2013: A Year in Review

January 2, 2014 at 2:19 am

Some people say:

‘oooo thank God that year’s over’

and

‘2013 was rubbish, FUCK OFF. We don’t need you’

and so on.

 

It’s not 2013’s fault, give it a rest. Look at yourself love, you’re a mess.

Yes, it’s nice to keep things orderly with the Roman Calendar, and it’s nice to take stock and look over the past 12 months.. but I am essentially the same person as I was yesterday in 2013 and not much has changed overnight.

New Years Resolutions are also a bit of a bollocks, start today mate – don’t postpone it until January 1st, when you’re invariably going to effing break it within a couple of days anyway. Time is transient and you’ve got to make every fucking day count babes. (Even though, don’t say it too loud.. I regularly don’t).

 

I was thinking about making a good, comprehensive post to look back on my year. I’ve been swimming the past couple of days, and the ideas are literally flowing through my brain as I swim underwater. I didn’t have a fucking underwater pen, or Rain Man-style cognition though, so here goes, from what I can remember. The swimming, more intelligent version of myself didn’t want to do a highlights of 2013 blog-post, he didn’t want to do a Channel 4 Style 2013 review with some Cunts off of Geordie Shore giving their hyperbole opinions on something they know nothing about.

Cunts

Cunts

I decided I wanted to focus on the KEY MOMENTS of my year – the main, tangible things I can look back on and work with that. I’m going to try and keep it fairly chronological so it’s nice and easy – I’m also going to edit this post for the next 48h thinking about things I’ve missed and where I can baulk up some shiz.

 

2013 – REVIEW

The Year Started in Badeboda at Lisa’s (who!?) family’s place. The family were out at various events, so Lisa created a 3 course meal for me and her. We had a little sauna and knull (literally seeing the year in, inside a vagina).

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In Happier Times

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Roaming Around the Estate

In January I would have got my Chinese Exam Results (Pass) and decided to go to China to study for a semester – essentially my biggest action of 2013.

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As well as that, in January, me, Andrew, Richard & Jim did a flight experience at Marshall’s in Cambridge on a Flight Simulator. Our ‘co’-pilot was a RyanAir pilot – who frantically pulled enough leavers to mainly hide my inadequacy. This was a Christmas present from John and Dad, and were alrite actually.

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“Chuck it into that tower over there”..

Having left Booking after a short spell at the end of 2012, I picked up some work with Nanoprotech, based by Marble Arch. I worked with the Russian #Lads until I left for China. Primarily working with Marketing & Business Development. I was working on the ground in Cambridge also giving samples to relevant parties and creating a case-study as a result.

 

In February me and Lisa booked a weekend away (after Istanbul, Cluj & Paris at the tail end of 2012). She was based in Cluj studying (and partying) still, and I was back in Cambridgeshire going crazy.. which I was a huge fan of (Y).

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Anyway, we went to Budapest which was a really nice break. There was a tearful goodbye at the airport (her, boys don’t cry) and it would be the last time to date that I saw her. She then did a semester in Brussels doing an internship (and I’m fairly sure the partying continued… again, a big fan).

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At the end of Feb I jetted off to China, very much taking things in my stride and being pretty effing chilled about ting tbh.

I picked Beijing and Tianjin as equal first choices, and due to everyman and his dog selecting Beijing, ended up studying in Tianjin with 2 other exchange students. Lina & Rikard (watch-out for them later).

About a month in, me and Lisa finally broke up after lots of arguing, shenanigans and internet hard man-ing,

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after about 2.5 years and living together in Vienna, Berlin & Malmo. It was sad, and hurt for a long time – but was largely unavoidable due to circumstances and things running their course. At the start of 2014 I can say with some confidence that I’m at peace with things and have happily moved on. It’s unnatural to not feel things for this person who you’ve spent a good chunk of your life together with and grown with – but I feel better for it now.

Shortly after, Lina saw her opportunity, pounced and snagged me after a night-out. *versions of events may vary.

Yes, I was very aware that I was going to China with another couple of 人,and had done more than my fair share of facebook stalking prior to leaving for China. I thought that Lina looked like an interesting person, but genuinely had no idea how old, or beautiful she was..

Lina Björkman's pre-China profile picture

Lina Björkman’s pre-China profile picture

Social Media and real-life upon arrival in China confirmed that did indeed, not scrub up bad (despite being plagued (riddled) with allergies and ailments).

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We studied 5 days a week, doing approx 12 classes. The rest of the time was spent lazing around, drinking, knulling, working and exploring our surroundings locally and nationally.

