Finding an adjective to sum up 2008 isn't easy. The first one that came
to mind was "roller coaster". But all things considered, it wasn't much
of a roller coaster at all, having, as it did, only one real low point.
And that was followed hotly by the biggest high of the year.
both came in February. My 16 month relationship with Rob came crashing
to an abrupt end in the space of a single phone call. As with the
breakup of any relationship that has ever really meant something, it
was a painful time.
days later, I trekked up to the Castle Climbing Centre in North London
where I met a guy called Ian. We were both in need of a regular
climbing partner and so began a friendship that grew through regular
sessions battling our way up challenging climbing routes and drinks in
the pub afterwards to either celebrate or commiserate our respective
successes and failures.
In the meantime, I took a proactive
approach to coping with my new single status. For the first time in my
adult life, circumstances came together such that I had the heath and
physical ability, the time and the finances to do a lot of things that
I'd previously not has an opportunity to.
I had the chance to catch up with relationships that had suffered through my frequent trips to Liverpool. As I said at the time:
"I'm living a new,
different life. I've done a lot of things in the last six weeks. I've
spent more nights at the pub than I should. I've gone
out with friends and stayed up all all night to watch the sun rise in
the morning. I've stayed out in the rain until I was soaked through to
the skin, but had a good time anyway. I've had lunch with two amazing
women, one in her eighties and the other in her nineties, both of whom
were friends with my grandmother when they were younger than I am now.
I've drunk more alcohol than I probably should on
more than one occasion. I've aggressively pursued my rock climbing,
pushing the grades I can climb, free of fear of not measuring up."
And I tried new things too. I'd been skiing
in Italy and France in the earlier part of the year,
for the first time since my catastrophic ankle injury in 2004. In March
I swapped two slidy things for one and had a go at snowboarding.
Ultimately I think I'm definitely a skier at heart, but it was still
great fun to learn. I went powerkiting, and got pretty adept at
controlling enormous sheets of silk in a fierce wind. I learned to
body-fly (or indoor skydive) in a giant wind tunnel. I took dance
classes again for the first time in over ten years.
April I went speed dating with a friend for the first time and it
actually turned out to be a lot of fun, and would have been even had I
not "matched" with someone. We actually met up a few times and this
turned out to be the catalyst that pushed me in a clear direction.
I met Ian, it was far too soon to think about relationships and our
friendship developed uncluttered by even the thought of romantic
attraction. I got to simply loving spending time with him. He made me
laugh. He listened to everything that I had to say, and amazed me with
tales of a year spent travelling.
I don't really know where it
started from, but after my speed date experience, I knew the only
person I wanted to be dating was Ian.
Fortunately for me, he felt the same way.
is exactly what we did. Exhibitions (Psycho buildings a big favourite),
trips to the theatre (Avenue Q the best show I've seen in a long time)
and late night museum visits (Ripley's Believe or Not until almost
midnight, believe it or not!)
We have a lot in common,
including a love of photography. In May I finally upgraded my camera
and we've spent a lot of time jointly improving our skills.
The latter half of 2008 also saw a bit of travelling.
August Ian and I took our first trip away together and I fulfilled a
long held dream to visit Marrakech, which stemmed from my arents tales
of a visit there in the 1970's and was intensified when I read Esther
Freud's Hideous Kinky some 14 years ago. Marrakech didn't
disappoint. We shared the unmade streets in the Medina with donkey
carts, dogs and throngs of people. Motorcycles weaved through the
crowds, sometimes with a whole family of four perched on the back. We
dived into the souks and developed our bartering skills and in the
evening wandered through the maze of food stalls that spring up each
evening in the Djemaa El Fna as the stall holders battled for our
business. It would be wrong to say it wasn't a culture shock, but it
was a fantastic weekend.
In September I took my second trip of
the year to Italy with a group of twenty ranging in age from 25 to 80.
We stayed in an enormous house which, due to a mix up in booking didn't
have quite enough beds! It was a wonderful relaxing week with good
food, good wine and great company. It also fired me up for the Italian
classes I've been taking this autumn.
At the end of November Ian
and I took the Eurostar to Brussels where we spent an enjoyable weekend
exploring the city and the Christmas markets. We encountered a lot of
people who spoke no English, but my French held up well enough to get
us on the correct train and bus to Liege and back again. We drank a lot
of Gluwein, and ate waffles, mussels, steak and fondue, as well as
managing to buy a lot of unique Christmas gifts.
The end of the
year has come around alarmingly quickly and I'm shocked to find Ian and
I have been together for eight months. As well as all the fun times,
he's learned all about lows and highs, pump malfunctions and what it
means to live with diabetes. He knows how to check my blood sugar, and
seems to know better than me when I'm low.
Over a meal on New
Year's Eve as I fiddled and calculated and was bothered by both my pump
and CGM I commented "It's fun this, being with a diabetic, isn't it?".
Ian shrugged his shoulders and said "It just is."
There isn't a lot more I can say to that.
Whirlwind. This year's been a whirlwind, in terms of how busy it's
been. It's also been a whirlwind because this amazing guy walked in to