Taking Stock

Hi Everyone!

I am so glad that I took that last two weeks off but I’m equally glad to be back to blogging and spending a little time with you each day! There were moments when I wanted to just post something but then I reminded myself that this was a blogcation meaning that I was suppose to be spending time with family and friends or just doing something else and so I stopped myself and got back to my holiday duties. That strategy has totally worked because I feel completely rejuvenated and excited about all that I have planned to share with you.

Before we kick off a whole new week here on Out and About Africa, let’s take stock of 2009 as is the norm around this time of year (ok...maybe it was the norm last week but since I wasn’t blogging we’re going to push it into this week). Overall I have to say that 2009 was a really good year for me. I feel like I really grew throughout the year and learned a lot about myself. There were so many things that I’ve always wanted to do and somehow I pulled my act together in 2009 and really began doing them. Between gardening, pottery, painting, photography, biking, and running I really threw myself into activities that I really wanted to try and had a great time doing so. It was also really important for me to tap into my creative side, which had basically laid dormant for decades so that was excellent.

Another great part of 2009 was having my own apartment and decorating to my hearts content. It’s really amazing the level of joy that can be found in making a house a home. I learned that I’m very truly addicted to color which has led me to find a trusted friend in Mr. Benjamin Moore! In fact, as I write a new color sits on my kitchen table awaiting a good layer on my kitchen walls and I’m already rethinking colors for the bathroom. I love it so much that my sister, who tries to convince me that people don’t paint their spaces more than once a year, has suggested on more than one occasion that I open a painting operation! Painting mixed with antique shopping and combining a little of the old with the new has really transformed my apartment into a space where I’m more than just a little excited to come home to everyday.

2009 also brought a lot in the friends/family department. I am constantly amazed at what wonderful people I have in my life and at times I literally have to pinch myself to think I am really this lucky to have some many great family members and friends who are consistently supportive and just plain ‘ol fun to be around! Some relationships have had to change but the change has been good. Other friendships have just strengthened despite the fact that we are far away from each other. For example over this Christmas break I got to spend time with a friend based in Kenya who was in town; another friend from New York spent a few days in town with me; I got to spend New Years with another good friend; I got to hang out with friends and their new babies; one friend who just had a baby has still made time to talk to me on the phone despite being exhausted and putting all her energy into her first son; and I got to talk to another who is in Argentina and who I haven’t seen in 9 years and yet when we talk, it feels like we just had tea a few days ago! A few relationships didn’t seem to survive 2009, but I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and maybe there is a lesson in their failure that I’ve been needing to learn.

On the blogging front, I’m so happy that you all keep coming back for more! When I came back from Sudan in 2008, I literally had no idea where I was going to take the blog or even if I would continue blogging, but I stuck with it and some of you came along while others have joined the fold over the months and I am so lucky for it. It’s amazing to have found something that I love to do that others get joy out of as well! In addition, I’ve been shocked at the number of interesting and inspiring people that I have had the chance to virtually through the blog.

All of this leads me to be very excited and hopeful about 2010. On the blog front, you can look forward to a few new series here (one that’s going to launch on Wednesday so definitely stay tuned), hopefully an improvement in the overall look of the site, and so many more great artists from throughout Africa. Personally, I have a few goals lined up for 2010 including finally learning how to sew, getting myself back into a darkroom, dancing a whole lot more than I did in 2009, and expanding my professional horizon beyond my current field of international development. My motto for 2010 is totally “seriousness of purpose!” My president is forever saying that and I honestly agree with him, I so need to have a seriousness of purpose with all the things I would like to accomplish this year. I think that with a lot of hard work, a dash of sacrifice, a focus on growing and learning from my experiences, and just being honest with myself, everything I hope to accomplish this year will work out.

SOOO...I know 2009 is so yesterday, but tell me how the year went for you? What are some of your big goals for 2010?


3pieceonline said...

you have definitely been missed. I loved this post. I did not think to do a recap I may have to do one as well.

sonu said...

just found your blog- very beautiful. since you're a fellow color/design lover, thought you'd like to check out my site (i'm sr. int desgner for Benjamin Moore!)
all good wishes in 2010!

niki.mac said...

i'm fairly new to your blog but i have to say i'm really glad that you continued it after coming back from sudan! i spent some time abroad as well, and i know how hard it is to keep up that connection after your back in the "swing of things"!

i'm looking forward to hopefully getting my own place this year, and i cannot wait! i feel like i just need more space to really work toward my goals.

happy new year!

Brandie said...

- 3pieceonline: Thanks so much...it's nice to get back to blogging in a whole new year!

- Sonu: Hello my new best color friend! Your site is very lovely and I'm always glad to find color enthusiasts. The fact that you work for my favorite painting company is really just too fun for words...Have you had the chance to work with Marina Gray? That's my new kitchen color :)

- Niki Mac: Welcome to the blog and I'm definitely glad that I have continued blogging. The transition was slow as I figured out exactly what I would be blogging about since it would no longer be rain floods in sudan. I hope you have a good transition back and good luck finding your own place. It's definitely been one of the highlights of moving back for me. :)