My birthday in April was very nice. We had 1 class in the morning, then the 3 of us 欧洲人 went to a really nice Thai restaurant in Tianjin. Afterwards me and Lina headed off to a hotel for the night. We went to the Hotel Spa (which upon arrival found out was divided up between men and women and sort of defeated the object), went out for a nice meal in the evening and then watched a movie and got up to some sexy shit during the evening.

Also, The Boston Bombers were taken down (Y).

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Me, Lina and Rikard did some travelling together: First to Beijing for the day, then Shanghai for a long-weekend and finally to Qingdao with TaeYeun in tow.

There were however, cracks appearing in our 3-way, international, relationship as me and Lina started our relationship and things got a bit more cosy between us (and I got really fucking tired of someone bringing up Sweden in every conversation). But things on the whole were decent.

Me and Lina also went on some trips just the two of us – Firstly to The Tianjin side of The Great Wall, Chengde, and then to Xi’An.

I’ve seen some pretty ‘special’ (™ My Father) things in China: The Great Wall, Terracotta Army, The Bund, The Forbidden City, Mao’s Mausoleum, Tiananmen to name but a few.

After exams me and Lina did another trip before she went home – we went to Shanghai (mainly strategical, to fly to the next destination), Hong Kong, Macau (day-trip), Taipei and Seoul was our last destination. We flew back into Beijing and Lina got her flight back to Sweden. I wanted to make the most of my 6 month VISA and booked a late flight back, therefore I was to have a few weeks by myself back in China.

Heading back to the dorms in Tianjin was a bit of a culture shock, and a bit depressing by myself.. but I made the most of the situation and battled through. 95% of the students had gone back, rooms were more expensive out of term time, and people had turned a bit cunty.

For the final 2 weeks of my time in China, I moved to Beijing and worked with SPRG Media. I was working with them on PR for Lamborghini across Asia-Pacific, which was a great little gig and fantastic experience to add to my CV. I was living in WuKouDao which was a studenty area, with a fair sprinkling of foreigners. I didn’t really make any life-long friends but it was a really nice change of scenery and way to wrap up things in China.

The morning commute was bananas, and has pretty much set the bar for worst, most cramped and busy commuting experience of my life – so London Underground is a bit more tolerable these days.

I flew back to the UK via a 12h stopover in Doha and had a little look around during that time. Unfortunately it was Ramadan, so things were pretty dead and everyone was fasting during the day. I got in a taxi with a guy from Nepal who drove me around for a couple of hours and showed me the main sights. He also made a nice little video of him driving me around *act normal dellis and pretend there isn’t a fucking camera zoomed in on you boat* which he was going to send to his fam’ back home. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t build a stadium for the world cup and die – but there was a huge amount of (I’m assuming) cheaply exploited labour everywhere getting some scraps from the oil lottery.

I got back on the 6th August, Lina came to the UK shortly after as I decided to invite her as my +1. On the 10th Andrew and Susie got married in Melbourn Church. Me and Richard were best men and I got drunk enough to just about get through some words at the reception. Yeah, I was drunk… I brought a bottle of North Korean Vodka with me that we had purchased at the DMZ which contributed to some lolz, and me being a mess. It’s a blur. Let’s not talk about it again.

 

Me and Lina saw the sights of Cambridgeshire & London after the wedding. Afterwards I went to Sweden and we split our time between her dad’s place in Enkoping and her Mum’s place in Uppsala. As well as that we enjoyed a trip to Dalarna and Stockholm.

When Andrew and Susie were on honeymoon in South Africa & Mauritius – me and Lina took the opportunity to stay in their place in Putney for 3 weeks. We ate like Kings, with lots of good quality ingredients being purchased – primarily via Ocado & Tesco. Highlights included watching Tottenham vs. Tromso, going to see Les Mis and a funny night on Edgware Road – eating Lebanese food, smoking shisha, and then whitey-ing and feeling like death warmed up on the last tube home.

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and that’s just breakfast, pal..

We also did day-trips to Sheffield (where I went to another start-up meeting), Oxford and Brighton which were good.

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Since getting back I’ve been moving around a fair bit. In October I went back to Sweden for a second time and ended up writing to a few companies on a whim. The responses were fairly positive and I thought there could be some short-term potential for work in Sweden.

After a couple of days back in Melbourn, I got the eff out of there and returned to Sweden. I was in and out once more before I left for Christmas. But my time was primarily spent contacting companies in Stockholm, meeting people and trying to kick on the job search and get some relevant experience.

The majority of my time has been with SUP46 (Start Up People of Sweden), talking to start-ups. I’ve done some work helping out with events at the office, I’ve also talked to a couple of guys and have some work available for some marketing & PR tasks that I can be kicking on with as soon as I like.

