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Looking back…

June 23, 2014

I have been telling myself for months that I would get back to blogging. And I am sure I would have got around to it eventually. But…over the weekend, I was pretty under the weather with a terrible cold, and therefore, I needed a job to do that would feel productive while allowing me to stay on the sofa and do very little…so I worked on organizing and backing up all of our photos. This forced me to stop and think about everything that’s happened in our lives over the past few years, both good and bad. And it made me realize how much I enjoy looking back and reminiscing, and it made me think about how much has happened that I haven’t written about. Therefore, even though I still have long lists of things I should be doing instead (e.g., writing birthday thank you notes, washing up the dishes in the sink, cleaning the bathroom), I wanted to pause and at least attempt to say a little bit about what’s been going on for us in the past ten months or so.

It feels very daunting to try to write about everything we have done since I stopped writing regularly… After a year of working every waking hour of every day, Ben has finished his MBA and received all sorts of awards, he has been offered a job and also a funded PhD opportunity (and decided to go for the PhD), I have completed my first and started my second DClinPsy placement, I have handed in several assignments, and chosen a thesis topic, and we have had a couple of wonderful holidays. In spite of working very hard and being quite busy, we have managed to have a lot of fun. So….get ready for tons and tons of pictures and a very long post.

My last longer post was about starting the Clinical Psychology training programme, but I didn’t really say much about finishing my job in neuropsychology. I wish I had written more about this at the time, but I remember having very mixed feelings. I couldn’t believe how much I had learned and I felt like I had a lot more to learn there, but at the same time, it was an amazing feeling to know that the thing I had been working so hard to achieve was actually happening. I felt scared to be starting something new and I felt really sad to be leaving the people and the place that had given me a start in the clinical psychology world, and I was totally spoiled with an amazing send-off including a lovely meal out with everyone, lots of cards and good wishes, and an incredible bunch of gifts.

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Although I didn’t really have a break between finishing my job and starting the DClinPsy, I used my last two days of annual leave for Ben and I to have a little mini break. We headed up to Northumberland in the northeast of England for a night, and I had big plans to explore an area that I had driven through once soon after I moved to England. I also felt an emotional draw because before I moved to England, my parents had spent some time in Northumberland and said amazing things about it, so I was hoping to get to some of the areas they had loved on their visit.

We stayed in a tiny village called Beadnell, which was right on a gorgeous beach. We went for a walk there on our first afternoon, and enjoyed a beautiful sunny September evening walking on a nearly secluded beach.

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Now, what I haven’t mentioned yet is that I had come down with a terrible cold in the days leading up to our trip, and I woke up on the day we were leaving feeling pretty rough. I had some daytime cold medicine with me, and we had planned to stop for some night time cold medicine on our way, but we didn’t manage to in the end, and I didn’t realize until after our beach walk that I was going to really struggle to sleep (or even breathe) without some stronger medicine. So, we went in search of a pharmacy, only to realize that they had all closed unless we drove about an hour and a half to one which stayed open late. I decided to deal with it, but I spent the whole evening feeling miserable and spent most of the night lying awake wishing we were at home.

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The next day, I was determined to still go out sightseeing, and we had a full day planned. We headed to Lindisfarne/Holy Island, which you can drive to, but only when the tides allow. Therefore, you have to check the tides schedule very carefully! It is a very surreal experience driving on roads that spend most of their time under water, and it is a beautiful island with a gorgeous old castle. We had a nice walk and I took far too many pictures.

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We got tired of serious pictures and took a bunch of jumping ones…

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And then back to serious…

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I had big plans to go to Bamburgh Castle on our way back to Sheffield, but by the time we got a few minutes down the road, I was totally exhausted and just wanted to get home. I burst into tears, and Ben kindly promised me we would go back to Bamburgh Castle another time, and drove us home.

Okay, so I have just realized that I have already basically written a whole post, and I have only managed to talk about one week. However, it felt like quite an important week for me, given that I was in the middle of finishing one job and starting something new, and given it was a mini break to Northumberland that I had planned for a long time. However, I am going to have to pick up the pace drastically if I want to finish writing anything meaningful about the other ten months!

The fall felt like quite a stressful time with me starting my programme and Ben deciding about next career steps. However, we had some very happy events too. Ben submitted his MBA thesis, which was a huge achievement!

