Every year, as the autumn leaves fall and are swept away by the chilly wind, I take a look back on the past 12 months and remember what I’ve been through, good times and bad, peaks and troughs on an often eventful journey. On the path I walked, with integrity and sensitivity, there are new places I’ve visited, new friends I have made and significant events that took place, changing the landscape of society or on a personal level, circumstances that have altered my attitudes and priorities in my life.
Many of you will probably agree that 2017 has been an interesting year. From a macro-political perspective, the UK is dogged by Brexit talks and subsequent backlashes, and across the pond, Trump and his outlandish political antics on and off social media provide constant debates in the media and once in a while threaten World peace as we have seen. Shootings and earthquakes topped the man-made and natural disasters which claimed many unfortunate lives.
On a more personal note, I would say that the first few months of 2017 were pretty awful, when I found myself battling with pure evil, looking in the depth of the very rotten and corrupt souls of human beings. Lying and ugly monsters who will one day be brought to justice. I have only contempt and sheer disgust towards these morality-lacking egomaniacs. One day I will look back at 2017 as one of the most challenging chapters of my life, and as we are near its cold and bitter end, I can not help but smile at the prospect of turning my back on it. Moving forward into the warmth and sunshine is the only way to go.
In the last blog post of this eventful year, I will not dwell further on the troubles and unhappy memories, instead I am going to share some wonderful moments with you, and I’ll also acknowledge a number of people, who have been in my life as a positive force, a reminder that there is always hope and love. They are the ones who have encouraged and supported me, and whose very friendship and presence made a world of difference to my life.
I’ll start with a series of pictures featuring a number of mini breaks and travels I’ve done, in chronological order:
Weekend visit to lovely Loch Lomond
Lake District mountain walking and hooking up with friend Aiden from Taiwan
Delightful holiday retreat in stunning Sicily – please also see two previous blogs on Sicilia.
The Gem of Seville in Southern Spain
Two Trips to London, meeting Facebook friend Roland, dinner with Tao and celebrating John’s Birthday
Work and Pleasure in China: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai
More Pictures of my China trip can be found: The Best of My Trip to #China 2017: A Picture Tour.
My heart-felt thank-you to a number of people, in no particular order:
John – Thank you for standing by me without fail, also for your unwavering integrity, kindness, loyalty, love and strength. You show me what really matters in life.
Fiona – It’s lovely to meet and spend some quality/coffee time with you. We both have moved on to more solid ground, following a shaky start. Many congrats to your new job at University of Bath. You deserve it!
Margaret – First you were a fan of my books, for which I thank you! Then we shared many happy chats on Facebook. I’m very glad to be your eyes and legs, catching beauty in flowers and Nature to share with you on almost daily basis. Thank you for sending me the book of Pollyanna through the post, at a point when her never-failing positivity was greatly needed. I’m delighted to have met you face to face, recently and ever so briefly, thanks to your son Julian. I so appreciate your compliments on my writing. The fact that you loved my trilogy and are keen to read my next instalment is a driving force, among the many distractions that I face on a daily basis. I will not let you down.
Friederike & Colin – It’s always a pleasure to see you both, and to be treated with your wonderful hospitality and understanding. Your encouragement and appreciation of my writing efforts and everything else in life are greatly appreciated.
Mum – I know you can’t read English and will not be able to understand anything I write in English, but you have been a rock in my life. No matter what I post on WeChat, you’re usually the first to press ‘like’ even though sometimes you had no idea what I was talking about – I mean how much would you know about some people’s obsession with UK university ranking or my ranting against Brexit? They are far far away from your world.
Lala – I have not been able to see you for a long while, but you have been my inspiration ever since my days at University of Glasgow under your brilliant supervision. I promise to visit you in Shrewsbury in the New Year.
Douglas and Michelle – It is a pleasure to be working with you, and thank you for seeing the value of what I do, and for your belief in me, and restoring my faith in professionalism and good leadership.
There are many more people I want to thank, but too many to list here. Those on my author network (Eden/Helen, got to mention you here for your continued support); those on my social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, WeChat, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and my website etc. Some of you I never had a chance to meet and perhaps never will, but you always took time to like and comment on my posts, and told me how much you enjoyed them. You are the reason that I am actively engaged in the digital world. When the real world becomes too stressful, there is a place I can retreat to and feel welcome and valued. This is an electronic thank-you card – you know who you are.
On the cusp of 2018, I am looking forward to a very positive end to a turbulent year. I will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to share my adventures with you all.
So sit tight and belt up. Let’s take off! To new beginnings!