This time last year, I escaped from the South of France and headed to Paris for my birthday. A few days of the usual: strolling through the city’s beautiful parks, exploring the Islamic Galleries at the Louvre, Mass at L’église de la Madeleine, and visiting my old haunts for champagne and dessert. I don’t care for material possessions so, in place of a present, I bought myself a ticket to the ballet at the sublime Palais Garnier. An absolutely treat! It only seems like a few months ago.
It’s been quite a year: I travelled to Marrakech to spend a few days with my dearest friend; I fulfilled my dream of visiting the exquisite Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo; I welcomed 2020 in over cocktails in Gondar before celebrating Orthodox Christmas Mass in Lalibela; I travelled to Siberia in the dead of winter, and spent the night camping (first time ever) in the middle of frozen Lake Baikal, no mean feat as it was -27°C!; and I had a few trips to London and Istanbul in between. Plus, plenty of time to just be and think. Relaxing at home, exercising and reading with really good coffee. I may not have been able to continue my private pilates lessons, but I was introduced to FitOn (I share my workouts daily on my IG stories), and I’ve been using it for 105 consecutive days. Staying sane with exercise! Simple pleasures are the best. It seems, courtesy of Covid-19, things will be different going forward.
This year, some of my relationships changed. Some deepened. Others ended. The most unexpected and freeing change has been connecting with my mother like never before. I learnt to listen. Shockingly, so did she! Letting go of things that no longer served our relationship was a major step. Growth where I never expected, or even hoped, has proven to be most enriching and liberating. And my sense of self has become stronger and more intimate. In the darkness of the pandemic, I have been surrounded by light and love, for which I feel eternally grateful. A blessed year (and life). Ready for whatever comes next!