Saturday, December 15, 2007

Brief reflection

On the 7th of January, I set some goals which I wanted to achieve. I got 80% through writing this before the rush to get ready for our trip overwhelmed me. Surprising though is the fact that despite blogs on blogspot being inaccessible from China, blogs are still publishable - hence freedom of speech is unhindered, while freedom of information is not!. Anyway, here are the results for the year:

Goal 1. Get a diary and keep to it.

This was mostly done, though I did start to fade during the last few months.

Goal 2. Get my charitable activities in order.

This was done in fits and starts. I sustained my stroke work throughout the year and Noel is great to chat with. One problem has been getting there on time. I'm not the best conversationalist either so we usually do just 30 minutes. I did tree planting twice. The donation side of things was less than I had intended but it is very much in motion. And, if it counts, I donated my time twice to help out AIESEC with facilitation and pretty much donated as much blood as I could do within the guidelines.

Goal 3. Get fit, lose weight.

This was a failure. I've expanded somewhat, especially since Trailwalker. My ankles are still not trustworthy. I have taken up jogging, but haven't gone far. This will be the goal that I'll put more emphasis on next year, but will still be difficult considering my increased workload.

Goal 4. Re-regiment my language learning.

I've had two periods of intense Chinese study throughout the year which have been well worth it. My listening ability and reading capacity have both increased, although my speaking capacity has maintained itself at the same level. This all being said, I have been disappointed with my language ability that I have displayed in China. My writing is a bit of an unknown. Maori was brushed up once, but none of the other languages got a look in. My English knowledge has been deepened though.

Goal 5. Consolidate my business.

This has been an interesting year. I was aiming for an average of 18 hours a week, but only managed 16.5 hours. My biggest week was equivalent to 21.5 hours, and there have been some great periods of work, but the droughts lowered this. I had a slow start, jury duty took out some hours during a ripe period but generally there wasn't enough work. I didn't seek a second client because when the work boomed I didn't think I'd be able to commit to another company, but when both companies lacked work, I'd be helpless. Naturally, recent news will transform the next year. If I can sustain the Wellington project, I'd conservatively estimate a 28 hour average, with a potential for 33 hours on peak weeks. The real possibility of getting someone on board is a little bit of a headache. I have one potential, new client and also more demand in my current clients than I can handle (I got a call yesterday to see if I have room for 3 more students). Well, it is pleasing that after struggling along there is some reward.

On an incidental note, my savings have finally returned to their late 2003 levels (prior to me doing a Diploma of Education, two foreign trips and a year and a bit without any income).

Goal 6. Continue the garden throughout the year.

The garden has kept going even if the veges stopped being produced during the winter. We're back on track with onion, garlic, potatoes, artichoke, beetroot, carrots, mustard, tacai, red cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus and other miscellany growing well. Interesting will be how well they grow in our absence.

Goal 7. Organise things on the homefront.

Well, I've continued to move things from mum's to Xin's. It's getting the last 10 percent that is the most difficult. I do have a more elaborate plan in mind, turning my room desk into an office-proper, thus removing the laptop from the dinner table. But that will be next year's plan.

So that is how the cookie crumbled planwise in 2007. 2008's goals will be vastly different with a new set of challenges in sight.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chickens all here, accounted for, and ready for action