My previous post detailed some personal aspects of my life that happened in 2017. From discovering potential familial ties in the United Kingdom to being offered a job in Saudi Arabia (still can't believe this), it was an interesting year that felt transitional in a sense. I am very excited to see where the next few years take me, but, as always, it's good to reflect as well. On that note, these are some things that brought me joy in 2017:
SONG: "Redbone" by Childish Gambino. This funk/soul, retro-tinged track feels like the type of song that might not be hugely popular upon release but will hold influence on the culture for years to come.
RUNNER UP: "Praying" by Kesha.
BOOK: "The Vanished: The Evaporated People of Japan in Stories and Photographs" by Léna Mauger and Stéphane Remael. Nearly 100,000 people disappear in Japan each year. This essay chronicles their stories and reasons for becoming a ghost in modern society.
RUNNER UP: "5 Ingredients" by Jamie Oliver. I tried to pick a non-culinary title for this but none of the other books I read this year stood out. In terms of lifestyle, however, my favourite celebrity chef is proving immensely influential as I make some positive changes relating to food. I greatly appreciate the easy, peasy, fresh and healthy recipes using a minimum of ingredients, as well as the simplistic design.
FOOD: This takes me two hours to prepare and cook but my rice stuffed roasted peppers with wild garlic, lemon, jalapeño and lingonberry spiced sole are the best thing I learned how to cook this year. The recipe can be found in the Posh Rice cookbook.
RUNNER UP: I try to balance learning how to make one healthy dish with something that my thighs won't forgive me for. Of those, this peanut butter and raspberry jam cheesecake brownie is the most sinful thing I made this year (especially deadly topped with vanilla bean ice cream). The recipe can be found in the Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky cookbook by Canadian food blogger The Kitchen Magpie.
RUNNER UP: "Sad Affleck"
*After posting, I realized this is from 2016, however, I saw it so many times over the past year that I had to include it. It still makes me laugh. And Ben Affleck still looks like he's questioning his life choices.
MOST SOUND ADVICE I RECEIVED: "Don't lose the good in you to accept the bad in someone else."
RUNNER UP: "Don't ever forget who you are."
EPIC PAUL MAURICE SWEARING FACE:
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: Conversing with a taxi driver enroute from IOM to Douglas and having him emphatically tell me that I am NOT English, I am Manx.
RUNNER UP: Bearing witness to the depth of courage and integrity a loved one has gave me a reminder that, while dark and scary at times, the world still has good in it. If the search seems elusive, be that good. It counts.