I’ve really enjoyed the vibe of the place and rubbing shoulders with entrepreneurs, especially as Stockholm is such a creative and vibrant start-up city at the moment. I could happily spend 2/3 more months around that sort of area getting experience, and potentially starting up something of my own – a goal that I’ve had for a while.

 

From 16 – 19 December I had all my final Chinese exams – this consisted of 2 oral, and 1 written. I should hear my results in Jan and fingers crossed I’ve passed everything ok. I plumped for Chinese II when I came back – essentially a level behind where I should be, but I just wanted to keep things going and do Chinese alongside other business. Chinese has been the constant running throughout my year. I’m sure I’ve come on a long way, but there’s so much to learn and so much depth. That said, the plan is to head back to China in 2014 and put this language and experience to proper, financial, business, career-development use.

I left Sweden on Thursday 19th December and went back to the UK via Bremen & then Dortmund where I had a long w/e with the Uni boys. We watched Dortmund vs. Hertha BSC (I was standing in the Kop at ridiculous tout prices) and Dortmund lost, but it was a good experience. And I tell you what, I fucking loved talking German again.. I’m really fairly good (or should I say gut) at it.

Christmas day itself was spent with the family (minus Andrew & Susie who celebrated with her side of the family and got here on boxing day). We went to Sheene Mill in the day for a slap-up Christmas Lunch, Rested, Had people around for presents and then people trailed off as we watched TV through the evening.

NYE itself was spent at Ashley & Boak’s place in Cambridge – it was the first time that I’d visited. It was me, Indi, Ash, Boak, Tim, Kirsty and Mepham (who was a good craic). I polished off my blastic 1l bottle of Bells Whisky which has been plaguing me for years, didn’t feel that drunk, ate some Chinese (with chopsticks to the amazement of the local folk), and ended up catching a lift back with Indi about 1am. Was pretty glad to wake up in my own bed the following day tbh.

 

 

 

A couple of other things I wanted to comment on from 2013:

Food & Drink: It’s a passion, so let’s talk….

It was a very good year gastronomically speaking. I went over to China having never properly used chopsticks, and was absolutely bossing it within a month or two – it was one of the main things I was telling myself I’d miss when I got back to the West.

Interesting things I’ve tried this year: Lots of Asian Michelin Star Food, Chicken Feet, Camel, Yak, Stinky Tofu (comfortably the worst), Liver (yeah not that exciting, but something I do not get the urge to eat), Swedish Crayfish Party, Grubs @ Korean BBQ Restaurant, My weight in Korean BBQ (& Korean food), Beijing Duck, Sushi, Sashimi, Teppanyaki, bloomin’ love Kimchi, Pocky, Poor-mans Julbord. More spicy food & Sichuan pepper than you could swing a tiger at.

Drink – lots of new, exotic beers. Baijiu, Kopi Luwak Coffee, Schnapps, Tea Ceremonies coming out of my ears

 

Media highlights of the year: Getting into Bobs Burgers – Smashing. Growing into Thom Yorke /Radiohead more.

This song, & album:

Gary Bale nearly firing Tottenham into the CL (but Chinese internet speeds stopping me from streaming a fucking thing.) (Marca are most certainly not included in this).

Villains of the year:

People with no special awareness, concept of queuing, or manners.

Charlie Adam – for being a relentlessly dirty cunt, intent on injuring THFC players.

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Spastics entrenched in one point of view, unable to see the other side of an argument.

Erm… Hitler.

Crybaby of the Year – Peter Herbert, Society of ‘Black’ Lawyers

Peter Herbert/Racial discrimination case

 

Heroes:

Russell Brand, still just a bloody great, intelligent guy.

Anyone who is on Bob’s Burgers. (But of course special mention to the finest pair of twins since The Nevilles – Andy & Ollie.)

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Brazilian Yiddo

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Steve Jobs – creating excellent apple products from the grave that have improved my life immeasurably. Would have been lost without my Macbook Air and now iPhone 5s which has revolutionised how I consume my media on the go.

Zhao Laoshi – 赵?老师

To a lesser extent – Li Laoshi and Lung-Lung Hu

Lina’s parents are very good guys. Lina’s Dad & Pia have been particularly excellent with me bumming around in and out of their home.

The people who produce these excellent podcasts and constantly talk to me and entertain me when I’m on my street-grind:

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Inheritance £ coming through. Don’t want to get into this too much but it has quietly massively changed my life and enabled me to do more things without having to worry about the finances and incoming £. I’ve certainly not gone crazy and spunked money everywhere – but it has enabled me to do a bit more without thinking about things. The hope is that China & work experience gained will be an investment that will pay me back in the future. Travelling has been a great experience.-