A Year In Review: 2016

Well it’s been a funny old year hasn’t it? Honestly, it doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was writing about 2015, but actually it’s been a whole year. 2016 has just flown right by in an instant, but in that instant, I’ve created so many amazing memories to cherish forever.

But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

You’ve probably seen the memes on the internet about how 2016 has been the worst year. And in a way it did make 2015 look like an angel. At the beginning of the year, 2016 took David Bowie and Alan Rickman away from us, two stars that I idolise a hell of a lot. In September one of my lecturers gave us a class on David Bowie and his music videos, and it really hit me when he said to us it was the first time in giving this class that he had to refer to Bowie in the past tense. Since then, 2016 has taken even more world known people away from us, a few of them being very recently, like it was surprising us and making it’s last few more claims before bowing out.

Not to mention the political shit storm that the year has brought us. In the UK we had the big debate of Brexit (if I have to explain what Brexit means to anyone then I will really be surprised to be honest) all the way up until June. I vaguely remember saying I couldn’t wait for the referendum to be done and dusted, because it was honestly the most toxic thing to happen to this country. In a way now, with the result and being a Remain voter, I wish it never happened at all. But we live in a democracy and the majority (even though it is actually a rather small majority) said we must leave the EU, and so that we will. I just hope that the process goes as smooth as possible and doesn’t create too much of a depression, emotional, economical, or otherwise. And that some citizens of the British public stop being judgemental and prejudice to people who aren’t British by birth. Honestly, some of the acts of racism and xenophobia I’ve seen this year due to Brexit has made me disgusted to be British.

We also had the American election. In September last year another one of my lecturer’s showed us a video on Youtube of Donald Trump saying “China” over and over. That was the very first time I’d ever seen of heard of the man, as it was explained to me who he was and what he was saying in his run to be the Republican candidate. I thought he was a joke, that he’d never make it to be the Republican candidate, let alone President. And now here we are. He’s going to be sworn into office soon. — I’m not going to say as much on this as I did Brexit, because I don’t know a great deal on American politics, nor do I want to know too much. But once again, the votes been cast, and it’s something we’re just going to have to deal with. And I can only hope the same happens as I hope happens with Brexit.

I’m just really dreading the day my grand kids come home from a history class and ask me about the political happenings of 2016.

They should dread it too, because they’ll probably just a full ass rant that will be way longer than the one above.

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Anyway, back to the personal aspects of the year I’ve actually had.

When I said last year that 2015 had left me with mixed feelings I was being really stupid. 2015 was probably way worse for me than this year was (I mean I had cancer that year for goodness sake, surely that made it the worst year?). I said I didn’t know what to think of that year, but I really, really, don’t know what to think about this year.

At the beginning of the year, quite literally, on the 1st January, I lost my great aunt to, yep you guessed it, cancer. And I had the worst case of survivors guilt for what felt like ages. I went to the funeral and felt awful because I felt like me just being there was like I was laughing in her families faces like “haha I survived cancer, but she didn’t. But sorry for your loss.” It didn’t help when my uncle said to his own cousin, of all people, when we were discussing the whole cancer thing; “You’ve beaten it now though, haven’t you? Yeah, see. She’s a winner.” Talk about cringe. I remember saying, after seeing the look on his cousin’s face; “We’re all losers. Once you’ve been with diagnosed with cancer, you’ve lost. There’s no winning. Only surviving, for however long you can.”

2016 was the year I finally fell in love again, as well. I fell in love in 2014, only to have it crushed in 2015. I then got with someone else but before I could truly commit to it, I was diagnosed and we just kinda sorta drifted? I haven’t heard from him since. I sort of gave up looking after that, I had my health and my life to get back on track. But 2016 brought me back into the world of relationships, Hazel Grace style. — Yep. We basically met through a cancer support group. It was kind of nice being with someone that you didn’t have to explain the gory details to, because he had been through it too. It was nice. He was lovely. We lived 2 and a half hours away from one another, which sucked. But we made it work tremendously well.

Well for a while anyway. It didn’t take long for everything to turn sour. I won’t go into details, because honestly it’s kind of personal, but I never thought someone would make me immune to the word “bitch” and “cunt” as insults, but he did. So in 2015 style, 2016 also made me fall out of love either. — Though I’m not turning away from relationships completely this time. In a bid to cheer me up, my friend downloaded Tinder for me (yes you can groan), and I’m just sort of giving that a go really. Wish me luck!

