Goodbye 2019

December 28, 2019

It's the phrase that's on everyone's lips - where has the last year gone? With Christmas Day over, and meals of leftover turkey awaiting me over the next few days, I thought I'd breathe some life back into my blog with a post reflecting on the last year and all the changes that have come with it.

A good few months ago, I shared a post on how I was coping with life outside of education. I'll admit, things have been a bit rough. I'm still constantly facing emails with news of rejections (or often no email response at all), which is something I'll be tackling in another blog post in the near future. But I've managed to bag myself a job as an archaeologist and I feel like my life is getting somewhat on track. SO I thought it might be nice to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate, toes getting cosy under a blanket and reflect on the past year before another digit is added on.

I started off the year, in my job at the Yacht, working as a Visitor Assistant and starting to lead tours of my own. I loved this job. The team I worked with were amazing, the company was pretty great and I got to do one of the things I'm good at - talking with people, and sharing some history and heritage. On the surface, this job was 'just' a visitor assistant role, but I found the more I put into the role - the more I got out of it (as cliche as that sounds). I challenged myself and began leading tours of the yacht, so I continually pushed myself to learn more facts and history to share, and I found leading groups of 20 or so folk to be not nearly as terrifying as I initially thought it would be. I also tried to widen my knowledge on the city of Edinburgh, learning more about its history (lots of which I shared in this blog post) - so that I could chat and recommend things to visitors. When I put in my notice, I knew I was ready to move on but I did shed many tears saying goodbye to the kilt and waistcoat, and my co-workers. The job taught me a lot - not only about working life and work ethic - but it helped me to identify an area I want to take my career into, which is Heritage Tourism.

I worked my last shift at the Yacht just days before jetting off to Naples, to take part in The Apolline Project and The University of Edinburgh's dig at Aeclanum. If you know me, or you've followed me for a while then you know that I've been digging with the Apolline Project for 5 summers now, so it was no surprise to see me packing up my trusty rucksack and taking the familiar 6am flight to Naples. This summer felt pretty special. Lots of returners came back, bringing with them new faces who fit into into the group seamlessly. My trench was incredible - it was my first year moving away from the Bath Complex, and into what is believed to be a residential area - and it turned out to have some really interesting and well preserved archaeology waiting for us. As well as digging some really cool archaeology, I built new friendships, strengthened old ones and even bagged myself a relationship by the end of the summer. And to end another incredible dig season, I managed to convince my family to fly out to Naples to show them some of my favourite places (highlights including Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius, although it did lack a visit to Aeclanum itself, which I'm totally not salty about). A full itinerary is currently in the works, even though looking at pictures of sunshine and blue skies is a little painful while I'm cranking up the heating another notch.

After my couple of months in the sunshine of Naples ended, I returned to Edinburgh to enjoy the fringe and finally get time in mine and Eleanor's new flat. We'd spent almost 9 months living in a spacious flat Murrayfield way, where we'd gotten into the swing of living with each other, buying too many bottles of wine, and demolishing many many packets of sweets and chocolates. As much as I loved the flat down at Western Gardens, we decided it was too far out of the city, and wanted to find a spot that's a bit more central. Enter our new flat at Haymarket. In May we spent a weekend getting familiar with a 'man with a van' who moved our belongings two stairs at a time between flats, and got ourselves elbow deep in cleaning products ('the pink stuff' is a thing of dreams - the answer to all my greasy cooker, stained bathroom and marks on the floor problems). Our new flat is a happy wee place, with less room and too little cupboard space, but what it lacks in floor space is made up for with access to a pool, gym and sauna. All this in the centre of Edinburgh for LESS than what we were paying for before? yes please.

August in Edinburgh is always fun, if not a little manic. The fringe hit the city and I found myself at many - a beer garden and sampling some of the fringe's comedy quite regularly. It also gave me time to navigate my new relationship back at home, and by the end of August, James and I had become official. So while we enjoyed the last of the summer sun, we went on lots of wee adventures down to Cramond and North Berwick, before September brought with it uni for James, and working life for me.

This year, I landed a job in Archaeology. My career path seems to be dodging and diving around where I want to be, exactly, but I've managed to swing it back in the direction of Archaeology which I'm happy about. I'm now working as a commercial archaeologist, which means I'm part of the construction process before developments go ahead. While the job entails being away from home a lot - I'm currently working at a site up in St. Andrews area Monday - Friday - and we can be working in any conditions like hail, sleet and rain, I'm enjoying getting my hands dirty and working in the archaeology field. I've also met some incredible folk along the way, who not only inspire me as an archaeologist, but also like to geek out over archaeology and enjoy a drink at the end of the day.

Last month, I turned 24. Something which excites me and scares me. I think that this is the first year I don't actually want to add another number to my age. This birthday has brought me firmly into my mid-twenties, and this brings so many conflicted feelings with it. Now, being in my 'mid' twenties seems to have triggered a quarter life crisis for me, and I feel a lot less prepared or successful than I had previously imagined my life to be at 24. But I know I did a lot of growing up during the past year. It's been my first year out of education, and my first full year as a working gal.

SO. What will 2020 bring? Who knows? I've not set out hard fast goals as of yet. I know that I want to progress in my career - I'm currently applying to jobs that I would absolutely love in the heritage sector, and I've been working on some side projects that I hope to continue develop in the New Year. Aside from this, I hope 2020 will continue to bring with it fun and adventures - hitting off some more heritage sites off of my Wishlist and if a trip or two could be squeezed in, then I would be extremely happy.

What are your 2020 goals? Are you preparing for the New Year with resolutions and goals, or do you prefer to reflect on the past year, like me?


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