A World of Good: My 2011 in Review

If I were to describe my 2011 in one word, it would have to be: EPIC.

How can any other word suffice when I've managed to pack so much more than I would ever hope to pack in one year? Life has changed so much for me within 12 months - both personally and professionally.

The people I met, the places I've been, the things I've experienced... From stories I've shared all over the web to those I can't even begin to write about.

I'm just here to do a round-up of memories, as part of my annual tradition here at Studio Notes. Since I've done a semi round-up halfway through the year, I thought I'd skip the month-by-month. But yeah, something about looking back that makes me realise just how much life can take different turns within a year...

So, here are the highlights from my year, organised in 11 themes, for 2011...

Special Milestones
There are many day-to-day stuff that I'd love to remember and to celebrate. Some of them do stand out more than others.

I've travelled a bit in the past decade or so. But, I don't think I've ever travelled so much within a year. Ever. So, to me, 2011 is really My Year of Travel. And here are some highlights...

  • 3 trips to the Philippines - 1 for a family trip, as part of Christmas/New Year (Jan). Then, 2 trips for work, speaking in Davao and Manila (Feb), then Bacolod and Cebu (Nov). Work trips have been courtesy of Microsoft and TechSoup Asia, through my day job at Connecting Up.
  • 2 trips to Malaysia - Again, 1 as part of a family trip to KL (Jan). And a return trip for work (Mar). Again, the work part is for Microsoft/TS Asia/Connecting Up.
  • 2 Trips to the USA - Including my first visit to San Francisco (Feb), and a return to Washington DC (Mar). Both times, for work. Speaking and in two incredible events. This one's primarily connected with Connecting Up, attending the TechSoup Global Summit and NTEN's Nonprofit Technology Conference.
  • My first trip to Sri Lanka, speaking in 2 events in Colombo (May). Both events are for Microsoft/TSAsia/Connecting Up.
  • Plus, some interstate travel: Brisbane, for Drupal Down Under (Jan); Melbourne, for Connecting Up Conference (June); Melbourne again, for Philanthropy Australia (Jul); and Canberra, for AuSAE (Sep).
  • And, personal travels to (all for the first time): Mount Gambier, SA (Apr); Clayton Bay, SA (Jul); Narnu Farm, SA (Dec).

There are many work-related highlights that I hope to remember from 2011. Some of them include:

  • Growing from a one-person team, to hiring two new people and adding one new team member. So yes, by the end of the year, I conducted a meeting with THREE new additions in my sub-team. Needless to say, my role is constantly evolving and I'm always learning.
  • Taking part in establishing NetSquared in Adelaide. Really feel happy that this has started off early in the year. While I haven't had much to do with it after it was launched, I'm hoping that its growing community would continue to give it life.
  • Completely ending my personal and professional ties with b5media, by finally selling my shares. It was a great ride, that one. But, it's also good to have a complete break at last.
  • Went back to postgrad school, after a year of leave. This is just to try and finish of my Masters' degree in teaching. I completed two subjects this year (last semester), and now I've got two subjects left, so hopefully, I will finish and graduate in 2012.

General Learning and Personal Development
I love learning new things. I enjoy taking classes and workshops. Both formally and informally. That's why I know I'd be a perpetual student, no matter what. Here are some of the things that I've learned this year...

  • Enrolled in a virtual workshop on Visual Facilitation. Loving the practice, but haven't had much time to develop it. Hope to keep doing this in the new year...
  • Also went back to dance classes this year. I only had one term, but enjoyed doing hiphop and jazz/modern. Hope to get back again next term.
  • When it comes to cooking and baking, I've returned to experimenting a bit again in 2011. Some of my favourite finds for the year: apple strudel, meat pie, baked cheesecakes, macarons, strawberry shortcake, char kway teow, and making fresh pasta/sauces/pizza.

All in the Family
This year has been a great time for seeing family. Considering we usually don't have family around where we live, 2011 has given us more than our usual opportunities to spend some quality time with our loved ones... Plus, there are a few things we celebrated this year.

  • Late last year/early this year, I've managed to see all my siblings, my brother's wife and kids, and my mom, as well some cousins, uncles, and aunts...
  • My sister also came to stay in Adelaide with my family for more than two months. She joined our road trip to Mount Gambier, and even followed me to Melbourne once.
  • Also saw my mom and sis a couple of extra times, during my two unexpected trips back to the Philippines.
  • And, to top it all off, my mum-in-law and dad-in-law is spending Christmas and New Year with us in Adelaide.
  • Family birthdays: My boy's 7th year birthday party, crabbing with his friends at Grange Beach. My girl's 4th year birthday, celebrating it with a Fairy party. And yes, me turning 37, working in the office on my first strategic planning day. No parties. Meh.
  • My girl starting kindy. Doing her first art exhibit and fundraising at kindy. Leaving Montessori and getting a nice report from teachers.
  • The girl also doing really well with her two ballet recitals.
  • When my girl just started showing off her reading skills. Picked up Green Eggs and Ham, for example, and read most of it to me independently.
  • My son, winning 2 Oliphant Science Awards again (+ 2 special commendations). This is his second year joining the competition.
  • The boy also joined a filmmaking workshop for kids and ended up in his first film festival through this class. His group won "Best Film" and he received a commendation on the "Best Overall Team Member" category.
  • The boy also received a great end-of-year school report. On top of becoming SRC for the year. Amongst other things.
  • It was also the year the boy has been asked by the school to finally get tested by an Educational Psychologist due to his abilities. The idea of getting a 'label' is something we've never really sought after, but the school deemed it necessary in order to receive extra support. I'm sure this is a blog post for another time.

