I started Thankmas with family and I’m ending it with family.
Today is dedicated to the 6th member of our family who has been making our life more fun, loving, hilarious and random for the last 10 years, our little baby, Oscar.
Though I’ve lived abroad pretty much since we got him, he remembers me every time I visit. When I was in Cyprus for a month, struggling to adjust and annoying everyone with my constant irritability, Oscar was the only one I wasn’t annoyed with, he was the only one who could comfort me at times.
He may sometimes sneakily steal our food but he can sense when we are ill or sad and comes and sits next to us, he is loving and sweet with everyone and ever so patient with children younger and older (e.g Anna!).
So thank you Oscar! You’ve been the whole family’s best friend and we all love you to bits.
It’s Chriiiistmaaaas. My favourite day of the year. I haven’t immersed in it as much this year due to work but I’m glad I decided to do Thankmas.
As I suspected from the start of this little series of blogs, 24 posts are not enough to thank all the amazing, incredible humans who encouraged me, comforted me, supported me, all my dear friends and family and all the things that inspired me and motivated me this last year.
So this post is for everyone. Everyone I love and I’m blessed to have in my life.
All of my friends in Southampton, especially Sofy and Sophie, Denise, Jo, Lorna (oh I miss having a laugh with the Quercus ladies!) and our awesome staff choir.
My brother Andi in London, who I spent my last day in the UK with. I miss you lots!
Dear Giovanni, my former CELTA student who’s been giving me tips and advice ever since I moved to Italy.
All my friends and family in Cyprus. Maria, Andri, Elena, Polia, my cousins, especially my beloved cousin and third sister Georgia, my aunties, my uncles.
And last but not least all of my lovely readers.
Thank you everyone. I’ll have a little break now to enjoy exploring my little island and spending time with friends and family but I’ll be back soon to talk about New Year wishes!
I can write a book about Chris and it will still not be possible to capture his endless kindness, incredible sense of humour and impeccable taste in music, food (we love talking about food), travel, films, TV series.
Chris has been an amazing friend, especially in the last few years. He helped me move I don’t even know how many times, he put furniture together for me, he introduced me to some of my all time favourite music and series, he always made time for me and he was always there for me.
We had long and deep conversations on the meaning of life, mental health and life struggles as well as discussions on the best cuisine or dish we had, crime stories as well as random topics we both enjoyed.
When I first started thinking of what was the best thing to do, I told him about it, before I even made the decision. I always ask Chris when I can’t decide, I don’t have to explain much, he always gets me. Very few people do and Chris is one of them.
I remember a few days after I finally decided, we went out for a drink after work and told him about it. I still remember his reaction. He looked sad and happy at the same time and he didn’t even have to say anything. I knew he was incredibly happy for me but also very sad I was going away.
I knew because I felt exactly the same.
I miss our catch ups, long emails, Christmas party dances, random conversations but I’m sure we’ll always be in touch, no doubt about that.
So thank you Chris, not just for all your help and support this year but for always, always believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. You are truly one of the most wonderful, kindest, awesome humans I’ve ever met and I’m truly blessed to count me as one of my dearest friends.
I sometimes feel I’ve been extremely lucky (minus one unfortunate occasion) with the managers I’ve had so far. In all the part-time jobs I worked for they’ve all been great and the two (out of three) I had when working full time, well one of them, Chris is now a great friend and one of my favourite humans and the other one is also a great friend and one of my favourite humans as well as one of my career and life advisers over the last couple of years.
Suzanne supported me from day one, always believed in me and trusted me with huge responsibilities, always protected me and she knew almost from the start that I wasn’t made for an office so she used to send me other more interesting jobs to apply for, we used to talk about travels and business ideas and all sorts.
When I told her soon after I decided what I was planning to do, she was so happy for me and helped me with references, moving, getting rid of things and everything else I needed.
Sue Sue was not just my boss (coolest boss ever), she was and still is my friend, one of the original members of our little Culture Club, always up for a drink and a laugh, a truly awesome human with a heart of gold. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to be as nearly as an amazing manager as Suzanne.
