OK, it kinda is but a) it’s not Christmas anymore and b) because Christmas letters belong firmly in my parent’s generation. So, this, the following ramble, is a list of lists of 2008 and I thought it’s a good idea to write as a quick debrief before I plunge head-first into the unknown entity that is – 2009. If you find it boring, need to cheer, reprimand or insult me or think I’ve missed something – please use the comments box at the end 🙂

So, 2008 was a year in which…

I was told by the doctor the I might die at any moment (with a suspect brain haemorrhage), had my cheek bone cracked by an unknown assailant, lost two or three mobile phones, was accused of taking heroin by a German border guard, spent time in prison in Russia, had my car impounded/stolen by Russian police, was robbed in Lithuania, was interviewed by Hungarian police and during all the above – lost a fortune on the value of my house and then failed to sell it!

On top of this, I didn’t make it to Moscow, I failed to get back to Belarus (this is probably the single most disappointing event of last year) and, as it stands – won’t be getting hitched anytime soon or providing the world with any ‘little Eddies’ …but trust me, this is for the best, for now at least..

However, I DID finish my mission to conquer Europe (Stuey even paid up my £20!), had four different jobs, travelled in 14 different countries, moved to Hungary, spent three months studying European stuff and met many many new, cool, interesting and generally likable people. I’ve lost weight, partied in a nuclear bunker, grown the longest beard I’ve ever had, driven an insane number of miles and tasted more strange food and alcohols than I though possible. This includes Moose meat, smoked pigs ear, fat on bread and the unattractively named Hungarian tipple – Unicum.

Proud owners of this years BBC Radio Oxford, Children in Need calendar, will also know that I had my first picture published in print. See November for details.

I still have my 12 year old trusty wallet.

This year I also learnt that Hungarian is even more of a UFO language than Slovenian, that China is bigger and more complex than I had ever thought, that the staff at the British Embassy in St Petersburg don’t speak English. I learnt that there’s people who I’ll never ever understand and believe it or not – I learnt to listen to the good advice of my friends. Just occasionally they know better than me – especially where I’m involved. Oh, and I also discovered a guy called “Wendle Berry” which is just too cool.

Me aside, the rest of the world seemed to be doing OK in 2008 and infact – it was a serious baby-boom year! At least five of my more fertile friends are either new or soon-to-be parents and a few of them even managed to get married. Congratulations especially go to Paul Miller for bucking the trend of Wendlebury romantic failures and for providing a 100% free bar for the rest of us to get drunk on.

So, overall I declare 2008 a success. Well, at least it wasn’t boring and I didn’t drop dead from a broken brain!

My prediction for 2009 is that, it will be…
probably nothing like I had hoped or planned! In fact, right now I’m not even sure how the next few months are gonna turn out so you’ll have to check back if you want details.

Love and hugs (for the girls) and manly handshakes for the rest of you…

OK, you thought I was gonna forget didn’t you?
I owe a ‘thank you’ the size of this years financial crisis to everyone who hosted and helped me this year on my random adventures. This is especially meant for everyone who looked after us on the trip to Russia but also the rest of you here in the UK and over there in Slovenia and Hungary. Come to Koszeg and I’ll take you for fat-bread and a Unicum.

Posted from: www.bearder.com