It struck me recently that it is a good thing we have divided time with calendars. Imagine if there were no weeks and months and years, just Day 1 to Day 500 on to Day 3000 and so on. Our lives would fly by from one day to the next, without us ever pausing to reflect.
But thankfully, a year ends and another one begins. Sometime between 31st December and the first week of January, we tend to examine the year gone by, while also making resolutions to better our lives in the year to come.
Won’t it be nice if we learnt to do this at the end of each month, or maybe each week? We might live better lives if we think more often of our successes and failures, while also pondering about which direction we are headed in and how we want to get there.
Anyway, so I did my annual brain work too, and thought I’d like to share the results with you! Here’s a recap of what 2017 was like, for me.
Back to Civilization
After spending 2016 in San Pedro, a small town in Ivory Coast where we were practically the only Indian family, it was nice to be back to the humdrum and society of Abidjan. We were thrown into the whole Olam gang, hosting and attending parties, welcoming new families while bidding old ones goodbye, celebrating festivals, weekends and life together. I made some very special friends along the way, relationships I plan to preserve for life.
However, I was not just partying. I also put my time to some constructive use by volunteering to teach English at the American Embassy in Abidjan and raising funds for the SOS Village, an orphanage. I visited the Missionaries of Charity hidden away in the city and was astonished to see the reach of Mother Teresa’s goodness all the way here. I met two nuns from India and one from Bangladesh, each of whom has spent close to three decades in the service of Africa. Every time I visit these places and meet these people, I am humbled beyond words.
A Holiday in Dubai with my Parents and Son
I traveled to Dubai with my 6 month old son to spend a week with my parents. It was lovely to see them getting to know their grandson. Avyay had a ball with them. We also celebrated his Annprashan ceremony and my birthday in Dubai.
Baby-mooning in Paris
The very next month we had a sudden, spur-of-the-moment, ‘Let’s go to Paris’ plan. It was our first proper holiday with our baby and even though we spent more time feeding him and changing his diapers than we did seeing tourist attractions, it was a memorable holiday.
Celebrating Avyay’s First Birthday
Time truly flies. Before I knew it, my son had completed his first year on this Earth. We held a small celebration at our home, attended by whatever friends were around, since it was vacation time. He received a lot of blessings and gifts, and though he was too young to appreciate it, I was delighted for him.
Touring Ivory Coast
We took some time out in 2017 to see more of the country we live in. We visited friends in Dimbokro and saw a spectacular cashew factory in operation there. It is amazing how this factory has been changing the lives of the little town. We also went to see the biggest church in the world, the Basilica of our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro. Not only did I get more insight into this powerful West African country I have been residing in, the trip helped me write more about Ivory Coast. And it always feels great when an unknown person visiting the country reads one of my articles and writes to me to tell me it helped them!
Visiting India for Family Weddings and Reunions
2017 saw us visit India twice for family weddings, in June and in November. It was a great time to bond with the family, attend celebrations and shop like crazy. It was particularly special to see both sets of grandparents spend time with and get to know Avyay better. In fact, what was amazing was that Avyay also got to meet his great grandparents. Here’s a picture of four generations together- my son, I, my Mum and her Mum!
Book Launch for ‘In Search of Love’
2017 was also very special in that it saw two events organized for my novel, In Search of Love. We had a book launch in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in August to celebrate the release of my book in print, followed by a book launch in Noida, India in November. It was amazing to receive so many good wishes and congratulations from people all over the world.
Not everything can be depicted in pictures. 2017 was a year I grew and evolved as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a writer and a reader. I read 40 books, fiction and non-fiction, each of which enriched me with something new I learnt. I exercised and toned my post-pregnancy body. My story was published on WhiterSlates, while my son’s blogs were recognized on BabySpot.ca. My book, ‘In Search of Love’ shared shelf space with the likes of Dan Brown and Pranab Mukherjee and received a number of heart-warming reviews from readers.
It was a year well spent, a year that has paved the way for a better 2018.
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PIyushi Dhir is the author of the romantic novels, 'In Search of Love' (2014), 'I'm Yours, The Next Time' (2015) and 'Enmeshed Evermore' (2015). A voracious reader, a keen traveler and an ardent dog-lover, Piyushi currently resides in Ivory Coast, Africa. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.