Other than that 2016 has brought me some really good experiences. In May I got to go to Birmingham for Asylum 16, a Supernatural convention that one of my friends had brought me a ticket for, for my birthday. It was my second time travelling somewhere without my mum, but my first time travelling with a friend (last time I travelled solo) so it was nice to have someone to wander around and take in Birmingham with, as we managed to go explore the actual city including the Think Tank museum as well as go to the convention. The convention was amazing, if a bit badly organised, and I can only wish I get to go again in the future. I’m in love with Birmingham as well as the conventions. So here’s to next time!

Also photos with Impala’s are the best kind of photos (throwing it back to the purple wig too, wow.)

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This was also the year I finally got to meet one of my long distance friends. I met Aubrey through Tumblr all the way back in 2013, but until this year, our friendship had been completely over the internet. We had planned to see each other at least 2 years ago, but since I live in Sussex in the United Kingdom while she lives in California in the United States its taken her a lot of saving (and now its going to take me a lot of saving as it’s my turn next!) But she did it and in June I met her at the terminals at Gatwick with a massive hug.

My responsibility of this trip was to be her tour guide and take her around some of the exciting places this country has to offer. Taking Aubrey around to these places also meant I got to act like a tourist in my own country, and get to go and do things that I probably wouldn’t do otherwise, for whatever reason. — We went to visit Arundel Castle. A place that is literally a 15 minute drive from where I live, but I have never been to see. My excuse was that it was always expensive, however after looking we saw it was only £10 to get to walk around the cathedral and the gardens so we gave it a shot. Honestly, the gardens were so beautiful I couldn’t have cared less that I didn’t get to see the inside of the castle! So if you’re ever in Sussex and have £10 to spare, take a look around the gardens. If you have more money to spare, there are different levels of entry as to what parts of the castle you can access, each with a different price tag, so go and take a look!

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Of course a holiday to the UK is never complete without a visit to London, so about halfway through her 10 day stay, we took the train up to London. We only had a day so we didn’t get to see everything (gives her an excuse to come again, really!), but we got to ride the London Eye. Another thing I’ve never bothered to do until Aubrey came along. We also went on a Thames river cruise, went to look at Buckingham Palace, and walked around Westminster.

Thing is when Aubrey came over, it had been mere days since the Brexit vote. And being as clueless as I was, I hadn’t released a protest on the vote had been organised in London on the same very day we decided to go. So guess who literally just stumbled right into the middle of it? Yep. Me. — There was a Jo Cox memorial there, though, which I thought was beautiful and I grabbed a pen to write my own message along with everyone else. It was also awesome to see all the creative signs, and I snapped a photo of a few of them (like the one posted above and the one below).

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However, my time with Aubrey was definitely never going to be complete without going to Cardiff. What brought me and Aubrey together was our love for Doctor Who so going to see the Doctor Who experience was a must. I’ve always wanted to go to this one, but never found the time, so honestly Aubrey coming over gave me a kick up the ass to actually book the tickets and make time for it for one. And honestly, it didn’t disappoint. — The experience itself is actually quite short, so I would recommend planning some other things to do in Cardiff while you’re down there. We’d gone clubbing the night before, and spent the morning wondering around town and having breakfast, so the Doctor Who experiene was our last stop before heading home.

I also took her to Brighton and took her around the famous lanes and other cute, independent stores that really make Brighton what it is, as well as going to some other seaside towns along the Sussex and Hampshire coast. All in all it was a incredibly successful 10 days, and I can’t wait for her to be touristy with me in California whenever I get there!

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The other great news of 2016 is that lumpy (my cancer) hasn’t showed its face again, so my health is still back on track. Well, as much as it will ever be for an ex cancer patient. And since lumpy didn’t show his face, I actually finally got to finish my second year at college successfully, gaining a double Distinction in my media diploma. It was great for my hard work not be to blasted out of the water by an illness this year, and to finally have something to show that proves how hard I’ve worked. — Hopefully just one more year at college and I will finally be able to move on to the next chapter!

So all in all, 2016 has been okay for me, really. There’s been some really bad things, but also some really good things. So honestly I’m just neutral about the year as a whole. I’m not happy about it, but I’m not sad about it either. I’m not eagerly waiting for 2017, but I’m happy to see it on the horizon.

Let’s just hope it’s a year that I will be excited to be alive in.

johanna-montana

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