On Friends and Socials
There are also a lot of times for friendships and socials. Much more than what I'm accustomed to, to be honest. Made a lot of new friends and contacts from around the world, especially thanks to the travels and events I've attended this year. And, there are a lot of new connections made right here at home in Adelaide...

  • Some catch-ups with some of my good buddies: Christine (in Melbourne) and Jasmine (who I only saw 3-4x this year).
  • Attending a couple of fun #socadl events.
  • Starting Yam Basket Hunt lunch club with a few lovely folks in Adelaide. Making some great new friends through our love for food.
  • Hanging out with some of my good work mates outside the office. Other than our usual Market Tuesdays and Pub Fridays, there are after-work stuff and some other fun antics. I especially enjoyed our post-event parties in Brisbane, San Francisco, and Melbourne. And some local ones in Adelaide too. Like post-AGM and post-Christmas in July. Heh. And hiphop dance classes and dinners. Plus a 30th birthday.
  • After postgrad class hang-out at the Uni with one of my besties.

The Rough Stuff
Life's not been all great, of course. There had been some rough and challenging moments. Thankfully, nothing that breaks the spirit too much.

  • Like being quite unwell a bit this year. Including an unexpected week-long illness a few weeks ago.
  • A couple of online dramas that were taken offline that I cannot blog about in full. At least not just yet.
  • A question of personal and professional directions.
  • Of course, all the travels and work commitments have taken a toll in a few other ways too. But, nothing too bad. However, I'm certainly up for making things less hectic in 2012.

The Light Stuff
Then, there are the little and shallow things that just tickled my fancy...

  • Like my newfound love for coloured shoes.
  • Getting my first swoon-worthy celebrity Tweet. Haha.
  • Finding and falling in love with Matthew Goode
  • Making a longer commitment with my new 'do --- curly long hair. And finally experimenting with colour. A lot.

Books, TV, and Movies I Loved
Although I managed to watch a few movies this year (hello, in-flight entertainment and streaming!)... and even got to catch up on some TV viewing... I didn't really get to read as much as I'd like. And, I think I started reading several books but haven't been able to complete them yet. Oh, and this is also the year where I actually bought and read many more digital book format than ever before. Anyway, some of my favourites from the year:

  • My fave fiction books of the year: Rick Riordan's follow-up to the Percy Jackson series --- The Olympian Heroes. Read books 1 and 2 (The Lost Hero and Son of Neptune).
  • Enjoyed Sisterhood Everlasting, the "when they were grown up" book follow-up to the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series.
  • Also liked Charlaine Harris' Dead Until Dark, but really couldn't get in to vampire stuff too much. So, haven't read any other in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
  • Some fave nonfiction reads: Content Strategy books and Drawing Lab.
  • Love, love, love these newbie movies that I watched this year (not equally, mind you): Thor, Harry Potter 7 (Part 2), Cars 2, X Men: First Class, Leap Year, King's Speech, and The Social Network.
  • Some oldies that I just watched this year (and loved): Penelope, the first three X-Men films, Transformers 1, Brideshead Revisited, Chasing Liberty, Dorian Grey, and Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister.
  • TV series I've loved: Merlin (Seasons 3 & 4), Masterchef (Season 3), Paper Giants, The Slap, Dead Gorgeous, Extreme Fishing with Robson Greene, and Chuck (Season 1).

Also see: Best Family Movies of 2011.

Gadgets, Apps and Tools Galore
When it comes to gadgets, this year has been quite amplified for me and my family... It's the year where we all ended up with an i-something. Kids both have iPod touch, hubby has iPad, and well... here are the rest...

    • Got myself a smart phone. Finally. Yes, succumbed to an iPhone 4 early this year.
    • Also replaced my year-old first generation iPad with an iPad2.
    • Bought the family a Microsoft XBox and Kinect for Christmas. Finally.
    • The husband ended up buying 2 new flat screen TVs. Almost accidentally, really. Long story, but yeah... After having the old TV for years... We finally upgraded. A lot, it seems.
    • Also started enjoying Apple TV.
    • Oh, and yes, finally got a Time Machine/Capsule. The Apple variety, again.
    • Favourite social media platforms of the year: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, FourSquare, and GetGlue.
    • Some of my favourite apps and tools: Evernote (though it did collapse on me a little this year!), Wunderlist, BBC iPlayer, ABC iView, Notebook for iPad, Dropbox, Incredibooth, Kindle, iBooks, Keynote...
    • Games that sucked some of my time this year: Sims FreePlay and Words with Friends.
    • Breakout social media platform: Pinterest

Unfortunately, though, my Nikon D40x finally died this year and hasn't been replaced yet. 🙁

Miscellaneous Memories
Here are just some random personal memories and world events that affected me in some ways...

  • Watching Wicked (The Musical) with the hubby.
  • Drinks of the Year: Mojitos and Cider. Especially pear cider. Heh.
  • Major renovations for our master bedroom and study.
  • World news and tidbits: Steve Jobs' quitting as CEO and his death, Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding, the Brisbane floods, Philippine typhoons and floods, Christchurch earthquakes...
  • According to Facebook (thanks new Timeline): I've added 109 FB friends in 2011, 157 friends posted on my Wall, and 84 friends greeted me on my birthday.
  • Oh, and I shall also remember this year as the year where I finally have my very own "stupid story" (yep, the kind that you can't exactly blog about). Haha.

I'm pretty sure there's more that I'd like to commit to memory somehow. But, this should do.

What did I say? 2011 has been epic!

What a year indeed. Bring it on, 2012...

Also wish to say special thanks to: Kari, Diane Lee, Melissa W, Nenette, Nicola, Christine Gooding, Connie, Jenseeya, and Kharen... For being the top commentators here at Studio Notes in 2011. You ladies help to keep this blog alive! 🙂

Source: tumblr.com via Shai on Pinterest


About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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