Apparently it's been well over a year since I last posted. I can't really get my head around that. Time is flying by.
Last time I posted, I was just about to go off on another adventure. I had six weeks in South East Asia, taking in six countries and a lot of cocktails. It was the most amazing time, and every day was new and exciting. We saw Angkor Wat, rode elephants, went on a boat ride down the Mekong, swam in waterfalls, took afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental, went kayaking down the river, visited a water park on a private resort island, had beachfront seafood barbecues, and did I mention drank a lot of cocktails? Some of my favourite photos from the trip are here
in a photo book I put together.
Off the back of that trip I was brought onto a project working with a charity that sends volunteer teaching assistants into schools in the region. I stayed with the woman who runs the charity in Singapore (she has a beautiful apartment) and was supposed to be going back out there to do a full term of volunteering. Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately, I took issue with the way that most volunteer teaching organisations in the region are run - and hers was not immune - and put together a research project on the impact of voluntourism on host communities (I live an exciting life). This meant that we changed the way we were going to run the organisation, and although it's in a bit of a lull at the moment, we are planning to make it into a recruitment and training organisation that promotes ethical volunteering and aims to raise standards in Cambodian charity-run schools. Well, those are my lofty ideals, we'll see how it comes off.
From there it was back to the job hunt in earnest, and a sudden upswing in the availability of jobs in my area and a polish of my CV saw me go to 12 interviews in two months. I got declined from all of them, but then one changed their mind so I am now gainfully employed. I work in a call centre for a short term loan company, and I absolutely love it. It sounds a lot like I'm being groomed for promotion, but I have to stay in my current post for another 8 months before applying, or I'll have to go through my probation again, and I'm not even out of the first one yet.
Thanks to being employed, I'm also in the process of buying a house. That's proving frustrating, because we've having to chase our solicitors constantly to get updates (like calling them in October to find out they had no record of the request I made in September, only for them to find the email where the information I requested had been waiting for them to pass it on to me for 3 weeks). My seller is a moron, too, but as he's just been hit with the charge for getting hold of one of the certificates he said didn't exist, he might now pull his finger out and provide what I've asked for. Once he does, and we are just waiting on confirmation that the house has never flooded and that the boiler has been serviced, we can proceed with the purchase and I can pay someone quite a lot of money to damp proof it properly and put my lovely whirlpool bath in.
£120 in a junk shop, so even if it needs repairing it's a bargain.
So the good news (apart from everything, because it's all awesome) is that I will soon have a spare bedroom, and I will be open for couch surfers and other visitors. Just so you know, though, if you do want to visit and do so early on, I may not have things like dining chairs... I do have a very shiny food mixer, though :D