2012 – A Farewell

So here we are at the beginning of another year. And as glory would have it, we didn’t die! I guess the Mayans just ran out of paper. The Christmas festivities are all wrapped up and now 2012 can no longer be a number synonymous with the future but instead another one of those years that seems to have passed far too quickly and makes you wonder what you spent most of it doing. All the resolutions I made this time last year float through my head like ghosts, haunting my acheivements and reminding me that there are still so many things that I want to do. My belly grumbles with guilt at the promises I made to myself and subsequently broke all too easily. I should have joined that gym, I wish I’d tried harder to save money and if I had started learning a musical instrument in January I could have been half-proficient by now.

But it’s all too easy to dwell on failures and recycle the same old resolutions for the upcoming year. You can see the past 12 months in two ways and only one of them is worth more than a cursory glance. Think of Mr Obama and the difference between what his press secretary, Jay Carney, and his former opponent, Mitt Romney, would report about his latest year in office. I doubt there would be many points that would span both accounts. Obama may have taken home the presidency, but ol’ Mittens Magoo got to bring home those binders full of women…so who’s the real winner here? And although we shouldn’t ignore our shortcomings completely, a simple acknowledgement of desires as yet unfulfilled is sufficient enough energy to spend on such disheartening material. In other words; FORGET ABOOT IT!

A lot has happened in the world in 2012, but are we any better off for it? People are still hell bent on making life more miserable for each other. Extremist clerics quote ancient texts to excuse their killing of innocents, greedy businessmen spin deceit to excuse their killing of the environment and cowardly members of parliment shift blame to excuse their killing of our faith in mankind. I feel like I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the world this year, reading about the wars in the middle east and africa, listening to the aftermath of the US presidential elections and seeing first hand the hostilities between South Korea and it’s neighbours. Each of these has left me scratching my head wondering when we’re going to learn? Hate just breeds more hate. When the youngest kids in my classroom can explain to me why they hate Japan and why the island of Dokdo is so important to them it’s all to clear they’re merely receptacles that their parents have filled with their own unjustified hatred for another nation. 

Surely we have advanced far enough as a society, as a species, to let war become a thing of the past, a relic of ancient times that we look back upon and wonder how we ever lived like that. It’s as out-datedly barbaric as slavery, witch-hunting and laws against homosexuality. None of which make any sense whatsoever and it’s high time we realised that and put and end to it. The market for suffering is already saturated enough with naturally occurring bad news without the need for more. But people don’t learn and things only seem to be getting worse. I won’t vent anymore, I was just talking about not getting bogged down in the negative and here I am two paragraphs later with my feet sinking slowly into the quagmire of gloom. Allow me to drag myself out and onto the flip side;

This has truely been an amazing year! I look where we are right now and I almost can’t believe it. South Korea? How did we get here? It’s been a bit of whirlwind and my head is still spinning. Since leaving Toronto in April, we have travelled further and to more countries than I have ever done before. I have broken my boundaries on all four points of the compass (almost running out of land mass both East and West). We’ve celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee on the banks of the River Thames in London, spied on black bears from the train taking us through the Rocky Mountains in Canada, ran a 10k through the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, rafted the swirling waters of the Xiuguluan river in Taiwan, spotted Mount Fuji from our flight landing in Tokyo and launched lanterns into the Bangkok sky to ring in the New Year. Both never really having travelled before, besides a family vacation or a sunny resort, this year has definitely been an eye opener. I saw my first rat, encountered a lightbulb sized hover-bug, got stuck in a typhoon, got drenched in a monsoon, crashed a boat in Bangkok, stood next to the rifle of a North Korean soldier, been invited for karaoke and casual soju with a wealth of Korean dads and been followed around by a weird weird New Yorker in Taiwan who offered us to shower in his room. All things that would make our parents jump with joy- either that or have group aneurisms and drag us home by the earlobes. It’s been an unbelievable ride which we could not have set out on if it wasn’t for all the love and support of our families and friends. We miss you all dearly.

I suppose I thought heading out would be so fun and adventurous that one wouldn’t have time to miss anybody because everyday would be the grandest of adventures. But unfortunately when you move somewhere it’s very different from traveling and everyday isn’t an adventure. Albeit it’s not not- I mean something as simple as purchasing eggs becomes and entire ordeal with bumbling translations and snickering grannies. But you do have enough free time to sit around and think “I wish (insert name of loved one) were here they’d love this!” or “Man this new curry recipe would blow (curry loving pal)’s mind!” Our time here has been a roller coaster of emotions: constant awe (both good and bad), certain bafflement,  tears, laughter, and the occasional peppering of rage! We’ve sailed away from three weddings, the existence of a couple of cute nieces and nephews and, most dear to our hearts, our family dinners- in Iroquois Falls, England and Toronto. Meeting new people makes you really appreciate your friends back home and make you realize how lucky you were to have had them. 

But with this new love and appreciation we go on stronger, tearing up now and then but knowing that we have a world of loveliness backing us up! So on we go. Into a brave new year. Face first into the beauty, adventure and certain strangeties that lie ahead!

I’m proud of some resolutions that we have kept; Our Korean may not be particularly good but it’s improving every day, I have certainly expanded my kitchen skills, we volunteer at an abandoned pet sanctuary and have even fostered Flash, our Wanderaboot canine pal, until we can afford to send him to his beautiful British forever home and we bought Christmas gifts for a child in need. This year has flown by like some magician’s trick, but looking back we’ve managed to squeeze a lot into and a lot out of the past 12 months.

So now we look to the brand spanking new one that’s just made its debut and I’m already excited! We have 5 months left in Korea and then the world is our oyster, we’ve been looking at our options of what to do next and it’s really anybody’s guess. Holland, Italy, Australia and India are all on the cards but nothing is decided on. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens, how exciting! I’m sure the reigns of responsibility will tighten soon but while they’re still slack we’re going to wander. Aboot.

Hold onto your hats because we’ll be posting a super-wonderful 2012:In Photos along with tear jerking Academy Award Nominated video: The Wandering – A Film Aboot 2012.

But if you’ve been following along with us you know that’ll probably come along in April! Ha!
Thank you to everyone who’s been following us out the wandering world! 

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