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The longest month of the far

January recap, review and re.....something, I can't think of another one that fits, sorry

By Alice ElizabethPublished 3 months ago 12 min read
The longest month of the far
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash


This month I finished 6 books, which is a lot for me. Some were very short, others were started a long time ago and just happened to be finished this month.


  • Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman. I mostly read this because it was written by Neil Gaiman. I know the story of how HItchhikers came to be pretty well by this point so there wasn’t really anything new in that respect. It was interesting to get some insight into how BBC television and radio works from the inside though.
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I had a random thought in the middle of a Thursday that I hadn’t actually read any Rupi Kaur, just little bits I’d seen on the internet. Surprisingly this was available in the library app so I borrowed it and read it in half an hour. I really liked it and have added Rupi Kaur to my TBR list to read some more.
  • Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters. Read this on audio and it didn’t grab me as much as the first in the series did so I probably won’t read anymore. I do enjoy that the protagonist likes to flout social norms and such, but I just found it wasn’t that gripping.
  • Horror Stories by Liz Phair. I enjoyed it, but I found Phair to be a bit irritating by the end. I was hoping for more horror stories, I think. Sure there was some bad stuff in there, but mostly it was about her relationships.
  • The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende. I’d read this before when I was a kid and I remembered that the movie only covered the first half of the book. I had thought that the second half followed the second movie, but on re-reading I don’t think that’s the case apart from a few characters and some key events. The first half was lovely and nostalgic for me, but the second half was a slog and made me dislike the main character. It was mostly just bits strung together.
  • All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Read this on audio and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I’m not really interested in the setting or era of the book, but I gave it a shot and quite enjoyed it. It was my third McCarthy and probably my favourite so far.


  • After the Count by Stephanie Convery. Started this audiobook to keep me occupied while running. It’s about a boxing death in Australia and a topic close to my interests. It’s good so far, it hasn’t been overly biased in one direction or the other, which is nice.
  • Just Babies by Paul Bloom. Another audiobook for running. This one’s looking at whether we have an innate morality. It’s interesting but not 7 hours worth of interesting.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This is my sleepytime audiobook. Still very early in, but so far it’s not standing out as anything spectacular. That’s ok though, if it gets too interesting it will have to move from sleepytime book to daytime book.


  • The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan. The 8th(?) Wheel of Time book. Honestly I’ve kind of lost track of this story, but I want to power on. I read a bunch of recaps before picking this one up again. There’s a lot to catch up on though and I know I’m missing a lot of context as I’m going. It’s going to take me a while to get through this one, I think, but I’ll chip away at it and I’ll get there.
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I can’t remember when or why I put this on my TBR list, but its turn came up and I was a little surprised, because for some reason I didn’t think this was the subject matter. I’m still interested though and working through it. It’s a larger book than I expected and a lot of people to keep track of in these early chapters. It seems like quite a popular book because I can’t renew it at the library and have to wait for my hold to come through if I let it lapse. That’s why this one’s taking so long, because I have to wait for it to become available again.
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to read this at the same time as a WoT book, but I”m going with it. If I started overlapping stories I’ll put one of them away. Liking this so far, some interesting ideas for the magic system.
  • The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started this one, but it was short stories in the vein of Sherlock.
  • The Passion of Marie Romanov by Laura Rose. I think I got this free. I’m not really enjoying it and if I was better at DNFing books I would do that to this one.
  • Flatland by Edwin A Abbott. I had heard about this book a lot as a kind of literary thought experiment type thing. It’s pretty dry to read though so finding it a bit of a slog.


Pretty happy with this aspect of things. I’m training to run a 10k in Feb and I’ve just reached a point where I can complete the 10k without stopping, so hopefully I can improve my time a little over the next month. I’ve been running about 3 times a week, sometimes more and sometimes also doing weights. I’m looking forward to not having the 10k ahead of me so I can do less cardio and more weights. In all honesty, I’m really looking forward to our move mid-year and getting back to a place where martial arts are more accessible and getting back into some Muay Thai or boxing. I’m even feeling pretty nostalgic for BJJ so it would be perfect if we found a mixed martial arts gym that offers everything.

My weight has stayed stable. I was kind of hoping the extra running would maybe see a drop in weight, but I haven’t been exactly watching what I eat so it’s fair enough. I’ve lost about 10kg over the last year and I feel so much better. I’m still a little heavier than ideal, but I’m happy to sit where I am for now. It seems like a good middle ground between enjoying myself and not punishing myself.

My mental health has been a little shaky though. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, with the one year anniversary of Mum’s death in December, and then her birthday in January, but I had quite a few low points. I’m really struggling for motivation at work and I don’t know if that because I know I’m leaving in a few months.

