Tales from December

This is technically a monthly recap, just not in the way that I used to set up my monthly recaps up until September. That, and it’s decidedly more laid back, a bit random and generally less organised than those old monthly recaps. 😉

So, December! Aka Christmas month! I hope you all have had a lovely Christmas and enjoyed your holidays. I am happy to say that, in general, I have enjoyed my Christmas. ❤️ And this year I got some absolutely lovely presents all around!

But first, let’s talk about things in order.

In terms of university, I had lots and lots of coursework to get done before the holidays! Some were class tests, while all the others were other assessments that needed to be handed in. The ones I am most proud of are definitely my assignments for my Writing for the Media class — I wrote my first ever film script and my first ever documentary script for it! I was a bit scared, as I had never written a script before in my life, but I actually got the hang of it pretty quickly. 😄 I adapted one of my short stories into a short film for the movie script and I feel like I definitely learned a ton, not just in terms of writing a film script itself, but also about how different a prosaic short story is compared to a film — I became very aware of the visual aspect of a film and how characters’ thoughts and internal monologues, which occur often in books (and especially in the type of short stories that I write), have to be shown rather than told, and should be externalised in different ways, mainly actions of the characters. It was so invaluable and I’m glad it helped me get over my fear of writing scripts. My writing lecturer was also thrilled with the story I had written — he said the conflict and the format were perfect, including how I managed to add a few different plot points that related to the main conflict. I was so pleased that he loved the story so much! I have yet to get feedback on the actual script, as I handed it in the week before the final lecture week of December, but no matter the feedback, I am happy with my story and proud of my progress. 🌟

As for everything else, I passed all of the assignments I submitted so far and only have a few more assignments to submit when I come back from the holidays. Only two weeks on Trimester 1 and then we’ll be onto Trimester 2! I am almost halfway through my first year of university already. What a crazy thought! I am actually impressed by the fact that the academic year definitely doesn’t feel like “a drag” — must be because I am enjoying it so much! 💕

In other news, I finally caved in and gave bullet journaling a go! It was a very rudimentary attempt at it, just to wrap my head around the system and in general, see if bullet journaling is something I could do long-term. I think it did help in some aspects of my life — it definitely helped keep track of assignments a bit better! And in general, being able to quickly jot down a random thought and knowing it would be safe in my notebook instead of forgotten at the end of the day really took a mental load off my brain. Usually, I would jot down thoughts in random “notes” scattered across different apps on my phone, but then finding them, or even remembering they existed, was always the hard part. Although very basic and not at all written down in a notebook that was appropriate to bullet journaling (I used a smaller notebook that was not dotted, but rather had really huge spacing between lines, so it always felt a bit like I was wasting precious notebook space), the little bullet journaling that I did did help immensely with keeping notes and thoughts in one place, organising all of my tasks and keeping me focused on what mattered.

I also finished reading The Bullet Journal Method, a book by the inventor of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, that came out recently, to understand exactly the process and philosophy behind the bullet journal. I thought it was going to be a very simple, easy-to-digest, quick read — but actually, it gave me a lot of food for thought! So much so, in fact, that I am going to make some big changes to the blog as soon as I can relax from all the festivities. Basically, thanks to the book, I’ve had a long think about my “goals”, and especially about why I have them in the first place. Needless to say, I realised that some of my goals really do not have strong reasons why I have them and I found myself only really wanting and being able to focus on a few but important goals at this time. The book helped me come to terms with the fact that I was really spreading myself too thin, which was something I had been thinking about for a while now and realised very recently — just a few days before starting the book, in fact. But I finally made these realisations and I really want to act on them now — and I’m going to reshuffle some of the pages of this blog for that purpose, especially the “self-agreements” and “28 by 28” pages.

The author of the bullet journal suggests sticking with the bullet journal for three months as a trial period, so that’s what I have decided to do. However, I’m definitely going to get a notebook that’s more suited for bullet journaling, as my smaller notebook was driving me a bit crazy. 😆 I’ve got my eyes set on an eco-friendly, completely biodegradable, vegan notebook (always thinking about the planet first!) and I’m going to order it sometime this week, as I’d love to set it up just in time for the start of January. I’m not going to do anything too artistic — my bullet journal is going to be simple, minimalist and its focus is definitely going to be its effectiveness rather than its prettiness. I would love to learn some pretty calligraphy in the meantime, though!

Plus, another thing I really, really love about the bullet journal is the fact that it helps me unplug from the internet and the computer for a while! So much of what I do is on my laptop, but I actually really treasure those moments when I can “unplug”, “log off” and just have some time all for myself. I’ve actually enjoyed that a lot during the holiday period and I actually did a lot of reading and even finished some video games that had been on my to-play list for a while! Staying away from social media, and even messaging apps sometimes, is such an amazing detox, and I really feel like I have to have that once in a while, to keep myself healthier. I treasure this time so much that I even took steps to make it as lovely as possible — by choosing a really “cosy corner” of the bedroom to have my bullet journal sessions in and making a Spotify playlist (which I not-so-originally called “BuJo & Chill”) of really lovely, relaxing songs (one of the artists with the most songs is Lullatone, which I talked about in my previous entry) that I can just put on shuffle on my phone and it helps me get lost in the bullet journaling. I love my setup so far! 💖 I’m planning on making a video about my bullet journal when my three months of ‘trial’ are up, just to talk about it and my journaling process — I’m pretty excited about it!

