Last year I didn’t get around to doing my annual update for family and friends; this year I’ll keep it much briefer than past updates. I’ll share 10 highlights from 2018, and would love to hear what your major highlights were too!
In 2018 I was in Canada, El Salvador, Canada, Netherlands, Canada, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Canada, USA, Canada, Bangladesh, Japan, Canada, USA, Canada, DR Congo, Canada. I spent a whopping 204 days in Canada this year. The last time I spent more time in Canada was twelve years ago, in 2006, when I was still a UBC student with a reasonably full head of hair!
In date order:
- January 2018: El Salvador
- February 2018: HEAT security training in Amersfoort, Netherlands
- April 2018: Portland bachelor weekend for Jason
- May 2018: Tokyo layover
- July 2018: Hozoulina’s wedding
- July/August 2018: Oceanfront paradise
- July 2018: Ontario / Québec summer adventures
- September 2018: Mudgirls cob plastering workshop
- December 2018: Kingston winter recovery
- December 2018: Christmas in BC
In January I had the good fortune of working in El Salvador for four weeks. It was my first time ever in Latin America, and I loved it. I got to take Spanish lessons most evenings for an hour after work, eat pupusas, and hike not one but TWO volcanoes on my weekends off.
In February, I was sent to the Netherlands for a intense security training. It was really well-run, with live simulations and excellent facilitators. I can’t really say much about what happened, but I give top marks to the Centre for Safety and Development for running it so well. After the training, I spent one night in a hotel in which my room door was hidden in a bookshelf!
In April, I took a short break from my work in Bangladesh to fly home to Canada for Jason’s bachelor weekend trip down to Portland. It was loads of fun, including brunch at a restaurant with swings for chairs.
At the end of my assignment in Bangladesh in mid-May, I flew home via Tokyo. I had a 10-hour layover so I made the trek into the city and had a great time, including amazing coffee with these guys at Koffee Mameya, and no coffee but heaps of cuteness at the hedgehog cafe.
In early July, Jason and Julia tied the knot at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens on a perfect day. I had a blast being one of the groomsmen during such a fun summer day and evening of adventure with such fine folks.
A few days after the wedding, a few of us had our names officially put on title of the dilapidated cabin on Bowen Island that we had purchased a while earlier. There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but the first little bits of tidying inside and underneath have been a lot of fun. I also got to use the living room for a while to continue working on that rowboat that’s been in progress for a few years now. It’s getting close!
I spent the second half of July in Ontario with Harpreet. We made weekend trips to Montreal and Prince Edward County (where our hosts Rick and Kerstin were the nicest!), went kayaking among the 1000 Islands from Gananoque a couple of times, and ziplined through the trees at Skywood Eco Adventure in Mallorytown.
In early September, I went up to the Sunshine Coast for a cob plastering workshop run by the Mudgirls. I had gone to a cob building workshop on the same site a year earlier, and I can’t wait for the next chance to go to one of their workshops. These people are really something special, and building and plastering with cob is SO. MUCH. FUN.
After 2.5 months working on the latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, I landed in early December in Toronto and spent the next two and a half weeks in Kingston with Harpreet. It was the perfect place to relax and regain some balance after such a prolonged period of sleep deprivation and work overload.
I flew back to BC on December 20th, in time for Christmas on Bowen with my family. A big windstorm on the 20th did a bunch of damage to the family boathouse so we spent a lot of time getting a temporary fix in place. We also played games at the house, worked on an enormous crossword, finished a cupcakes puzzle in one night, and ate a lot of delicious comfort food. A few days after Christmas we made pizzas and played games with our little cousins for an afternoon then went over to Aunty Pat’s place for Yorkshire puddings from an old recipe she’s been using for years.
Here’s hoping 2019 has more highlights than 2018 did! I fly out of Vancouver today, bound once more for DR Congo to work some more on the ongoing Ebola outbreak there, but this time as a consultant for the World Health Organization.