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2018: Thank You, Next

“There are moments that the words don’t reach”

– Hamilton

2018 included some of the most pivotal, big girl moves alongside my least favourite thing; uncertainty. Whether that be through internships or England’s world cup penality shoot out, I could not have predicted the way this year turned out (except Harry Kane messing up England’s chances of winning the world cup…coygs)

The year started off watching the London eye fireworks at Primrose Hill again, except unlike 2017 where we showed up 2 hours early, this year we arrived during the 10 second countdown! And that, right there, sums up my year and my change in attitude!

At the start of the year I visited Edinburgh for the first time with my cousin/best friend. It was our first holiday just the two of us without our families and we had laugh after laugh. From impersonating statues in museums, visiting just about every cute cafe and sharing a single bed in Travelodge, it was a trip to remember.

Shortly, after this break I returned back to my first year of university, which involved stress eating cheese, bin juice, G-Daddy accounts, Vine night and so many laughs. One of my top ten favourite moments was when it snowed and we went sledging in the park…on a baking tray. (Yes I proceeded to cook my fish fingers on the same tray that evening!). It really is true when people say that university is the best time of your life and there is no other experience that can compare. Later on in the year, we started ‘Marketing Society’ which involved zero marketing and more lap dances, nights out and mini golf. We expanded our friendship group and our alcohol tolerance and had some of the funniest stories from drinking games, to ‘morning yoga’. Now, in my second year, I am living with two of my best friends and have happily escaped the washing up pile from halls. The society failed pretty dramatically, but our friendship remained and lead to a fair bit of drama to tell the grandkids, and a broken fridge… . Academically though, this year has been way more creative and enjoyable for me, and I am so glad that I have stuck with my course.

Summer 2018 was one to remember for both the right and unfortunately many wrong reasons. My incredible mum has battled cancer since the age of 34 and has undergone around 10 separate treatments over the last 10 years. Unfortunately, this summer followed the trend of the previous, and she was told this time she would need back surgery to remove the cancer. Alongside, this my grandpa was also diagnosed with cancer at the same time. Although we had to cancel our holiday due to risk of flying, my mum made it to an Ed Sheeran concert, an incredible week in Dorset and my brother’s graduation. Although it was personally a rough summer, for England it was one to remember. Being in Dorset for the hottest summer in history, and watching England’s success in the local bar, was a switch up for this London girl. Watching the nation come together and pouring pints over one another was like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and although football didn’t quite come home, home was brought together by football. Following this success, I proudly watched my brother walk the stage in a cap and gown and graduate as a paramedic and he is killing it (not literally!)

The following day was my mums surgery and it’s safe to say that everyone, including the doctors, went into this too naively. My mum being my mum, went to an exercise class the morning of her surgery, which perfectly describes her inspiring personality. The predicted 5 hour operation, ended up being 15 hours, as her cancer had spread a lot more than anticipated and closer to her spinal cord. The first phone call to us was that she couldn’t feel her legs and was not doing well. The thoughts that crossed my mind were unbearable as I had the realisation that my mum may never see me graduate, or get my first proper job, or meet my future husband or help me choose my wedding dress and the list goes on. However, what I believe was through the power of prayer, perseverance, incredible staff and my families strength, my mum slowly regained movement in her legs. After more than three weeks in hospital, and just about every other problem confronting our family, my mum came home on a zimmer frame and the baton was handed to me to play nurse. My summer was consumed by looking after my mum, helping her walk, eat, put a back brace on, take medicine ect. Going back to my second year of university, with my mum so disabled still was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, especially as it was the first time I was able to reflect on everything that happened. During the first few weeks back, my mum made slow but miraculous progress all whilst having more cancer treatment and breaking her foot… I cannot put into words how grateful I am for my mum’s health as she continues to inspire me, whether that be through going to the gym with her foot in a boot, or strutting round the shops! My family are so aware of how different it could have been and we couldn’t have gone through it without the support of each other or our friends, to who I will forever be in debt to.

This year was definitely like a rollercoaster, more specifically the Tower of Terror with the amount of fluctuation, but probably my proudest achievement to date was receiving a years internship at L’Oréal, starting next year. This was a huge achievement for myself, my family and my university as it means so much to everyone in a different way and I was so excited to share my success with my mum especially.

To conclude, I am genuinely grateful for every moment of the year as I’ve fully seen God’s long term plan for me in each hardship that has been faced. I’ve realised that I’m pretty strong for a 5’3, 7st10, nighteen year old and no matter what the ‘trend’ is for others around me, I’ve continued to follow my own path and received nothing but benefits for it. I cannot wait to see what is to come in 2019 and I’m definitely ready to open a few new chapters.

Always got your back,

Gin xxxx

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