Work has been full ball, to the point where I am so excited for a week off, for the simple reason of going completely off grid.
I'm going to pretend the outside world ceases to exist. I don't want to read a newspaper (it's my work, so the only piece of press I'm allowing myself to see is the Hello! magazine. And that's only if Kate Middleton is on the cover, otherwise no dice.) I don't want to hear the words "headline" "front page splash" "coverage" "quarterly targets" "the daily mail" "meeting request" for the 9 days I am off.
I'm going to seal myself off from news feeds and screens. As much as I can possibly try without physically dying.
I'm going to try to turn off my Facebook, because seeing images from South Africans on holiday that look like a Club Med brochure, is clogging up my news feed and making me a leetle bit resentful.
That said, it's also been one helluva year. All sorts of wonderful, ridiculously great things have happened, and all sorts of not-so-wonderful things, like my aunt - who I was very close to here in London - passing away from cancer. So with that in mind, here are my highlights.
I guess the real question is: If the world did decide to end on 26 December as the Mayans predicted, would I be grateful for my lot in life, and the places and people I have been lucky enough to experience so far? Extremely.
So. To 2012 - thank you. You've been really good to me.
I woke up on New Year's Day in Amsterdam.
I went to Number 10. That's 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister looks after the country. I wore tweed for the occasion. Obviously.
The Brit went to Zurich for work, so I joined for a weekend of cheese, chocolate, snow and thermal baths overlooking the Swiss city.
This picture was taken on the morning my aunt died. It was freezing, and overnight it started to snow. The moment it started to snow, I just knew that was it. It was one of the saddest periods of my life, and it still haunts me today.
My grandparents old home, Cape Town.
It was great being back home as a 'visitor.'
My first trip back to South Africa since leaving to live in the UK!
One of my best friend's, Poen, was getting married and just the excuse I needed to go back.
My Brit came with me and we did a little road trip out of Cape Town, through the Karoo to the Garden Route.
My boyz. Wayne and Dwayne are still very much part of our household. They do much, except look cute. But that's enough for me.
Spring in London! Suddenly everyone is smiling, and out of the darkness crawls the population and the realisation you have survived a long, cold, dark winter.
The Dove and I put backpacks on and went to Estonia.
And then we went to Latvia. (It was "what the fuck did we do last night?" part of the trip)
And then we went to Lithuania.
It was also the Queen's Diamond Jubilee! So all very festive and fun here in Britain. I was very lucky to be involved in the Jubliee, through a work-related project.
But still couldn't resist having Queenie right in my kitchen. Solar-powered handbag made her wave at me.
The Olympics! We watched the opening ceremony from a friend's balcony. She lives...like, in the Olympic Village practically. Amazing atmosphere. London was on fire, and I was very proud to call this country home.
...And picnics in the park. Chilling in the park, with my Brit, [andwith a bottle of pinot grigio] is one of my favourite summer things to do in the UK.
...And Love Box. A music festival in Hackney. Festivals are synonymous with British summers. (And yes, it always rains. But you're in wellies and you're dirty anyway.)
My first event at Buckingham Palace - the Brit and I went to an official Garden Party. Below is taken from the ground of Buckingham Palace, looking over a pond.
Summer holiday mini-break! We went to the south of France for plenty of sun, wine, beach and food.
I got heat stroke. Possibly the most embarrassing state of affairs for a South African.
It was still beautiful, and still one of my favourite spots in the world.
The south of France wouldn't be complete without a cheeky dinner and a razzle in Monaco, now would it?
Beach clubs in Monaco ---> plush.
We went to Japan! A place that I've dreamed to visit for so long. Sushi, crazy excitement, weird socks and karaoke. In my past life, I must've been Japanese.
It's crazy-crazy and also chilled-zen-maximo. Japan is the ultimate in extreme.
A.maze.balls?! My new, herm, fiancee is one very clever man. He had this baby made. I still can't believe my eyes when I look at it.
(I said yes, obvs. We are getting hitched in April!)
I got an invitation for a special reception at Buck Pal. Not thinking I'd meet the Queen this time round or anything...
..I literally fucking did.
I haven't even drawn circles over my face - just for this one time. Isn't she cute?
I also went to San Francisco. I go every year, often with colleagues in tow and we usually end up having a few very large nights over a karaoke mic somewhere, and leave after a week.
My company HQ is in California, hence the annual trip.
There are a few steep climbs in San Fran.
It's autumn, the leaves are crunchy, the air is dry and crisp - it's a wonderful season in the northern hemisphere. The colours are also warm and exquisite, and the skies crystal clear.
Autumn lasts about two weeks, to be honest. But in that time you'll find yourself taking endless pictures of leaves. And twigs. And your new winter boots. In leaves.
A cheeky trip to Bruges in Belgium before the ol' Schengen visa runs out. Myself and another Safrican mate hopped over to Bruges to catch the first weekend of the Christmas market (gluhwein, gingerbread, waffles, chocolate, basically heaven), and take in some picture-perfect Flemish architecture.
It's freezing, the leaves are gone, and now everything is covered in thick ice, and if we are lucky - snow. It's snowed very briefly once so far, so holding thumbs for a white Christmas.
The Christmas lights on Oxford Street are always nice.
What a year!
11 countries, of these 5 new ones, and significantly, an engagement to my lovely man and life partner, my precious Brit. This year was my third year living in Britain, and it wasn't too shabby at all.
All the best for 2013 and beyond to everyone who reads this, and my [almost] daily bile every day. I appreciate every single one of your comments and reads.
Till next time.
*Obviously if the world does end on the 26th, cheerio forever. And good luck.