Happy 2023

It’s been ages since I posted. Not because I haven’t done anything. This is partly because I have been quite caught up in just living life in Bulgaria and beyond. My first new year’s resolution then is to get back to regular updates on this blog, as a healthy and somewhat more reflective alternative to the usual social media platforms with all their algorithmic noise.

2022 – where did you go to my lovely?

It was one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it years. Not when it comes to new developments on the global stage: Ukraine, Russia, China’s Covid policy that suddenly got dropped like a hot potato. On a personal level however it was a strangely uneventful year. What happened in the last 365 days?

I settled in Bulgaria and travelled around Europe. I saw friends and family but also kept a close eye on China. My beloved cat Ding Ding passed away and I was briefly in love – for the first time in years. I enjoyed my steady remote job with lovely colleagues. It allowed me enough time and headspace for all of the aforementioned.

I sorted out all the admin around life in Bulgaria – my company, national health care, tax etc. Boring stuff but I like to do everything by the books. A trip to Greece made me fall in love with the country but I cannot face another language and new red tape to tackle around residency and company setup so my base will remain in Bulgaria.

The train was my favorite mode of travel – most recently the four-day trip from Plovdiv to Amsterdam. I miss the excellent network of fast trains in China, where I could have done the similar distance from Kunming to Shanghai in 12 hours.

I visited some interesting architectural initiatives. The Buzludzha Project festival and a grassroots restoration endeavour in a small village not too far from Plovdiv. Bulgaria doesn’t have much support available so it’s amazing to see what gets done with little money but a lot of heart and energy for the cause.

I’ve reached out to some cultural producers and had ideas for events similar to what I was doing in Yunnan. As the year progressed I lost momentum and motivation. I’m a new face in Bulgaria – compare this to Yunnan where I started my freelance event production after having built a name and a network through previous work and personal initiatives.

Ambivert insights

Throughout the year the notion that I’m less of an extravert than I thought I was solidified, and I slowly gave up on the idea of wanting to build a name, events, community. I have been enjoying working by myself from home a lot. Being invisible and working in silence is incredibly nice after having been quite a public person for a few years. I’m still searching for the perfect balance between extraversion and introversion in work and personal life but feel that I’m quite close to an ideal mix, with lovely remote colleagues and friends who work in a similar way.

2023 – what’s in store?

What I didn’t do in 2022 was find my mountain village house and pick up more work – goals to achieve in 2023.

Just before I travelled to the Netherlands for Christmas a friend took me to see my dream village. It’s an hour away from Plovdiv. and the name will have to remain a secret for now. The perfect silence, the comfortable darkness and the cold fresh air all reminded me of my old life in Heyang and I fell in love on the spot. So, the hunt is on for that elusive traditional stone Rhodopi mountain village home to renovate and live happily ever after. Here, I will want to host artists, friends, cyclists and share stories, food, tea, time in nature and silence. The Artist-in-Residency that I was developing in Dali will hopefully – finally – find fruition here.

I’m applying for more work. There will likely be less travel in 2023 as I plan to work a lot more to make this dream house a reality.

A new cat will be welcome in the new year too – working from home is much more fun with a purring companion on your lap.

What will continue in 2023 is my daily morning ritual – Chinese tea ceremony and writing. I am also continuing to enjoy the deeper clarity and focus that prolonged sobriety brings. Here is to a fresh new year with many more conscious adventures – in work, love, travel and as always, living a life rich in experiences.

See you in the happy new year

I wish you a happy and healthy and peaceful 2023. I look forward to sharing some moments, thoughts and experiences with you in the year ahead.

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