So thank you Suzanne, thank you for believing in me and pushing me to follow my dreams and for always looking after me. Best boss ever!
I really don’t know how to start or end this post, there are not enough words to accurately capture the phenomenon that is Donna.
Mamma Donna, Mrs Allen, my second favourite Allen (after Darren of course!) the craziest, funniest most fascinating person I had the luck to meet in my life so far.
It all started three years ago around this time when she offered me a Custard Cream and the rest is history.
She taught me so much over the years, from cheese rolling festivals, to random facts, pranks and essential Northern vocabulary.
Despite the deceptive first impressions she gives, she is actually NOT at all scary, serious or tough or as old as you imagine (sorry Donna, I had to!).
IN all seriousness though she has a heart of gold and she’s been like my mum over the last three years, checking what I had for lunch, stealing my bananas, organising nights out, theatre trips, climbing up and down mountains and looking after me when I was not well (many a times).
She encouraged me to leave and go out see the world ever since she realised that the office and Southampton was too small for me and when I told her and Darren my plans though they were sad I was leaving, I know she was super happy for me. She helped me with everything I needed, hosted a party to celebrate my departure and made my last few months at work and Southampton more memorable.
So this post is for my UK mum, the crazy, prosecco loving, adorable, the one and only Donna. Thank you for everything. I wish the world had more Donnas!
I miss you!
(PS I hope you manage to read my post, I know you are struggling with technology and might take you a while to figure out how to read this on your phone).
Two and a half years ago, on a warm July afternoon I decided to follow the link my bestie sent me, the first day of a Youtube ’31 day yoga revolution‘ programme with a ‘fun, funny, amazing gal’ and her doggie. Shebs had been doing the daily sessions for about two weeks and loving them. She talked with such an enthusiasm about Adriene I had to give it a ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I never sticked to anything for a whole month and though I tried yoga before online and in a class, the instructors never inspired me, but I loved this so much I made sure I practised every single day. Every day had a different theme, duration and aim but they were all connected plus Adriene is hilarious and I had a laugh (and sometimes a cry when some of the sessions became too emotional).
I cried on the last session. I couldn’t believe that within just a month I not only felt the best I ever felt physically and emotionally but for the first time ever I accepted and loved myself for what I am, with all my imperfections and I learned to love and look after myself, something I struggled with for years.
After the 31 day programme was over I followed the monthly calendar playlists Adriene puts together with older videos as well as new sessions until life got in the way again and I practised less and less. Although I don’t practise every day I go back to it every month be it for a day or a week and it’s one of my remedies, one of my favourite ‘me time‘ activities, my body and mind crave for it if I don’t.
I talked to all my friends, even strangers about Adriene and her Youtube channel, I wrote about it on here several times, I recommended it and would recommend it to anyone. Free Yoga with an awesome lady and an awesome community. To know, especially in January when Adriene posts her 30 day Yoga videos once a day, that at the same time I practise, thousands of people around the world practise as well, makes it incredibly special, I feel part of a huge family.
Every time anxiety or depression got the better of me, and this year it happened a lot with all the huge decisions I forced myself to take, I returned to the mat, and on those days, that 10, 20 or 30 minute video was the only time my mind managed to relax and not worry about a thing.
Ever since I started teaching full time I had no free time to do much but since the first of December I’m back on my daily sessions. I have to wake up earlier than normal which means longer days but it’s all worth it.
I can honestly say I wouldn’t be so calm and composed with everything that happened and still going on if it wasn’t for Yoga with Adriene. I would have broken down by now.
I love this lady (and Benji), with her smile, charisma, witty humour and her genuine love for real yoga, connecting the body and the spirit rather than ‘getting the poses right’, she made me love yoga and because of her yoga will always be part of my life.
So thank you Adriene, the awesome in me bows to the awesome in you.
There are not enough words or posts to describe how much I love and miss this bunch and how incredibly thankful I am for every single one of them. I can confidently admit I wouldn’t made this year without them.
