It’s been a year already…

Ever since I moved to Swansea, I guess I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon and have been posting here only once a year (approx), which is sad really. Because so much has happened since we moved here and I could have kept the record of all the stories behind it if only I took some time to post about it. Here is hoping to do more in the new year.

2021 hasn’t been any different to 2020 to most and I am not going to add to the doom and gloom of it because we have had enough of that. I have kept myself busy with my post-graduate certificate course in higher education, started training in yoga (online), prepared two new courses when I had a break for a term, visited a few places (safely and within the permitted guidelines) etc. etc.

Now coming to the end of this year, I have successfully completed my PGCE and am now a qualified yoga teacher. I have already started teaching yoga to a couple of my friends and have been doing so for the past few months (online, of course). I recently finished writing all about my travels on my other blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed travelling in and around Swansea and making sure we take breaks whenever we can and as safely as we can. Neither of us is getting any younger but the year-long training of yoga has kept us in good shape. I should say that I have never been better, health-wise, than now and may long it continue. I have also never written so many essays in my life. This year has seen me write so many essays (both for my PGCE and for my yoga training). I think that is why I didn’t feel the need to write anymore in any blog. People are surprised when I tell them about the essays in yoga teacher training. Those essays have enabled me to read various classical texts on yoga and have given me a lot of things to think about and reflect on. It also reiterates the fact that yoga is an all-encompassing thing, a way of life, not just a physical exercise.

I have also witnessed a few heartbreaks, a few disappointments, a few sad events, but who doesn’t. It is part of life and growing up, I think. Just recently my nephew had a breakdown because he wasn’t happy with his Christmas present 😀 and he thought that Santa could have done better. I had to tell him that his message to Santa about his gift was very ambiguous and in future, he would do well to remember that ambiguity would lead to heartbreaks and he better make it super clear as to what he wants.

At work, after being together for almost three years, slowly things started to change as and when folks moved on to better prospects and I ended up finally identifying who my friends are and who are just acquaintances and I am glad for my friend’s circle, which is very small but very good. I also had a good term recently where a very difficult module was totally redesigned and there were no tears. That is a huge success in my book. Even though I wasn’t super happy about going back to face to face teaching this autumn term, we did it and touch wood, no one got ill during the term. We maintained social distancing, face masks, letting people learn from home when they had any slight symptoms etc. What the next term is gonna be is anyone’s guess at the moment. All I know is I am ready for both online and in-person teaching and I have managed to keep the learning experiences similar-ish either way.

Another year without any choir to attend (not even an online one like last year) which is sad, but at least we were able to visit a few churches and see their nativity displays and enjoy a couple of Christmas markets. This is the first holiday where I haven’t been working or even thinking of work. All I have been doing is relaxing, doing odds bits and pieces that needed to be done at home, doing my regular yoga, and finishing some last-minute books for this year (according to GoodReads, I have read 130 books this year, which is quite good) etc. Just chilling out really.

To top it all, I have finally been offered a teaching job back in India in my hometown which I would be started during the next academic year (Indian academic year). That means that we will be relocating to India next year, which is going to be very exciting more for Mr M than me, as it would be like going home after a very long break I guess. The move might not be as smooth as it was when I moved to the UK as it was just me then and this time we are moving as a family. There will be so many things to sort out and on top of it I would have to start my work without much break, but I guess I deal better when I have things to do and Mr M is more than capable of dealing with the admin stuff anyway. My nieces and nephew are quite excited about my move back and are looking forward to it very eagerly.

This virus is not going to go away any time soon. It is in their nature to mutate and spread and then mutate some more and spread again. It is their cycle of life, just like we have ours. Having seen the worse of it in 2020 and then some in 2021, all we can ever try and do is be safe ourselves and ensure that we protect our near and dear ones as much as we can within capacity. Some things are beyond our capacity and control especially, how the governments behave during such a crisis (I am trying hard to not get political here), but we should do what is within our control and capacity and get through this together. I am getting my booster jab today and Mr M has already had his a couple of weeks ago. Here’s to hoping that these boosters help along with some common sense.

Looking back, this year has been jam-packed with loads of learning and travelling and the new year is starting with new opportunities and new experiences. Let’s hope and pray that it is all for the best.

May this New Year bring with it hope, health, and happiness to all of you. Keep smiling and keep spreading joy wherever and whenever you can. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! Happy New Year! 

Looking forward…

I had to give up my swimming lessons in January 2020 when everything exploded and I can feel my fear of water dampening my soul,

but I am looking forward to the fact that I can pick up from where I left off in the future or even re-learn to conquer my fears.

I had to spend almost twice the hours doing that one thing I always hated, which is to record my voice (for my lessons),

but I am looking forward to doing the same but with acceptance of the fact that I, at least, have to listen to it only once (to check if it is ok) but it’s worse for my students 😉.

I had a mini breakdown for the first time in my teaching in the Uni when some feedback from the students became too personal to be accepted as constructive criticism,

but I am looking forward to looking at them again for the next semester and continue my work with the same passion and hoping that one day they might get my jokes and my sarcastic comments 😉.

I was amazed at how the youngsters took to the digital form of living (virtual schools, workshops, remote catch ups) etc. so easily with so many tools (Zoom, Teams, Meet etc.),

and I am looking forward for the elders to catch up with them and prove that they can mute their Zoom sessions without having to search for the button every single time.

