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Quick bullet-point summary and why I’m going to Indonesia

Once again it has been forever since I’ve blogged.  I’ve just been uninspired.  No excuses, no big reason, I’ve been running yadda, yadda, yadda – it’s just all been a bit meh.  And I’ve felt a bit meh.  And who wants to read that?  I didn’t even want to write it.

But I love new beginnings and before I can get there – bring on 2012 – I think I need to see out 2012 and just bullet-point some highs before packing it up and archiving it.  As far as I’m concerned, my new year starts Saturday.

  • the Olympics.  Are you kidding me?  It was awesome, wasn’t it?  Being in London for some of it was truly memorable, sharing that experience with my kids and parents and husband and best friend and family – totally unforgettable.
  • my half iron distance race.  I signed up for this race as a huge big crazy challenge, unable to swim competently for 25 metres and with zero biking skills.  A massive learning curve meant a training cycle that was, for me, unprecedented in its ups and downs, but on the day the sun shone (a rare enough occurrence this year) and the gods conspired and it all came together.
  • my triathlon club.  For years I have struggled to find a club I fit in with but over the past year this club has been fantastic.  Not only have I learned to swim with the best swimming coach I’ve ever known of, but I’ve got to know a large number of welcoming people who have helped me with training questions, gone on bike rides with me, helped me with my endless questions about setting up and transitions at races, cheered me on as I raced and recently, taken me on a crazy-ass off-road race which I was totally unprepared for!

    Image
    Caroline, Liz and I looking remarkably clean after our run. You can’t see below the knees in this shot!
  • teaching.  Ooof this is a biggie.  I am still kind of nervous to write this down and make it public but I am enjoying teaching a class.  An exercise class!  This was utterly terrifying to me when it was first proposed but I just held on the feeling that it could not be as bad as I feared it would be.  After a shaky start (no participants turned up on the first night) and a few sessions where I struggled with the format we’ve persevered and now I’m actually looking forward to the sessions and loving it.  Somewhat unbelievable to me but there you go – I think I’m going to carry on doing this thing!
  • returning to running. My trial separation from running worked a treat – I loved it and missed it and was all fired up to go back to it.  In the past few months I’ve been slowly working my way towards (a bit of) speed again and it’s been fantastic and enjoyable.  Minor injuries aside (same old )(*(&*^*&^*T knee stuff that happens to me every time I push myself) I’m well back on the road.
My parents, brother and I (and my beloved cat) in our garden in Bandung, October 1980

And as for my new year starting on Saturday, as some of you may know my husband, children and I are going to Indonesia for 3 weeks on Saturday.  I wasn’t sure whether to post about this – I know this is a tough time for so many people, financially and emotionally at Christmas: do you really want to hear about someone’s great trip?  But I’ve decided I want to explain why this trip is so meaningful to me.  You see, 30 years ago my family (parents, younger brother and I) left Indonesia, where we had lived for 5 years, to return to Holland (where we’re from) and it’s only in recent years that I’ve come to see how much those 5 years influenced my life.  We moved there when I was 6, after 3 years of living in Tanzania and Sri Lanka, and it was the place I came into my own.  Before moving to Bandung, in Indonesia, I had rarely been to school and had spent the vast majority of time with my parents and brother.  In Bandung I started school, I learned English, and I learned to read.  It was like a perfect storm – at 6 years old (and bear this in mind when we nowadays push our kids to perform socially and academically from a much younger age) I took off like a rocket.  I learned to speak English in record time, started a book-reading habit that endures to this day and that has got me through every tough patch I have ever endured, and I made friends and learned to be a social creature.  I truly think that what is good about me and what is me about me started to flower out there.  Once back in Holland, losing English proved a massive loss – I felt like half the person I had been until that point – and much of my teens was spent striving to get out to the English speaking world.  It was not until I went to university in the UK and could express my bilingual self that I flowered again.  I have lived in England for most of my life now and sound like a native.  But I’m not, and I want to show my husband and children where a big part of me comes from.  The smells, the sounds, the heat, the rain, the sun, the volcanoes, the exploding cities and deserted beaches – all of that shaped an important part of me and I cannot wait to share some of that with my family.

So we’re off on a big adventure – just the 4 of us.  I’ll post some pictures on FaceBook and will blog about it when I come back.  I’ll no doubt run out there.  I’m off-schedule – I want to do what I want to do when I’m out there and if it means I can’t train for London for as long as I’d like, so be it.  The London marathon will come round again and this trip won’t.  I can’t wait to see what this trip shakes loose in all of us.

Have a wonderful holiday and a fantastic 2013!

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12 thoughts on “Quick bullet-point summary and why I’m going to Indonesia

  1. Okay, a better comment later since I’m dashing out the door here…this caught my eye though. Gosh Petra, so cool. I am so excited for you with this trip…what a soul kind of a trip. I haven’t read all of this in full but I’ve got it on my list today. Love reading about your heart, your life, and your goals. Makes me feel inspired to just keep being…well, ME. That’s what you do so well…be YOU. Okay, later…thanks for writing Petra.

  2. I am so glad you posted about this trip. As a foreigner in the US, I get it so well. Bringing my family, and especially my son to Romania and sharing it with him was so important for me and for him. This is truly wonderful. You’ve had a great year with lots of changes but you’ve done so well. Have a great trip and tell us all about it:)

  3. O lieverd, wat een fantastisch idee, deze reis. Ik wens jullie een onvergetelijk mooie ervaring. Drie weken, wowie. Ik zal veel aan jullie denken! Knuffel.

  4. Hey Sweet Girl..
    I’ve been thinking about you so much the past week, like I sincerely missed you and you’ve been on my mind. I totally forgot you were going to Indonesia; I know you mentioned it to me awhile ago. I’ve been so absentminded lately, so sorry. I hope you have a wonderful time on your roots tour, oh what an experience and adventure this is going to be. Will be thinking of you this holiday season and still planning on our paths crossing – TOGETHER – in 2013 on the trails somewhere! 🙂

    Love ya bunches!!
    xxoo

  5. Petra, you are such an inspirational soul !! Have a truly wonderful trip. It will be one to remember for the whole family. Thank you for getting me off the starting blocks with my blog and also my cooking. Yes, I agree, 2013 – BRING IT ON !!

  6. Have a great time with your family. I have only been to small teeny tiny islands in Indonesia. As a child, living in Singapore shaped me as a person (as a kid). This experience will be awesome for your kids.

    And can’t wait to hear about your runs in Indonesia.

  7. Enjoy your blog Petra, have a great trip and happy new year , wishing good health to you and yours for 2013.
    Best wishes Keith(Irl).

  8. Honey Bunny! I followed your adventures via Facebook and that says A LOT because I’m not a FB girl. You all had SO much fun and I loved seeing your kids with huge smiles on their faces(and your husband as well)! You were glowing in every photo!
    Loved this whole post and look forward to hearing how you “slide” back into life! BIG HUGS!
    meg

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