you live in is a privilege. The town where I come form and grew up, has a very diverse population, and I’m proud to say that I grew up knowing and learning about many different cultures.

There is a problem though. However diverse a group of people get, many of these people live on the fringes of society, and integration can many times be difficult. Many people are met with prejudice, and find it safer and more comforting to keep to the communities they know. Like a home away from home. For these people, times of general elections can be tough. The right to vote is cast away if you’re not aware of the political parties and who you’d want to vote for. And who would you ask when news and media broadcast the elections in a way that you don’t fully understand.

Capture

In the most segregated areas of Malmö, the participation in elections in only around 30%. And even though politics is hotly debated in the homes of many people, insecurity, and the lack of knowledge prevent people from making their voices heard. This is why I’m so proud to find out that the local paper, and one of the largest papers in southern Sweden have launched the “United Translators of Sydsvenskan” where all news stories, articles, debates and columns on politics are translated to the 10 most spoken languages in the region. This will mean that politics and the election becomes accessible to so many more people than just those who speak Swedish. It means that we’ve moved one step closed to making our diverse city and society more inclusive!

Dr. titles, a week in Sweden and general updates

Friday before last Dave went into his viva a slightly nervous post doc, and three hours later he came out beaming and relentlessly calling himself Dr. Dave :) We celebrated til 9 pm when the alcohol had gotten the better of him. The next day we headed off to Sweden. A week of over eating, walking around the small Malmo town center and seeing MFF smash Saltzburg and gaining a spot in the Champions League passed by and here I am, back in London on a Monday morning. I feel like I’m in need of a new challenge to kickstart myself. I kept up with the gym over in Sweden, but the excessive amounts of everything has made me feel like I’m plateauing. And with officially 5 months left til the ‘fake wedding’ in Thailand taking place, and just over 3 months left til my Power Lifting showdown with Martin, something needs to happen.

This coming weekend is Liverpool time, but I have a window of 30 days before going to Rome in mid-October, where I can probably cram in a challenge. I read about two different ones, but not sure which one is better/more doable yet…

I other (wedding-y) news, we’ve narrowed down the list of venues to 11 which will be investigated in the coming weeks. And the honeymoon plans are in the making, but currently veeeeryyyyy ambitious!