New year’s holidays are always strange ones in my own mind, as the coming of January is for me personally very important–it’s the month of my birthday. For various reasons, particularly in high school and at University, my birthday was a particularly big event because I had gotten ahead of the normal age group at school and so I was the last one to be able to drive, vote, drink, etc. But of course, I’m now of the age where I’m a little bit more apprehensive of the ticking over of the years, especially when they go by as fast as 2010 did, and this year my birthday is divisible by 5 so a bit scary. Not as scary as when it’s divisible by 10, but still a milestone.
So 2010, why did it zip by in such a rush? Well, there are the lines of evidence on my CV in the form of the trips I took for work. America: Texas, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts. UK: Nottingham, Newcastle, Southampton, Leicester. Plus Germany, China, Switzerland, Singapore, France, Italy. I think that’s most of them. It’s certainly more than one trip a month, which is why I am facing 2011 with a resolution to travel less.
I’m also aware these days of the fact that I’m relatively established in the UK after more than four years in residence. I moved this past summer, out of corporate housing and into a private rental, so my home feels more like home although the move itself just about knocked me out in the midst of everything else.
My job is getting more and more demanding, right at a point when I very much would like a much-needed break. The break is coming, as I have leave from certain administrative tasks from mid-March to October, but I have to get through the first few months of this year before that little break starts. And I’ve essentially doomed myself to writing full-time over that “break” by having signed a second book contract. My first book is just out (and no it’s not anything readers of this blog might be interested in, it being a rather dry technical tome) and I’m sort of questioning my sanity in jumping into another project so soon, but opportunities arose and I rose to the challenge. We’ll see how this goes.
But the biggest questions for me are the ones I’ve hinted at previously on this blog: 2011 is set to be the year of the big future decision cross-roads. My five year visa for working in the UK expires in October, and as such if I wish to remain I have to embark on a painful process of paperwork requesting the permission to remain from the UK government. There are a few aspects of this that are not straightforward, from my perspective, although I’ve been told over and over again that I should not encounter any grave difficulties throughout the process. But I do feel as though there is a significant emotional barrier to overcome. I know that requesting permanent residency does not actually require me to remain resident in the UK permanently. But I also know that I originally looked at the five year visa as a maximum period for living abroad, not a stepping stone towards greater lifestyle change of becoming permanently European. Do I know what’s going to happen, or where I’ll be in a year’s time? Nope. No clue. At the moment all options are open as they bloody well should be.
Things could change or (more likely) things could remain the same. But it will be interesting to look back in a year’s time and see where I end up. Happy 2011, everyone.