- Finish placement
This is probably the most important goal for me this year. I came to Barcelona on the 26th of June 2017 and started my placement on the 3rd of July 2017. It has been an absolute rollercoaster ride for both myself and Marty, but even in our darkest of times, we know that we will benefit from it. There have been so many days throughout my time here, that I have desperately wanted to pack my things and go home. That was always the easy option, without bearing in mind the consequences it could have for my future. Each time we were home I wanted to stay and each visitor we had I wanted to go back with them. The days after are always the hardest, trying to adjust back to our routine again. Despite the fact that I have been unlucky with my placement and have had little to no support from my University, I have gained so much from this experience and I will be so proud of myself when I complete it. And although I have counted down every millisecond since we got here, I know that I’ll be emotional on the 30th of March.
- Get a new job
One of the things I’m not looking forward to is applying for jobs. I hated retail and after working in an office for 9 months, I’m pretty sure I would hate it even more. That being said, if I want to be able to live, I will need to start job hunting as soon as I get back. I’m hoping to get a job outside of retail, but if it comes to it, I’ll take what I’m given. Marty will also have to get a new job, which will hopefully be easier for him as he has so much more experience now. It kills me to think that professionally, he has benefitted more than me from being here. I’m not sure how him working full time and me working part time with uni will work, but we will have to make it work. With a new job, I plan on saving up for a new car. This year, I will have had my little Sebastian for 4 years. Despite our on and off relationship, I really don’t know how I will part with him. Probably when I realise how much money he has cost me over the years.
- Look after myself
I discovered at the end of 2017 that I have put on a stone since I got to Barcelona. Although that sounds like a lot, I needed it. I have always been underweight and never had a proper diet. Despite all the pizzas and meals out, my diet is a lot more balanced than it was at home. That being said, I’m not as fit as I used to be. I used to go to the gym twice a week and run once a week, which all stopped when I moved. For both my mental and physical health, I’ll be joining the gym as soon as I get back and maybe even get a personal trainer once Marty and I start working again. I’ll also be continuing with my meal plans, rather than just lifting something out of the freezer and throwing it in the air fryer. Food is cheaper at home and there is a lot more variety than here, so I’m excited to start eating properly when I get back.
I have always wanted to travel. Who doesn’t? In 2017 we travelled to Poland, Italy and all over Costa Brava. This year, we have planned to go to Andorra, Girona and PortAventura before we go home. In May, we are planning to go to Amsterdam, followed by Paris in August/September. You may not know this, but each time I visit a new country or city, I get a key ring. I love adding a new one to my collection and visualising all of the places I’ve visited. I also plan on getting a scratch map for my bedroom wall, so I can scratch off all the places I’ve been to, and encourage myself to do more travelling. I just love experiencing new places and cultures.
- Move out
After moving out and moving country at the same time, Marty and I feel that we just couldn’t move back into our family homes. Although we share with other people here in Barcelona, we have gotten used to the independence and freedom that comes with living away from home. We have managed living on top of each other in a bedroom, so we are so excited to have our own living space. We have both become neat freaks, and every time we go home we find it hard to cope with the clutter that comes with family homes. Marty has agreed to let me decorate it how I like, provided that he can watch football when he wants. Even though I’ll probably visit my family every day, it’s time for me to fly the nest. Honestly, if I hadn’t of moved to Barcelona, I’d probably be living at home until I’m 45.
- Spend more time with friends and family
Although I plan on moving out, I will definitely be spending more time with my loved ones. It’s not that I didn’t before, but I definitely took them for granted. When we first moved here, I spoke to my Mummy more than I did when I was at home. You just don’t realise how much you need them until you’re out fending for yourself in the big bad world. I spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and when my Granny went into hospital in October, I found it very hard to cope. Therefore, it will be a relief to be home and know that I can be there for them when they need me. Ornagh will be 18 this year, so it will be great to get nights out with her like we’ve wanted for so long. I just want to strengthen the bonds I have with the people around me, which will definitely have a positive impact on my mental health.
- Focus on my hobbies
The most upsetting thing about this year will be the end of the blog. It is one of the most valuable things I have gotten out of this experience. It started as a way to get my day in, which then grew to become a part of me. It has given me so much more confidence, improved my writing skills and served as a platform for me to express myself. I never ever thought that it would be as successful as it has been, and that people would look forward to reading it every week. Although I would love to keep it going, my life in Belfast just won’t be anywhere near as interesting as my life in Barcelona. That being said, I will keep all of the posts and use them to reflect on my journey in Barcelona. Aside from writing, my other biggest hobby is makeup. I took a makeup course a few years ago, but I plan on saving some money and taking another one during the year. I don’t plan on becoming a full time MUA, but it would be amazing to improve my skills and maybe start doing some applications for family and friends.
Happy New Year everyone!