Twelve months on and I’m in exactly the same place I was last year – a Surfers Paradise beachfront apartment. I’m even with the same four friends. We are again front and centre for the New Year fireworks.

But although I’m physically in the same place, a year on I’m very much in a different place to where I was last year. 2015 was a tough year. But 2016 has been a year of restoration. It was also year of new friendships, adventures and learning.

Here’s to the year that was:

1. A newfound love of dancing

I was the girl who sat on the outskirts of the room as soon as the dancing began. But this year, I decided I didn’t care what I looked like I was going to enjoy dancing. And like that, I now do.

The Melanie of 2015 would not have danced the night away in a Cuban Government run bar in rural Vinales with two sweaty, hands-y Cuban men with gorgeous blue eyes that melted my heart.

2. A nostalgia for my long locks but the excitement of short hair

Oh how lovely it was…10% of the time.

3. A love of running

Two years ago I couldn’t run 2km, but this year I ran 14km (on a swollen bruised ankle because I wasn’t giving up!). I push myself to get to a weekly community running group and once there I’m pushed to keep running. The burn of my legs is soon forgotten on reflection and achievement of the distance they’ve carried me.

4. A Growth Group who point each other to Jesus

We become a conglomerate of the people we hang out with and I’m thankful for my gospel-focussed community. Over delicious food and vino, we’ve talked pride, elections, sex, and supported each other through illness, homesickness, death, farewells and welcome together. Thank you for pointing me to the grace and hope found in Christ.

5. A new church

I arrived at Creek Road with a pretty rocky foundation and trust in ‘church’. But this year, through transparent and empowering pastors and persistent prayer, by grace the brokenness and hurt is healed. I look forward to church.

6. New friends

New friendships formed over mutual love of TV shows + good food + wine (Did I hear you say ‘Tapas and Tequila Tuesday?’)

7. A patience with professional work

I had 4 managers in 2016. I also had 9 team members in my immediate 3-4 person team. Change is constant and with patience and persistence I’ve learnt to push myself forward, learning from all those around me – whoever it is. Work life is a jungle gym and it’s the adventure and the challenge climbing it that brings contentment.

8. Appreciation for solo time (but still a craving for people)

A perfect Friday night is either drinking and laughing with friends at a great bar in town or enjoying a glass of vino on the couch watching Netflix. I enjoy both equally and I have no qualms choosing one over the other. I’ve come to enjoy the small moments of solitude.

9. My family history

In May I visited Bundaberg and toured my great, great grandparents house. I later started reading my family history book going back to the 18th Century. Through trials and successes, generations have gone forward putting Christ at the centre of their lives. However, it also served as a reminder for how quickly a generation can slip from the faith and serve their own interests.

10. Friendship with sisters

For the first time in five years, Jen was in the same city as me. Weekend BBQs, Monday night netball, shopping adventures. As for Laura, we enjoyed another negative temperature snuggle session in Jindy and wrestling matches that now end with me begging for mercy.

11. The rejuvenation of weekend adventures

Until October, it has been 1.5 years since I’d had more than 3 days away (a week off for the rite of passage: wisdom teeth doesn’t count). Here’s to weekends at Cabarita Beach, Straddie, Rainbow Beach, Kangaroo Valley, Bundaberg, Lady Musgrave Island, Perisher, Springbrook NP, Lamington NP, Tamborine NP, Glasshouse Mountains, Gold Coast.

12. BNE visitors

Shout out to Lanes + Sutherlands, Lisa, Rachel + Lydia, USYD gang, Kelsey, Laura, Anna, Ashleigh for visiting.

13. Home?

I drove home from 2 weeks in Sydney this week. It had been 6 months since I’d visited and I longed for it. But visiting and then driving back, I’ve realised Sydney doesn’t feel like home anymore. But I’m not sure Brisbane is yet either?

14. World travels 

“Why Cuba?” they asked. “Be safe,” they said. “Why not?” I said. “How much,” I didn’t ask. It was an expensive holiday, but it’s a huge reward to plan, save, book and then escape to a far away land. And Cuba, well it’s just a fascinating place. As for Mexico, take me back. Tomorrow.

15. Dyson

There’s a point in life when you realise you’re getting old. That moment for me has come. In addition to my growing family of kitchen appliances, washing machine and a comfortable (brand) new couch, I really want a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Preferably one of those stand up cordless ones.

16. “So I guess we’ll be in touch”

Thanks to 2016 I have learnt some good ways and some bad ways to end a first date. And “So I guess we’ll be in touch” is not favourable.

And with that, and the Tweed Heads fireworks in the background #daylightsavings, I say thank you and good bye 2016!

 

 

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