One year passed.
Lots of things happened in my life.
This is an attempt to collect it all into one small blog entry. We'll see if it works.
Ok. So. The first day of 2007 I woke up in a hotel room in Malaysia. I remember being a bit surprised by the fact that I was in Malaysia since I only got there the day before. Me and Josefine (whom I was travelling with at the moment) had decided to go to Langkawi to celebrate New Years instead of staying in Thailand. The first meal of the day was in a lousy restaurant close to the beach at Langkawi and as it turns out, it was the worst meal of 2007. Perhaps the worst meal I've ever had as well.
Anyway. From Langkawi, Malaysia we continued south through Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur and from there I catched a flight to Cambodia. Cambodia was one of the most beautiful countries I've seen - the culture, the people, the food and the kindness - but at the same time the poorest and hardest countries I've seen as well. Vietnam turned out to be an even bigger shock in many ways, with millions of people crammed into huge cities and a countryside where I got to see the reality of poor farmers and their everyday life - struggling to get by every day. Hanoi and the week-long trip from there through northern Vietnam on local buses is one of the strongest memories from the whole trip, but visiting the marvellous Halong Bay together with what turned out to become close friends was also very nice.
After Vietnam I took a two weeks vacation from travelling more or less - I settled into the Laos slow way of thinking and acting, always with a smile on my lips. And after some crazy tubing in Vang Vieng I was ready to go down to Bangkok and then north up into China.
China also turned out to be more than I'd hoped for. Hong Kong was simply amazing, with hundreds and hundreds of skyscrapers reaching for the stars. The rest of China was very amazing - the difference between beautiful landscapes and huge cities, western and eastern living, locals and expats. The list could be made long. China was really the country of mixed impressions.
If China was the country of mized impressions, Mongolia turned into a single long-lasting strong impression that is still with me every day. By traveling around in a jeep in the Gobi for almost a week together with amazing friends and staying with nomads in their gers (tents) every night I got a chance of seeing a lifestyle and a country in a way I've never seen it before (and may very well never get the chance to see it again).
After returning back to Sweden on a train through Russia, which was a nice ending to four amazing months in Asia, I had some troubles settling into the normal everyday life- and work cycle. However, starting a new job (same employer, new client) was very exciting and it feels very good to have been able to stay there since. I really like the place I'm at right now with great colleagues, interesting and challenging tasks and a chance to become really good at what you do.
I also met Hanna when I got back to Sweden for the first time and that was very nice indeed. After meeting her only a few times I mailed my boss to get some extra tickets to a carneval in town - SOF. My employer had some extra tickets and had told us that if we had a partner that wanted tickets we could get some for ourselves or our partners. So I mailed my boss, saying that there was this girl I wanted tickets for and that "she will be my partner - she just doesn't know it yet". Perhaps a bit overly confident, but it turned out to be correct and that was the start of a wonderful time together!
The summer in Linköping was very nice. Working, playing beach volley in the evenings and visiting Hanna in Falköping on the weekends. Unfortunately she had to work in Falköping, so we didn't get the chance to see each other as much as we'd have liked.
I also had one week of vacation in the end of the summer, where I went to northern Sweden together with my dad. A nice chance to see all the relatives again - it's getting longer and longer between the times now which is really a shame.
The autumn has been full of working and traveling. I've had a couple of short vacations, where I've been to London once and Vienna a couple of times. Hanna have been studying in Vienna since September, so I had a really nice week with Hanna in Vienna trying to get her settled in and at the same time seeing loads of beautiful sights in Vienna.
This autumn I also moved to my new apartment (those of you who missed this - feel free to send me an e-mail for my new address). As nice as sharing an apartment with Åsa have been, it feels really good to have a large apartment of my own. Two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Close to downtown, built in 1996, a large balcony and windows in three directions. I like it very much!
And the end of 2007 turned out really nice as well. With a looong Christmas vacation of more than two weeks I had the time to celebrate Christmas in Falköping together with Hanna and her family and then also to go snowboarding in Åre together with Hanna and a bunch of friends.
And on the New Years Eve I found myself standing in Åre, watching a great firework display by our neighbour, surrounded by friends and with Hanna by my side. It was a very nice way of ending the year. Most of the things that happened this year I couldn't have dreamed of doing or that they would happen. I'm just glad I was there to experience it all! Let's hope that 2008 turns into an equally amazing year!
For pictures of all my travelling, my new apartment or everyday pictures of me - check out picasaweb.google.com/anders.ivarsson.