I really thought 2009 would be a huge disappointment based on how good 2008 was. 2008 was a year of working at Birmingham Midshires, where I met loads of great people, had my first photo shoot, started having my hair curly, became a lot more confident and a lot more independent. It was the year I had my first random flight (to Billund, Denmark). So, as you can see, it would be quite hard to compete. 2009 would be my final year of University, which means a stupid amount of work, which eventually leads to no more lie-ins when getting a full time job. I'm not a negative person, but it was looking bleak.
As it turns out, 2009 was a very good year... though it did have its very low points. To review the year.. I'll to it chronologically.
January, as usual was a fairly quiet month. Aside from going to see Most Haunted Live, the only interesting thing was being in our second Dodgeball tournament. The reason this was important was because... omglan became 13th in the UK!!! Don't let that fool you into thinking we were good, by any means. The rest of the time was really spent doing the ridiculously hard Uni work, including the dissertation.
February stayed quite quiet. I was happy that I was able to continue the trend of random Ryanair flights, going to Malaga, in Spain, with Tara. It was fun, but it kind of felt like going back to the 90s. On the last day we decided not to get a taxi to the airport, and try and walk. This led us past what we later found out to be a nudist beach, which, of course, was only used by old men. Got home to more Uni work and more dissertation.
March was when the year really took shape. It started off with a flight to Gdansk, Poland with the guys. A very nice country, and it was great fun. I was finally able to convince Neil to let me go to his Uni in Aberystwyth, after 4 years. The main thing this month was breaking up with Tara after over 4 years of going out. The arguments about drinking, going out with friends, etc etc finally became too much and we mutually ended it. The fact that we were together since we were quite young, meaning neither of us had a proper single life was a massive factor. It was a really difficult time. I didn't doubt the decision at all, it really had to happen. This didn't make it hurt any less.. but for some reason I didn't cry once throughout it.
The main thing that came out of breaking up with Tara was the new relationships I made around this time, through people being there for me, etc. The most notable was starting to talk to Amy again. We worked together a long time ago, but had hardly spoke since. Amy is lovely, and I would call her my best female friend. Della was also there for me a lot, which was good, as she had also fairly recently gone through a big break up. I hadn't seen her as much as I had liked to, so it was good to start going out with her again.
Most of April was spent finishing off the looming dissertation hand in date, and I would be lieing if I said I wasn't thinking of Tara and the break up all through it. As a celebration of finishing my dissertation (which ended as something like 13,000+ words), I went to Stockholm, Sweden with my friends. This was to see Stoff and Niklas, who I met 9 months earlier in Thailand. I love Sweden.
In May I had finally finished University. I was actually really sad about this. I didn't tell anyone, but I saw it as me 'growing up' more, and those who know me may realise I have quite a complex with aging. It is one of the main things that can get to me. However much I hated the final year, the love for lie-ins and doing what I'd like, and being able to book random flights will be missed. The main thing that happened in May was meeting Melissa. She added me on MSN, and we started to speak. We went for a 'date' to see Patrick Wolf. A gig is quite an interesting first date. At this point I was enjoying the single life, and didn't want anything serious. I also had no idea if she liked me, since she wouldn't let me even hug her at first... but it ended with a kiss, which can hopefully only mean good news..?
I carried on seeing Melissa throughout June, aiming to keep it casual, but really started to like her. I was in a bit of a predicament, as one of the main things that stopped me and Tara was that we needed to be single, but it was getting more serious with Melissa. I still wanted to try and keep it casual, and just be 'seeing' each other. A word which was losing meaning.
Part way through June I went to Norway with my friends again. We decided to camp, trying to be more adventurous. This holiday was the birth of Captain Vestman. A superhero which everybody has grown to love. I got back home to receive my results from University. I passed with a 2:1, I was really pleased, as there were times years earlier I doubted whether I could do it. However happy with a result you can be, it is always dampened when you see just how close to the grade above you were.