Every time my anxiety got the better of me or a problem came up or I doubted myself and my decisions they were there to keep me going, always helping me when I needed it the most, cheering me on all the way until my very last day in Southampton, even afterwards.
Jaba hugs, kitchen conversations with Ryan, corridor chats and a laugh with Tom, email catch ups with Chris, my official Netflix and other TV series advisor, Fleabag, music and philosophical chats with Sally, climbing up and down the stairs and hills with Helen, having a laugh at choir with Lou, Mark’s amusing views of life, catching up with Geraldine and her little ones, talking about travelling with Liz and craft and other genius creative ideas Susan comes up with.
What I wouldn’t give for Friday after work drinks, or a random dinner out or my favourite event of the year, our Christmas party.
I miss you all.
PS (posts on a few other important Solent and Southampton people coming next).
One of them was Shebs (see yesterday’s post). The other one was one of my most precious best friends I’ve known for 10 years, Artemis. She lives in Cyprus and we may not talk that often but we always catch up and we ask for each other’s advice all the time.
Every time I’m in Cyprus I make sure I spend time with a small number of people, Artemis is always on top of the list. We have a laugh, even if we are just sitting together chatting. Precious moments I always cherish. I wish we spent more time together. It’s just incredible how we get each other and we have the same values and way of thinking.
So this one is for you Artemis. Thank you for all your love and support. Love you and can’t wait to see you and my favourite little guy Thodori in a few weeks!!
One of them was Shebs, my best friend, my soulmate. I could not wait to tell her what I came up with. Even though we’ve lived away from each other for almost two years now, nothing has really changed.
We ask each other about everything, we tell each other everything, we communicate on another level others can’t even comprehend and when we are together it’s as if nothing has changed. We laugh, we cry, we talk and talk and talk. We never run out of things to talk about. Some of the most meaningful, deep conversations I ever had was with Sheba.
She was there for me every time I doubted myself, I worried for no reason, every time I let my devastating overthinking habit take over. She is the most loving, caring, smartest, sweetest human being I’ve ever met and I’m unbelievably lucky our paths crossed. I never thought I’d met someone who we’ll understand each other so much and so deeply.
So thank you my love. Thank you for everything. I can’t wait to see you in February!
I was at the office working on a dull spreadsheet and I suddenly had an idea. An idea for a Youtube channel, but I would need to be in Cyprus for it, that’s where it should start from. Perhaps I can do a little bit every time I visit?
That’s how it all started about a year ago.
I immediately messaged both my sisters. They were the first people I told about it. They were the first to know when I shortly afterwards decided to quit my job, do the CELTA and then move back to Cyprus for a few months. They were the first I asked the opinion of and they were the first that forced me to think before I took any radical changes. They supported me from day one. They always do. Although I’m the eldest and I sometimes treat them like they are my children, I worry and care about them but I also trust them with my life, they are my comfort, my best friends, my soulmates, two of the very few people I can be myself with.
I know many people that are not that close to their siblings, they chat every now and then, they don’t share much. Not us. We chat all the time, we do things together, we are in each other’s life even though I’ve been living miles apart for years now.
So today’s Thankmas is dedicated to my two sisters Anna and Stella. Thank you for support me from the very beginning, when I first made the decision to leave the UK after 10 years. It’s been hard, terrifying at times, especially during my last month in Southampton and the month long CELTA drama when my anxiety levels reached new highs I could barely eat. My sisters were there for me, checking up on me, cheering me on. They believed in me even when I stopped believing in myself.
Thank you Stella and Anna, arfoui mou, mikro mou, for all your help, support, encouragement and endless love.
I love you to bits and I can’t imagine life without you two in it, everything is more fun with you, holidays are funnier, food tastes better, even when we are just watching a movie together in the living room, having silly arguments, lots of snacks and laughter to the point I almost pee myself, life is simply better with you.
I’m incredibly lucky and blessed to have you two as my sisters.
(PS: My Youtube idea hasn’t materialised yet but as a colleague reminded me last week, ‘You can still do it, can’t you?’ You are absolutely right Suzanne, of course I can, I don’t know why I thought I couldn’t).