African resolutions

I didn’t make any specific New Years resolutions this year. Perhaps because I was working New Years Eve and New Years Day. Also because I believe any time is a good time to start new habits/try to break old ones.

Having said that, in my recent time off there are a few resolution-type things I have deliberately been tackling:

  • Gardening – I love the ways gardens are a never-ending work in progress since they are always growing, flourishing and dying (sometimes more of the latter). My latest gardening project is a renewed attempt at edible gardening. Apart from my herbs, I’ve recently planted lettuce, spinach, rhubarb and rocket.
  • Decluttering – this also feels like a never-ending work in progress. I know I’ve got a lot of unused clutter in my house. Most of it isn’t on show, but is hidden away in drawers, boxes and cupboards. Instead of buying new storage to arrange this stuff more effectively, I really need to purge things I don’t use. Since this is by no means a small task, I’m tackling one small area at a time, piece by piece. So far I’ve done behind my bedroom door. That alone has resulted in 4 bags worth of charity donation. Feels good.

Whilst I was tidying up some papers in the kitchen today, I came across a sheet of paper I produced in Africa. At the end of our volunteering experience we were asked to write a list of things we wanted to change when we left Africa to go home.

  • Things to keep doing
  • Things to stop doing/change/do less of
  • New things to do

I figure now is as good a time as any to check in on how I’ve gone with my list.

Things to keep doing

  • Yoga – whilst in Africa I managed to do at least 15 minutes of yoga every single day. I really think it helped prevent the aches and pains that can accompany travelling, especially when backpacking and sleeping on non 4 star beds. I have not been very consistent about this at all since coming home. No good reason why; I can’t honestly say I don’t have just 15 minutes spare in my day. This is something I need to deliberately refocus on.
  • Greeting people/being more open – I don’t have a problem saying hello or greeting strangers, especially when there is some kind of opening like someone smiling at my dog. Making prolonged small talk or a more sustained conversation isn’t something I’m especially good at though.
  • Learning new things – the fact that I’m struggling to think of anything new I’ve learnt suggests this one isn’t going too well, doesn’t it?

Things to stop doing/change/do less of

  • Not being attached to technology all the time – very hard to do when you have electricity and a 3 or 4G reception everywhere. Fail!
  • Drink less alcohol – the 2 weeks where I didn’t have any alcohol there were easy at the time. Doing the same thing at home would be much harder, especially at this festive time of year. For now I’m telling myself every night that I’m tempted but don’t have a glass of wine that gives me $10 spending money to buy something frivolous with. In the short time I’ve been doing this I’ve “saved” enough to buy a stripy sweater dress I had my eye on online. Score!

New things to do

  • Make chapati/mandazi – 2 things I learnt to do in Africa. Have not attempted either since coming home. Only way to fix this is by doing it. Here’s an online Mandazi recipe that looks completely do-able, but am a little scared about the fact it required deep-frying.

It will be interesting to see how these goals pan out over the next few weeks. Having them written down will hopefully help me keep more focused on what I am actually wanting to achieve.

Last meal

So it seems that what it takes to prompt me to recommence this blog is a 4 hour layover in Dubai airport. I’ve caught up on emails, caught up on Facebook and checked in with family and friends so that they know I’m alive.

Despite sleeping 10 of the 14 hours of the past flight leg, I still don’t feel like I’ve caught up on sleep, but that’s what doing a night shift and not sleeping for 30 hours straight will do to you.

Now I’ve parked myself at a coffeeshop in Dubai airport. I’ve drunk their coffee, used their wifi and eaten their fruit salad. ¬†For the last month I’ve been trying to follow the I Quit Sugar Program (although I have to admit I’ve fallen off the bandwagon in the last week). That makes the cappuchino and fruit salad I had *very* indulgent. I figure that heading to Kenya I’m going to be very unlikely to be eating fresh fruit or many processed foods in the next month, so I wanted to take advantage of available fruit while I can.

"Last meal"

Still much less indulgent that visiting Haagen Daaz and parking myself there isn’t it? Although I do still have 3 hours to kill, so let’s not congratulate myself too soon!

And now, please stay tuned for updates from Africa. Hopefully all good ones!