It took me a whole month to look back on my 2017 and finish this post – a lot of things happened! I thank God that my grandpa who passed away is now with Jesus, for all the old friends we said goodbye to and the new ones we met, for keeping me safe cycling every day despite my spectacular fall!
I ticked one more box from my UK-to-do lists this year: Going to Hay Festival. It was great fun but too far to go often. I have Corbridge in mind to be the Hay in the North (because of the independent bookshop Forum). I also visited one new British city: Leicester. A brilliant place for history (and fabric shopping!). I have to go again!
However, the epic trip was definitely the Asia tour. My husband and I went on the longest trip we’ve ever done, time-wise and distance-wise, in spring 2017, to visit friends and family in many major cities in East and South East Asia. The majority were international students who were part of the fellowship during the last nine years.
We traveled from the top to the bottom of Beijing on the metro and it took us about one hour; we met ten old friends over one weekend in Shanghai, had many cups of coffee and nearly missed our train home; we visited three unique and wonderful museums in one day in Tokyo and got lost in Shinjuku underground station; we ate delicious hot steamed buns at the corner of a busy road and lots more food in a night market in Taipei; we climbed a scenic mountain in Hong Kong and got shocked by the rudeness of the waitresses; we spent two weeks wandering all over Singapore, sampling many churches – I didn’t pass out in the heat even once and loved every minute of it.
We were spoilt with two Lake District trips but both were with friends, so in the end, husband and I didn’t really feel like we did any proper walking this year. I really enjoyed taking two friends to Wasdale. I’ll try to do another one this coming year. In autumn, husband and I did some more walking and camping on Isle of Skye in Scotland. The experience was more miserable than wonderful. My preferred walk was the unimpressive path from Alnmouth to Alnwick with my husband on our wedding anniversary.
But the best outdoor adventure was the wild swimming in a river. The location is closer to home (compared to Lake District) and it was very quiet. It was proper exciting! I hope to visit again and find more swimming spots in 2018!
I’m a Stationery Geek
I looked through my monthly posts in 2017 to have a review of the year. The first thing I noticed is that the content of my pen bag and my diary have both changed. I now use dark grey Staedtler fineliners almost exclusively for the daily content of the diary, a blue Staedtler fineliner for the to-do lists. I paired fineliners and highlighters in same colours for making notes in books I read. Pastel coloured erasable gel pens and highlighters are the most suitable for this job. The erasable pens and highlighters were definitely one of the best finds in 2017.
I learnt a lot about how to use Photoshop and Lightroom. The photographer Youtubers I follow and like are Mango Street (I want to do videos), Gavin Hoey’s series on Adorama TV (I want a small home studio), Irene Rudnyk (I want pretty models) and Jessica Kobessi (I want a team!). Jessica Kobessi’s Three Photographers Shoot One Model has turned into something phenomenal – there are Three Photographers Shoot One Model episodes in many locations around the world! My favourite photographer Instagramer is definitely Rosie Hardy.
I did a few photoshoots during the warmer months but haven’t done anything since October-ish.
We did some “levitation” photos again this year, but I think I prefer the old ones from 2014. That was the most-viewed post on my blog for a long time.
This is the second year of the JOURNEY project. My favourite issue would always be the next one but I like the front cover of #04 best!
The first-ever summer weekend away for the international fellowship happened this year in Cragside. It was only five months ago but most of these friends are not here with us in Newcastle anymore!
Best Christian read: The Unquenchable Flame (see book review here)
Best fiction: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Eccentric Family (read in Chinese)
Best non-fiction: Eggs or Anarchy
2018 New Year resolutions
Read more, write more, take more photos, learn to film, learn Japanese (seems to become my lifelong project…), sleep earlier (the biggest challenge of all)!
And here is a photo of all the books I collected over the years and borrowed from my husband’s bookcases to read in 2018 before I buy more books (Word Alive in April is an exception of course!):
Some of these I never touched at all, some I have tried but couldn’t continue for various reasons. I plan to take a photo of the pile each month and track my reading progress. Book reviews will come along the way.