On the 30th June I had my first proper photoshoot! This was for Centro, advertising student passes. I was amazed at how much they paid, which worked out more than a months wages at the place I was at. Speaking of which, it was shortly after this I 'parted ways' with Elf Software. I won't go much more in to this, but I do think my boss was a great guy, but the reason given for 'ending my contract' by the other person in charge was weak... but most definitely the best move for both me and the company.
In July I was putting off applying for a job. I saw it as my last month of freedom, and didn't want to cut it short. I loved being able to get up when I want. Arrange to see people whenever I want. It was great.
My birthday was great as usual! It was also the birth of my alcohol collection, which is now pretty massive.
I went for a second trip to Stockholm, Sweden (as I said, I love the place). This time it was a more 'authentic' experience. I was greeted by Mike and Stoff, both legends. I spent the week staying on Stoffs sofa, and going to clubs, and house parties. I love Swedish people. They are very friendly and welcoming. I met a lot of great people I still speak to.
When I got home it was time to look for a job. This turned out to be the biggest confidence boost I have had. I applied to 5 or so jobs by way of sending off a CV. I then put the CV on two websites. The following day I received somewhere in the area of 14 phone calls, and 5 emails. This continued over the next few days, until I attended my first interview at Switch Design, where the offered me the job the same day. I took it. The guys that interviewed me were really nice, the company was the sort that seemed well run, and would appreciate ideas. It was perfect! I was hesitant of taking my first offer, but it was the right move. And money isn't the most important thing, it was more money than I originally expected to get, but less than I was later offered (which shocked me, a lot).
August was spent trying to get into the working spirit. I felt really busy all month. I had loads of people I was meant to be meeting, trying to see them after work when I was really tired, it was difficult! Switch was a great place to work though. It was also next door to a gym, which meant I could finally get in shape (about 7 years after I wanted to start).
I was still seeing Melissa, and by now it had became serious and I was calling her my 'girlfriend'. This was quite difficult, as I knew she was leaving to go to University the next month. I have always said a long distance relationship wouldn't work for me.
On the 3rd of September, during my University graduation, my first niece, Eloise, was born. She was really cute.. and the first baby in our family for 4 years! The month on the whole wasn't great. Melissa had moved away to London to live at her University. We were going to try and make it work, but deep down I knew it wouldn't. I thought it was wrong not to give it a try though.
I managed to go on another flight to Dusseldorf, Germany. We went out clubbing for the first time abroad. One of the places refused me because my hair - how humorously offensive!
Melissa had been living away for a week, and I think we probably both realised in that week that we loved each other, and it wasn't going to work. For this reason, joined with her missing her family, and not enjoying the University, she moved back. Coincidently, on the date of our third dodgeball tournament.
Savannah, my second niece, was born on the 1st October. Like Eloise, she was tiny and cute. The rest of the month went past quickly, with me still working full time and seeing Melissa. I was still trying to maintain a friendship with Tara, which has been going quite well. At times I had felt sad that we weren't as close as we used to be, which obviously would happen, but I am glad we could still see each other, without it being weird.
In November I got my first ever proper injury! I will be honest, it was all my fault. I tried a dirty tackle on someone, which ended in me cracking my meniscus, and tearing my medial ligament. Nice. Later in the month me and Melissa went on holiday to Rome. It had many nice historical sites to limp around and see, but I found the Italians to be less than friendly.
The main thing in November is my first (well second, but first proper) front cover photo shoot for a magazine. It was great. I had antlers for it, and scary makeup. It was for SixtyNine magazine. A fashion/style magazine I hadn't heard of before, but since I have seen it everywhere, which is really weird!
December is always a good month. I always get excited about Christmas. It is also a chance to review the year. My friendship with Amy had continued to improve, I was seeing Melissa almost every day, I still saw Tara regularly, went out with Della whenever I could, work was great... all was good.
Christmas was great. I was a bit sad that we didn't manage to play a proper family game, we managed to play for a short time on Christmas eve, but I will make sure we will at some point soon. Melissa got me an amazing clay model of me in my trademark vest! New Years was spent at a house party at Leighs. I made cocktails.
That is about it for the year! I hope next year continues to improve.