Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Hodge-Podge of a Year

Well boys and girls, it's that time again. The count-down has begun; the hours are ticking away. 2015 is only just around the corner. Looking back at last year's recap of 2013 just reinforced how every minute, every hour we spend living our lives, is integral to the people we are and will become. Not to sound too trite on the eve of a new year, but if not now, when? This time last year I was just beginning to question whether it was the right decision to come out here and rejoin the ranks of indebted young people in higher education. While I can't say those doubts have disappeared, I've come to terms with the uncertainty embedded in any decision. And it's not the choices themselves that dictate our futures; but rather we dictate our choices that illuminate paths we might be able to travel down. Could this current path be easier? Sure. I don't believe I have ever worked so hard, and in so many ways, before in my life. Yet that is part of the journey. To be fair, I would not not trade any of my hodgepodge of experiences this past year. So enough introspection, let's reminisce!

This year started out pretty wet, with record floods in the UK. Unfortunately, drought was concurrently wreaking havoc in California, a dry spell that continues to this day, leading to concerns that this may be a new normal rather than a severe extreme weather event. I seemed to have a thing for equality in 2014, and not just for inequitable water distribution. The 5th assessment report of the IPCC came out and we started talking about the differential impacts of climate change across the globe. 2014 marked the third year of living below the line for a week in May, this time on the UK equivalent of the poverty line at £1 a day (which, believe me, in Oxford is no small feat). Blog Action Day in October followed a theme of 'Inequality' and spurred a post on how women in Ghana are combating inequality in farming. And apparently Thanksgiving is now a time to think about wealth distribution and income gaps.

While no farm will ever replace Country Pleasures in my heart, I did settle into a routine working most Saturdays at a local farmers market. That meant blog posts waxing on about the 'dirt under my finger nails' and finally a day out on the farm playing with lambs and remembering why I love hanging out with farmers. My infatuation with winter squash came across strongly this year, and hasn't waned in the slightest (should I start a support group?). There was talk of seed saving and pumpkin pie. We were selling this funny-looking Black Futsu at market one week. And this Halloween surfaced some discussion about pumpkins and food waste (during the most exciting of Pumpkin Festival weeks!). I may also be harbouring a couple of buttercup squashes in my room.

On the (more) personal side of things, I did a bit of extracurricular wanderings to Malta (where I saw really old buildings), a Canary Island (where we saw old landscapes), the Pyrennees (where we saw our own dwindling food supplies), and Croatia (where I saw my baby sister after 2.5 years apart). Spring came, along with examinations (I passed!). I got older (28, yikes...) and My Munchable Musings did too (celebrated its 5th)! Not to mention, this was my 15th meat-free year (well worth a read).

But as I wrote last year, for all my good intentions I just can't seem to keep a consistent routine on the blog since coming back to school. This current academic stint comes to a close in September 2015, so look out for next year's recap to hear about adventures to come!

Past Recaps:

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