Finally, another important thing that I did before the start of the holidays was applying to an internship that was featured on my university’s career website! I was proud of myself for applying and for writing a strong application (according to the helpful career advisors at the university’s career centre). I loved the sound of the job and it would be absolutely fantastic if I got an interview, so I am crossing my fingers for that these days.

After university ended for the holidays, we’ve basically been spending the whole time at Peter’s house. I didn’t have enough money to go back to Italy, obviously, so I celebrated with Peter’s family — although I did miss spending Christmas in Italy. We organised a Secret Santa with Peter’s entire extended family and I was lucky enough to get given Peter! So I bought him a naked shower bar from Lush (again, an eco-friendly present, which matters to Peter as well) that smells of Lavender, which is his favourite smell. He really liked the present. 💕 My Secret Santa was Peter’s mum and she got me a lovely refillable pen! I can use it to write letters to my penpals and in my bullet journal, so it’s a fantastic gift! 💞 Of course, lots of tasty food was had, as well. In general, it was a lovely way to spend the Christmas holidays.

And now… lists! Because it’s the quickest way to write down all the books I’ve read, all the games I’ve finished and all the presents I received! Since I’ve unplugged from social media and the internet completely while at Peter’s house, it’s given me plenty of free time to read a lot of books and I played a lot of games after I was able to submit the bulk of my assessments. I definitely enjoyed myself because of this!

📚Books: I read Blood, Sweat and Pixels, finishing it in two days. Now I am reading The Shadow Over Innsmouth, I, Robot and Notes on a Nervous Planet. I am also still reading Dune, though I am making slow progress on it — hopefully, once the story properly kicks in, I will devour it quickly. I have enjoyed and am definitely enjoying all of my reads so far, though!

🎮Games: I finished three games this month! The Gardens Between, Oxenfree and Ori and the Blind Forest. I actually 100% completed Ori in just three days and I played Oxenfree twice (planning to replay it a third time to get the last two achievements). They were all fairly short games, but I loved all three of them and finished them, which is what matters! They all seriously tugged at my heartstrings in different ways. I recently started Hollow Knight, though I am finding it pretty hard. I plan on finishing Fable sometime in January and maybe restarting (and finishing this time) Okami. Anyway, I’m having fun with gaming again, which is great.

🎁Presents: I received so many presents this year and they are all so lovely! Firstly, from my ex-flatmate: she got me tapioca pearls, a glass bottle with a cork and a reusable stainless steel straw, both for drinking bubble tea out of! I had been wanting these for a while, because I would like to make my own bubble tea at home! Plus, I want to be a responsible bubble tea drinker. I always hated that bubble tea came with so much plastic — the cups and the straws — which are obviously bad for the planet, even if I always recycled them. This way, even if I want to get bubble tea from somewhere else (there is actually a bubble tea shop in Stirling, lucky me!), I can bring my own bottle and my own straw and it won’t have as much of an impact on the planet. This is super important to me and it makes me really happy that my bubble tea cravings can now be eco-friendly! ❤️

Secondly, from Peter’s mum: she got me a refillable bullet point pen, as mentioned above, for my Secret Santa; then, she got me a mug with a lovely bunny design on it (I love bunnies! 💖), which I immediately fell in love with; a fancy-looking coaster; a small shower gel from the body shop; a set of cards with some lovely cat designs on it for my penpals; and a whopping 500g of loose leaf tea! The latter was actually the only gift idea that Peter passed onto her — since I want to make bubble tea at home, I wanted loose leaf tea for that, and also in general, I’ve been missing the loose leaf tea breakfast blend that this shop in Perth has (they specialise in coffee beans and loose leaf tea). It’s such a lovely blend and I’m glad I can enjoy it again and for a long while! I’m so happy about that!

And finally, from Peter’s dad: he got me some Ahmad loose leaf tea (I know, what a coincidence that I got not one, but two kinds of loose leaf tea?!) and with it an absolutely amazing glass teapot with a strainer! So I can enjoy all of my loose tea and even look at it as it gets made! Honestly, it was such a fantastic gift, I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to go back home to make my first pot of loose leaf tea. 🍵

In general, I absolutely loved all of the presents I received this year. 💖 And the synergy between all of them is just too good! I’ve got cards and a really nice pen for both my penpals and my bullet journaling; I got all the ingredients to make bubble tea at home; and I got even more presents to enjoy my tea with (the new bunny mug, the new teapot and a new coaster)! It’s amazing how they all fit together and complement each other perfectly! Plus, Peter’s grandma gave us some money to split between ourselves and with that extra cash I can finally buy the dotted notebook I’ve been eyeing for bullet journaling! I really couldn’t have received any more perfect presents. 😊💕

Overall, I think December was a lovely month in many ways. Christmas was lovely, being able to finish off most of my assessments and getting halfway through my first year of degree still makes me happy and proud when I think about it, I might get an internship if I’m lucky, I’ve been enjoying my hobbies a lot again… and, for the first time in years, I finally feel good about the new year and what it’s going to bring me. Just, in general, I feel very content. ❤️

This is not going to be my last entry of 2018 — I have another “end of the year” entry that I want to post before the start of 2019. I want to reflect and look back on my year, with its many ups and downs. I haven’t done this in years, as doing it would always make me feel sad and disappointed in myself; but this year is different, I feel. I’ve gone through so many big changes and I feel positive about the future, for the first time in a long time. So I definitely want to write about it. Until then, I will keep on enjoying myself. 💖

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