- My Birthday. At the beginning of the year I was working as a receptionist for a solicitors' firm. I HATED this job so 2011 didn't get off to a great start for me. What made the job hard was the boss. In fairness most of the lawyers themselves were lovely and a nice bunch of people but the boss was awful, easily one of the most awful people I've ever met in my life. Nobody liked her and she was rude and horrible to everyone. However, since the lawyers earned money for her she was still considerably more patient to them than she was to the admin staff. She would NOT tolerate mistakes from them (or me) no matter how small and I used to wince everytime I could hear her screaming down the phone at one of them (or me). I quickly found out that admin staff came and went pretty quickly at the firm. They'd had about 8 receptionists in the past 3 years! I'd made plans to stay at the job for a full year so I could earn enough money to go to New Zealand but I quickly changed my mind and decided to stay long enough for a trip around Europe instead and put New Zealand off for another time in my life. The boss also had an extremely aggravating habit of forgetting her appointments too so I was always the one who would have to apologise on her behalf to her pissed-off clients - when it wasn't even my fault. My birthday was one of the highlights for me because I was able to get the day off work and have a nice relaxing time at home. The day was a Thursday. When I got into work the next day I found out that the boss had been in a particularly foul mood that day which made me feel even more pleased that I hadn't been to work! On the Saturday I also went to London to see The Lion King. It's not the best show I've seen on the West End and isn't as good as the movie but it's still entertaining and I had a really nice time.
- Leaving Job/Finding new Job. By the time March had come around I'd saved enough money to go away. I'd been working at the firm since November 2010 and my Grandad had left me some money in his will. So I was able to leave the firm (hurrah!) and start work at a Christian bookshop where I've been ever since. I started part-time at first but now work full-time and have been promoted to Assistant Manager. The job can be difficult at times because you do get some challenging customers and the shop doesn't have that much staff - but it's still considerably nicer than my old job and most of the time I like being there. I am looking for a new job but that's only because the pay I'm on is quite low and I want to do at least one more trip travelling abroad. I'd still love to go to New Zealand but I'm also becoming more interested in going to South-East Asia.
- Inter-railing around Europe. When May arrived I left the bookshop for a month and travelled around Europe. I went to France (Paris), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (Florence and Rome), Austria (Vienna and Salzburg), Switzerland (Interlaken), Germany (Munich, Fussen, Berlin and Dresden) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam). I had a fantastic time! Yes, travelling can be stressful and lonely at times but the positives soooo outweigh any negatives. My favourite places were Barcelona, Florence, Vienna, the Swiss Alps around Interlaken and Neuschwanstein Castle (which is near Fussen). Paris and Rome are fantastic cities as well of course but I'd already been to those cities before so I was more appreciative of other places. I had a good time pretty much everywhere I went though, I met some really interesting people, and I know I'll remember and treasure the experiences for the rest of my life. If you ever get the opportunity to travel then do it!!! I don't think I'll ever go inter-railing again (not for a whole month anyway) but there are definitely places on the continent that I'd still love to see: Prague, Budapest, Venice, Dubrovnik, Madrid, Seville, the French Riviera and the Greek Islands. I think I'll save these places for mini-breaks/holidays.
- Cloverly. The Church I go to does an annual church weekend away in July and almost the entire congregation goes (about 100 people attend regularly at our church). The church rents this beautiful old manor house in Shropshire out. I only started going to the church about a year ago so it was great to spend time with people and to get to know them better in the beautiful surroundings.
- Momentum. In August I went on my second trip to Momentum Festival, which is based in Somerset. I had a great time. The worship, the teachings, the food, spending time with people, I just have a brilliant time there. I even got stopped by a guy called Terry who recognised me. He's from Birmingham and catches the same bus as me to work. I'd never noticed him before but then I'm a fairly unobservant person. Now I make sure to say "Hi" and chat to him if I see him
- Much Ado About Nothing. In September I went to London with Extremely Flammable to see Much Ado performed with David Tennant and Catherine Tate as Benedick and Beatrice. Not only was it great to see my favourite Shakespeare comedy acted out, it also reinforced just what a fantastic comedic actor David Tennant is. And how nice his legs are!
- Making new friends. Aside from Terry, the other new friend I made this year is a girl called Susan. She used to work at the bookshop with me but now works at another branch in Chatham, Kent. She's a great person and I hope that we'll become really good friends in the future. Since her family live in Wolverhampton hopefully we'll still see each other.
- Any time spent with family and old friends. You know who you are. You rock : )
- Christmas. I don't think I've ever had a bad Christmas. They've always been really good for me.
There you have it. I'd have liked to have rounded it and put 10 highlights for 2011 but I could only really come up with 9. Will I hit 10 for 2012?!