My eating habits have been just ok. I have eaten a lot of quick easy food, but I think I’ve not been snacking so much. I’ve also managed to maybe start breaking some bad habits. The last year every evening I’ve had an iced coffee and some kind of dessert, like ice cream or a cream bun. That’s on top of snacks. So now, I’m trying to rely less on that. If I don’t have anything in the house, I won’t go out just to buy an iced coffee. I can go without ice cream some nights. I’m trying to not be so stuck in my routine each day that I MUST have this or I MUST have that.


While I have the chance I want to try and write more. Last year I completed a short story challenge to write a short story each month. I’ve been participating in this since it started 7 years ago and this is the first time I’ve actually submitted each month. Each month my story carried on from the previous one and at the end of the year I had 15,000 of a novel written. Now, I don’t think I’ll actually finish that story, it ended up going in directions that I don’t know how to resolve, but having a single work of that length under my belt has given me a push. I’m doing the challenge again this year and I’m going to write all my stories in the same universe, but try to make each story it’s own complete work that can be read independently. Then Steve can use the stories for shorts on his channel. Then I could also combine them into a complete work of its own. I’ve asked Steve join me on the challenge this year for accountability and also because he seems quite interested in writing these days too.

I also want to spend more time journaling, I plan to do a monthly recap at least. I would like to write some longer non-fiction as well, things that I can post on Vocal, but that’s a secondary goal.


My Japanese study all but stopped after I took the JLPT 5 exam. I tried to keep going but found it difficult. All the books just kept throwing new grammar at me which I could understand while working it through in the book but then as soon as I close the book it’s gone from my head. Following that we made the decision that we’re leaving Japan mid-year so my motivation to continue has waned. I’ve maintained my Duolingo streak but I didn’t touch Wani Kani for a long time and seeing hundreds of reviews to come back to has been intimidating. I’m trying to just do 20 reviews a day.

I do a German lesson in Duolingo from time to time as well. When we thought for a minute that we might go to Germany I had a look at how my German was and I was surprised at how much I remember from my university days. I think my German now is still better than my Japanese will ever be.

I’ve logged back into a course I bought and never completed many years ago, hoping that there might be a few useful things in there for helping Steve run the audiobooks business. The course is 30 Days to Virtual Assistant Success, so it’s only very tangentially related, but I’ll let you know if it ends up being worth it.

I relearned a little bit of Python coding because I went down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out how to draw spirograph patterns. It was fun, and achieved what I wanted to. I forget how much fun coding is and if I had limitless time I would definitely do more.


The home businesses are going along nicely. The audiobooks are wrapping up last years big project, which was quite expensive so I’m looking forward to seeing the income stay in the business for a while now as we work on more internal stuff.

I’m trying to push my Etsy store a bit more to actually make some money and maybe I’m seeing a little improvement. I made 2 sales this month, so that’s nice. I am participating in a charity thing which will hopefully bring in some more instagram follows, even if it doesn’t directly get me sales and money. I need to figure out how to be better at instagram.


I’m a little nervous about our financial position generally at the moment. I still have about $3k credit card debt that Steve doesn’t know about, as well as about $2k HECS debt that he thinks is being paid off. I don’t know how I got myself into this situation, I’m terrible with being honest about money. I want to pay off those remaining debts myself, I don’t want to tell him because he will use business money to pay them and I want that money to stay in the business.

With the move coming up this year we are going to eat through most of our immediate savings. We still have the investment set aside for when we decide on a place for our forever home, but we are going to burn through most of our saving to get there.

I want to get a decent paying job again, so that we can start saving once more, I can pay off the last of my debt and we can look towards buying or building.


Work, at the moment, is just the place I have to turn up five days a week. This ALT job isn’t exactly demanding, but it’s somehow still incredibly draining. I have one more lesson plan that I have to do, and then that’s it, I can recycle everything for the rest of my time here. Coming up is the end of year exam period where I don’t have any classes at all, I just sit at my desk all day. I hope to use this time wisely for writing and preparation for the move. I don’t know how I’m going to go when the time comes to go back to a job that actually needs me to be working for the stipulated working hours. I’m so used to spending my time reading articles on the internet and studying that a real job is going to feel quite demanding.

The Big Move

Most of the move preparation so far has just been thinking about things. I have a mental list of what needs to happen, but I haven’t taken actual steps to organise any of it yet. The big ones are housing and employment. Other than that it’s the planning of the actual act of getting from Japan to New Zealand, what’s coming with us and when and how, and whether we’re stopping in Adelaide or not. I made the step of contacting one international moving place and turns out they only do big move, like a whole house and all it’s furniture and it costs about $7,000. I need somewhere that will ship just a few boxes, but the problem is I don’t know when we will have an address, and how long it will take for them to get from Japan to NZ.

It took three months for the box we shipped from Aus to Japan. But what if we ship it from here to NZ and it takes three months, but we’re at a different address by then. Gah, it’s so confusing and difficult and if i wasn’t worried about money I’d throw away all my possessions and just buy new things when we arrive. Although, that might be cheaper than shipping boxes internationally.


About the Creator

Alice Elizabeth

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