2011

The year started off pretty well. As far as I can remember there was still a lot of snow on the ground or it was just thawing. Either way, unlike now, it was cold and bitter. The way winters ought to be. Certainly not balmy and relatively warm.

With the money that I’d received as gifts I decided to pick up a collector’s edition of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and renewed my subscription. Oh, I’d being playing single player games during 2010 but I’d missed the social aspect of online gaming and it was that along with the newly released expansion (especially in CE format) that persuaded me to pick it back up again and convert one of my existing ‘toons to one of the new races. My original Horde main actually who went by the name of Hellvira.

Other than that, January was pretty standard. Back to work after the holiday with only weekends to look forward to. The highlight of January, however, was the first step in my life long ambition of going to the United States of America and booking a trip to New York in celebration of my 40th. Now that gave me something to look forward to.

January rolled into February and everything was going along smoothly. February became March as is its wont and that’s when the shit hit the fan.

It was about two weeks before the holidays and just after having a meeting at work about our department’s three year plan under a new interim director, myself and a handful of others were told that we were being made redundant because our roles were being transferred to India. And that was that. After 14 years service, as of April, I was no longer required. Happy Birthday and all that.

Yeah.

So 1st April came and I celebrated my 40th birthday. Me! 40! I don’t feel it. What is 40 supposed to feel like? I still feel the same as I did when I was 14. But there I was, being suitably embarrassed by my family in a pub that I usually go to once a month. There were helium balloons courtesy of my sister but it was a great time even despite the news I’d just been hit with. It was a few days after that, that I began my gardening leave. This is where the company pays you but you don’t come into work. You stay at home and lounge about in the garden, hence the term. Given that due to the length of my service, my leave wouldn’t end until the end of June, I now had the next three months to do nothing but line up another job for when my leave ended.

I did have the opportunity to continue to stay at work and move departments for a temporary basis but I’d still be losing my job after that. So the choice was:

a) Stay at home and look for another job at my leisure and basically do what I want and still get paid for three months.
b) Go to work for three months as usual with no extra benefit whilst looking for another job.

Which would you choose? Yup. Option a it was.

However, I essentially took April off because at the end of that month I was finally on a plane to New York! And it was a blast! Specifically, I only went to Manhattan island and I only saw a bit of that but I only had four days and they were filled. Highlights were; American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, Empire State Building (actually wanted to do the Rockefeller but it was foggy the day we were supposed to go), Macy’s, Times Square, Grand Central, World Trade Centre, Staten Island… you get the idea. An amazing place. The only disappointment was the Statue of Liberty. She is TINY! I knew she wasn’t that big but I still expected her to be larger than she actually is. But all good things come to an end and was soon heading home. The unexpected part? I was contacted by a colleague whilst in New York about an agency who would eventually get me my next role.

The end of April and the rest of May saw my job hunt begin in earnest. I wasn’t too concerned about money because I was still being paid and had enough savings to last me until the winter before I need panic. But I was hitting it with everything I had before recruiters started to go on holiday and things got delayed until the autumn. May did have one bright spot. Back in WoW, Hellvira made it as far as 35 all those years ago before I switched to the Alliance and Wai was born. Anyway, six years and a race and name change later and Hellvira, now Sussurai finally hit level cap. Yes, five months to get 50 levels but I only (and still do) play a few hours over the weekends as opposed to the few hours every night.

June is when it started to turn around. June was when I had the interview that I’d been waiting for that had been arranged by the agent I’d been introduced to whilst I was in New York (yay for the digital age and phones that can do e-mail and browse the internet). The interview went well, I thought and it fact it did. I got a job offer and would start at the beginning of July. The rest of June then just became a true holiday. I got up late, did nothing and just relaxed. In part because I could but also because I knew I wouldn’t be getting any other time during the summer like I had been doing.

And then it became July and the start of my new and current job. July, August and September went by with all the usual settling in, getting to know people (still don’t know everyone there!) and getting used to my new commute.

October saw my first holiday since my New York trip which seemed like it had happened so very long ago, not just a few months back. I decided to treat myself because I still had my redundancy money and 2011 had been somewhat of a crappy year and so rented a house in a marina complex in Dartmouth. Luxury would the correct adjective. And I thought that 2011 had settled down now. I could relax. No more shocks.

Wrong!

Because I’d completed my probation at work, I was now eligible for the cycle to work scheme where I could purchase a bicycle essentially VAT free. So I took advantage of that and got a nice one for £750 at the beginning of November. Unfortunately someone else thought it was nice as well and four days later, arriving back to the station where I’d locked it, found it no longer there. The irony of it? When I got home, the second bike lock that I’d ordered was waiting for me. Fortunately, I’d had the bike insured and so got it replaced.

The other important thing of note was the realisation of a thirty year old dream and that was to get my first tattoo. I now and for the rest of my life have a tribal dragon tattoo on my right thigh.The more observant will note that I said ‘first’. I’ve others planned. November became December far too quickly for my liking and here I am with 2012 a couple of hours away.

The one thing about 2011 is that it was interesting with all those ups and downs and shocks to the system. Let’s not have a repeat.

Hears to 2012. Hopefully it will be a smoother ride. Please?

Happy New Year!

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