Never stop posting.
Never take a hiatus from your regular posting schedule; that’s what I’ve learned from the break I took while sorting out my UCAS application for Teacher Training. Always take time to prepare weeks or – ideally – months in advance, or you’ll find yourself writing a review of 2018 two months too late.
Oh, well. You’re still here, which must mean you’re interested.
The final few months of 2018 represented a very different time in my life to the rest of the year. Gone was the hectic chaos of desperately writing a dissertation. I’d completed my degree, so there was finally time to relax. Unfortunately, that relaxation was lined with an exorbitant amount of stress. I was rejected by various companies over thirty times, and it started to feel as if I’d never find employment. I finally, desperately, secured a position as a part-time library assistant, working 14 hours a week and dedicating the rest of my time to figuring out what to do with my life.
But before I’d settled on teaching, I had to get through the summer in one piece.
Desperation hit a new low: I joined Deliveroo.
Job-hunting was a painfully slow process. I’d applied to the library in July and didn’t start working there until September, so was prepared to go to any lengths for a little spare change in my pocket. I owed my Dad around £600. I was determined to pay him back and start saving for myself.
That all being said, I’ve still not actually delivered anything. I probably will when the weather improves, but for now, the jacket and bags are still happily chilling in my wardrobe.
As August turned to September, I jetted-off to the Canaries for a Teneriffe-ic (yikes) holiday.
We stayed at the Iberostar hotel, enjoying the unlimited food and drink that made the place the picture of paradise. Entertainment was on every night, the highlight easily being the King of Pop’s return to the stage.
No, not the real King of Pop – just an impersonator – but my God, he could dance. The hotel staff, waiters and waitresses by day, performers by night, functioned as his support. The show’s choreography was superb. I’ve truly never been so impressed by the hidden abilities and talents of some people. The moves they pulled off were fantastic, requiring a great deal of skill, practice and expertise. Incredible.
The island itself was fantastic. Sun, sun, sun, hot-but-bearable temperatures, a bustling town and endless sights and sounds to enjoy.
I began October with my favourite foods: steak and cake. It was my 22nd birthday. With a homemade Victoria Sponge to look forward to at the end of the day, we first visited Beefeater following weeks of demands for a decent piece of meat.
I’d fantasised over that food all throughout the short shift I had at the start of the day. Beefeater did not disappoint. The steak was exceptional.
I then took to Birmingham to party like no tomorrow, celebrating with friends who’d stayed in the City after graduating and those still studying. I woke rather groggy the following day, but it was worth it. What a night.
A week later, I spent time volunteering at The Cheltenham Literature Festival. I’ve lived in the festival’s town for my entire life and had somehow neglected visiting an event that has so much relevance to my degree. Knowing that I’d likely return to Birmingham by the end of 2019, I knew that this would be my only opportunity to full submerge myself in the festival.
What an experience! For simply helping visitors find their way around the site, I sat in on a number of events – usually pricey, but in my case free. I listened to children’s authors Kieran Larwood and Mitch Johnson talk through their writing processes. I heard Wendy Mitchell, a sufferer of early-onset dementia, and neurologist Jules Montague debate whether memories make us who we are, and listened as academics discussed war. One highlight I particularly enjoyed was MP Alex Chalk’s discussion of the direction of the Tories post-Brexit.
Attending these talks broadened my mind past concepts I’d never truly considered much before. If you’re ever presented with the opportunity to attend a similar event, embrace it. You won’t regret it.
Emma Blackery, Youtube star and singer/songwriter, performed live in Birmingham in the middle of October. When she announced a tour to promote her debut album, I snapped-up the opportunity and bought tickets.
Music has never been a huge part of my life, but I’d listened to her sing so much that the lyrics were practically a part of me. I sang along to every song, clapping on her encore for more. It was an incredible experience.
The only downside? As an under-16s event, every drink required an ID – meaning we couldn’t buy multiple drinks at a time. It was a precuation against buying for under-18s. Understandable, but annoying when queues stretched onto the stage. On the other hand, two drinks alone cost £14, so I blew a sigh of relief when tapping my card on the reader, knowing I wasn’t out of pocket by nearly thirty quid.
Another interesting part of the experience was having to wait in the cold queue outside for over an hour, meaning I missed Emma’s first support act. On the bright side, I caught the second act, Lilly Ahlberg, who set the bar high before Emma’s performance. By the time she finished it was just gone 10, which worked in my favour. My train was a little before 11pm, and I was so concerned that I’d have to leave in the middle of her set.
For once, though, everything seemed to work out.
October closed with a visit to Peurto Banus, Spain. We’ve gone there over so many years that I’m sure you could see a notable up-res in picture quality, as cameras and the scenery change over time. Malaga is right next-door, and though we’ve landed there most years, it’s never once occurred to us that we should probably pay it a visit. Before, we’d only ever grabbed our luggage and run to the taxi. This year, that changed. We finally made our way to the City, and were blown away by the architecturally-stunning landscape.
We’d love to go back and explore beyond the confines of the cathedral, so let me know in the comments what else is worth seeing in Malaga.
As for the walking, talking Oreo pictured above…well, isn’t that self-explanatory? He was at the airport on our return trip, promoting Oreos. I helped myself to a ridiculous number of free samples. Who wouldn’t?
I swear, we’re nearly there. With two months left to cover, read all about my hectic November and December this time next week, in the final installment of my 2018-in-review series. If you’ve stuck with me for this long, you’ll have to see how 2018 wrapped.