I hadn’t traveled this year as much as I would have loved to, not just to my home country but also within the UK (except for one small one that we did in August),

but I am looking forward to exploring my city’s nooks and corners more and find those hidden gems and rubble.

I had the pleasure of indulging in my friend’s baked goodies which he experimented every week the bake off was on,

and I am looking forward to enjoying more of his baked goodies even when the bake off is off and also encourage other friends of mine who are good at baking to experiment to their hearts pleasure as I am only too glad to be their guinea pig ;).

I had to finally give up on my resolve never to buy a weighing scale as I was afraid that I would be only too obsessed with it and would end up measuring my weight every other day,

but I am looking forward to using it wisely to ensure I balance myself well on baked goodies and healthy meals.

I had been trying very hard to encourage Mr M to switch to the digital medium of books (aka using kindle) and buy only paperbacks for those which we might need forever,

and I am looking forward to buying him one as he finally came around to it close to Christmas. It is only wise to invest in it as he devours as many books as I do and we are running out of space in our home.

It is easy to look back and worry at how and what causes this shake up, feel angry at all things said and done, feel annoyed at people for their ignorance and stupidity,

but I think controlling what I can, taking pleasure in small things and small moments, being grateful and happy for the lovely people in my life, and hoping for the best in the future by doing the best I can to be part of it is the only way forward.

Wishing you all a Very Happy, Peaceful, Healthy New Year.

To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep stepping - Chinese Proverb.

What a year!

This year has been a rollercoaster of sorts, hasn’t it? Never would I have thought that it would have so much packed in one year.

A friend of mine wants a refund on this year 😀 I don’t blame him. It has not been smooth sailing.

We were supposed to travel to India in April which was put on hold for a month without having any clue as to whether we would even get a refund or a credit note for the flight tickets we had paid for six months ahead of our travel date. We got our credit note finally after 3 months of our travel date. Now we don’t know if we will be in a position to use it before the deadline which is next year May. One can only hope.

The decision to move our teaching online which threw a spanner in the works making us work 8 hours per day just creating the necessary materials and videos for our delivery. I almost lost my voice doing those and then delivering the lectures as usual over online platforms. It was a double whammy, but at least the students were happy and we did very well with our third semester where everything was completely online.

I have had the experience of Working From Home (WFH) during my days working as software engineer, so the switch was quite easy for me and I found myself being very productive too. We also delivered three weeks of summer school online which concluded recently and it was also a huge success. Never would I have thought that I will be teaching a 100+ kids on Zoom about the basics of wireless networks 🙂

Mr M who has never worked from home absolutely loves it now. He would be a very happy person if he has to never set foot in his office again 😀 He loves his work, but he loves working from home more than working from office.

We did the whole bake during lockdown thing too, not as much as others seemed to do it. We couldn’t get enough flour to start with during the peak lockdown time. We also didn’t understand the whole toilet roll drama that happened. But at least we now know what people’s priorities are in case of any calamities or disasters.

We kept ourselves busy by going for regular walks around the block, trying my hand at Bingo for a Cancer charity (where I won a round too! yay!!!), have Zoom calls with friends, what not! We have managed to work well with each other in the same room without having the urge to kill each other 😉 and keeping clear of each other during the Zoom sessions (we have witnessed enough Zoom video disasters).

After working non-stop (Mr M had his three month break where he was furloughed), I took a week off and we decided to go on a mini trip in and around Swansea. We decided to do the St Thomas Way tour/pilgrimage. It was a much needed break and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Things elsewhere has not been going good has it?, the wide spread of the virus in India where my parents, siblings, and friends are, the wide spread fires and riots close to where my friends are in the US, the politicisation of the epidemic, the stupidity of the people who party as if there is no tomorrow, the sheer lack of common sense… I should say we are lucky to be in good health doing what we like to do (touch wood) and may it continue. But it is also important to realise that we can never go back to what was “normal” for us all. A new “normal” is going to take time and it is OK to have a new normal. This is one of the changes that we didn’t want but cannot ignore. We might as well wisen up and learn to adapt. We have done so for so many ages, so why not now? It is going to be hard and there will be people who will take advantage of it, but those are the ones who have always put their own prosperity before the general goodness anyway. That has never changed. What we can do is take care of our own in our own small way and hope for the best.

Stay safe and Keep smiling 🙂

Snowdonia Murder Mysteries

We did a North Wales tour last year and it was brilliant. The places are so gorgeous and beautiful. We did not cover the whole of it, but enough to know the various places when someone mentions it. I stumbled upon this Snowdonia Murder Mystery series by Simon McCleave. They were available on Kindle Unlimited and I managed to rent all the three available books and finished them one after the other.

All three of them get 4/5 stars from me. They were very good. I enjoyed the pace, the description of places, the characters (most of them flawed), the speed of the narrative etc. It was very enjoyable during these trying times. Since I could picture most of the places mentioned, it helped me imagine the whole flow very easily.

Also, for Agatha Christie fans, I recently found a few books available on Kindle Unlimited. I read “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” recently and I have got “Murder on the Orient Express” next. I am very much enjoying reading these fictions now more than ever.

Happy New Year

May the angel of happiness and cheer guide us gently through the New Year.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and cheerful New Year.