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And Ben had a birthday, which he is normally not very happy about, so I won’t tell you how old he is now! 😉

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Ben’s mom also had a birthday, but I don’t have any pictures from the day.

And…..in December, we managed to get back to the US for Christmas with my family! We had a wonderful time, but as usual, the time absolutely flew by. We had some really nice family time, we went for lots of nice snowshoe outings, we did some extreme sledding/snow tubing, we threw boiling water into the freezing cold air and watched it vaporize, we went to an NFL Minnesota Vikings game (an incredible Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law), we were spoiled with amazing food and incredibly thoughtful Christmas gifts, and we were very lucky to have such a warm house because it was VERY cold! There were lots of problems with flights, but we were lucky to get out eventually.

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Even though I have probably overwhelmed you with all the photos, I wish now that I had taken more pictures while we were at home. Each photo is such a wonderful reminder of my favorite people in the world, and a few pictures just can’t sum  up what it’s like to be home with family for the holidays.

When we got back to England in January, we had Ben’s MBA graduation to look forward to, and it was a wonderful day to celebrate Ben’s amazing achievements. I don’t want to embarrass him too much by bragging, but it was amazing to witness all of his hard work being recognized in the ceremony itself and in the award ceremony at the management school afterward. I couldn’t have been prouder.

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Other than a wonderful celebration, January and February were relatively quiet. Ben started working as a research assistant at the university, leading up to his PhD, we went for some lovely walks, and we caught up with friends, including a really fun weekend visit from Chris and Iain. It was also Ben’s dad’s birthday.

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At the beginning of March, we were thrilled to go to the wedding reception of a dear friend I met during my PhD. It was so nice to see him looking very happy with his lovely wife, and it was also really fun to catch up with lots of PhD friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I wish I had taken pictures, but unfortunately, I was too busy talking! We also got together with a bunch of my old housemates the same weekend, including one housemate who is currently living in France. It was such a fun weekend of reunions and celebrating. We also spent a bit of the weekend with our friends, who now live in Spain (part of the old PhD group), and later that week, Maya and Jose came to stay with us in Sheffield for a couple of nights. It was great to have them visit!

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March is our anniversary month, and although we don’t tend to do anything too major to celebrate, we had hoped to mark the occasion of making it to five years! In the end, I was stressed with deadlines and so we didn’t manage to do anything. However, about a week later, when I had been having a bit of a tough week, I came home on Friday after work (thinking that Ben was out for drinks with a friend) to find that Ben had actually left work early, cleaned the flat top to bottom, laid out a message on the floor and gotten buses and taxis to buy me an amazing spread of flowers, balloons, a card, and some of my favorite foods. I was totally shocked and blown away!

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April seems to be a bit of a blur. I can’t seem to remember much about what we did, and I don’t really have any pictures to remind me. It was my university coursework deadline month, so that probably explains part of it!

May felt like a really fun, busy month. I can’t fully remember the order of everything, but we had a visit from one of my good friends, Claerwen, we went for some lovely walks, we witnessed Manchester City win the Premier League title, Ben officially accepted his PhD offer…

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And at the end of May, we went away to Oslo for a long weekend, and celebrated my 29th birthday while we were there. It was sooooo nice to catch up with friends there, and meet their new partners and babies! I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, though.

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May will be a difficult month to follow, but June hasn’t been too bad so far! Other than being sick (which seems to come up a lot in this post even though I tend to remember being quite healthy), we have gone for some nice walks, we have started getting back into a better running routine, we went on a really fun Man City stadium tour for Father’s Day, just today I passed an assessment I had to re-take for my DClinPsy programme, and we are looking forward to a really fun holiday with my family at the end of this month.

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I have probably overwhelmed everyone reading this post, but it is really for my own benefit to have it written down. I should probably have split it up into separate posts, but I don’t trust myself to sit down and post again in the next few weeks, so I thought it was best to just write it and post it while I could. I am sure I have missed tons of things that happened and that we did, and I haven’t talked much about my DClinPsy programme, but at least I am sort of caught up!

I’m making no promises, but hoping to keep posting….at least once in a while!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amber permalink
    June 23, 2014 10:20 pm

    As always, love reading your posts! Even if it’s only once in a while! Miss you! Tell Ben hello too! 🙂

  2. Mark permalink
    June 24, 2014 12:24 am

    Hi Em…we really enjoyed reading your post, and hope you keep them coming. Hugs to you and Ben. Love y’all!

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