Things I learnt, dismissed and enjoyed in 2018

By Hand On The Hip - Priya Raghuveer - 1/05/2019

Hello everyone!

I obviously have to start this post by wishing you all a very happy and fruitful new year and hope that your 2018 was amazing and 2019 is even better. Well, it's been really long since I got down to writing here. I actually took a well-deserved break from blogging and vlogging while I was away for my Christmas break. To kickstart this year's blog bonanza, I thought of doing a recap, talk about some things I absolutely enjoyed, some that didn't work for me and how everything in life is just a learning experience. This post is going to be longer than usual. (Don't say I didn't warn you. Haha! )Well, what are we waiting for! Let's get started!


Moving to a whole new country
This year was way different that the rest for me because this was the first time I was going to live in a different country. I love traveling and exploring new places, but I could've never imagined packing all my stuff, stepping out of India and calling myself an NRI. Somehow, early this year, my husband and I found ourselves closing our Bangalore chapter and moving to Australia. It has truly been an exhilarating experience so far despite being over 10000 km away from family, familiarity and authentic desi food. But the fact that we had to adapt to a new culture and a new life altogether, kept us on our toes. From setting up a house from scratch in a country you know nothing about to getting used to four seasons in a day to working with people of different ethnicities, different accents and different backgrounds, it has been an interesting journey. If you have that passion in you, to make it work anywhere in the world, not be dependent on anyone, it's an experience you'll always cherish.


Married life and it's ups and downs
If you guys have been following my posts, you'll know that I got married about a year ago. While we'd been dating for about two years before we tied the knot, marriage and living together is not an easy job. A lot of the millennials today are scared of commitment and I used to be one of those too, but hey, it's not that bad after all! I'd be lying if I told you guys that we don't quarrel about who's going to load the dishwasher today or how we kick each other off the bed for space, but it has been a very natural process understanding each other and while co-existing with another person can be challenging, it's also a wonderful feeling to go home to someone, to get endless cuddles and have someone to do things with. So if you're in your twenties and are having doubts about this institution called marriage, then go for it if you've found the right person!


Fashion & beauty findings
Since I have started working in Australia, I've had to change the way I dress a bit. I have always been working for start-ups back home which meant going to work in ripped jeans! (Yup, not even exaggerating!) But since I have had to focus on my appearance much more than before, I have been hoarding on pencil skirts, formal dresses, anything in shades of gray and black - basically outfits that I wouldn't wear otherwise. I have also been attracted towards ethnic dresses or wearing my kurti as a dress that has been a big gamechanger in India this past year or so. Winter wear is another area that had caught my attention considering the winter in Sydney actually requires you to own multiple jackets unlike the winter in Mangalore (which doesn't exist!) or Bangalore. Finally, versatility or reusability  has been my "word of the year" as I have been styling the same outfit in multiple ways for various occasions. (and that's a whole different blog post altogether, so I won't bore you with the details!) Australia is famous for make-up and skincare products and I have been contacted by several friends over the past year to bring them some cosmetics from here every time I go home. I have discovered so many new brands like Savar Skincare, Sothy's, Coral Colours, Andalou etc. The hunt for top-notch beauty products is always going to be on! So keep watching this space for more. Overall, it has been a great year for my wardrobe and my dressing table.



The blog
Honestly speaking, the blog hasn't been doing very well on the revenue front due to various factors. Moving to a developed country has it's own pros and cons. For instance, one actually needs to follow stringent immigration rules, which means that paid promotions in my kitty are zero! While it's relatively easier to approach or find new brands emerging in the market, it's not a very easy job selling yourself to these brands who normally hire celebrities to endorse their products. The whole blogging scene in Australia isn't as big a business as it is in India. That being said, I have learnt that it's not always about making money. I have been genuinely enjoying writing, putting my thoughts down and sharing my experiences with my audience. My readership has tremendously increased and that gives me immense joy. The fact that I am officially not a part of the craziness that's been going on in the blogosphere in Bangalore or India in general has helped me grow as a person. The fact that most bloggers back home are resorting to unethical means of gaining the six digit follower count on Instagram, how brand publicists exploit you and think you're working for free, how every other blogger or influencer out there is ready to gobble you up and spit you out if they think you're even a teensy tiny bit intimidating has led me to believe that I am in a much better environment now. Success is not measured by followers or dollars, it is much more than that. The number of people you influence or the impact you create in their lives is all that matters.

Fave movie & TV show picks
Netflix has been a lifesaver in my home away from home. This year my husband and I watched a truckload of TV shows together. For a brief period we were inclined towards Spanish shows and movies. Cable Girls was a big thumbs up for both of us. We then moved on to thrillers and for a month or so, we were obsessed with Pretty Little Liars. If you like psychological thrillers, I'd also recommend this new TV show called "You". Some of the movies that I enjoyed watching this year are The Invitation, Brain On Fire, Friend Request.


Travel diaries
Traveling has always and will always be a major part of my life. This year was all about exploring and experiencing new things. While I attended a bazillion weddings this year that took me to Kolkata, Coonoor, Gujarat, Bangalore and Kochi, I also did travel in Australia quite a bit. While I explored Melbourne, drove to scenic spots in and around Sydney like The Hunter Valley, Central Coast, Anna Bay, Nelson's Bay, Newcastle etc., I also spent a considerable amount of time in Singapore twice this year. And most importantly, I wen back home twice this year and one of my trips took to Kalasa, a beautiful town near Chikmagalur. I am looking forward to some more traveling this year!


New ventures (fingers crossed)
I have tonnes of ideas floating in my head at all times and I am always looking for new ways to reach out to people. Food and cooking has been a huge part of my life this year and I came up with a new Instagram page DoWaqtKiRotii for all my cooking success stories and all the delicious food I have been exposed to. The next venture that came into life this year was my very own YouTube channel! Do make sure you subscribe/check it out here and since it's still in its early stages, I'd really appreciate some love and support. Last but not the very least, I decided to embrace the artist in me and went all out with abstract art. I've always wanted to become a fashion designer or an interior decorator or anything that involves art, so it turns out that when you don't have a lot of friends to drink your evenings with, you actually end up doing something productive! Do check out my art page called ThatArtyAnimal and please share some love!


Things that went south
For starters, the dependent visa for Australia that I was supposed to get my hands on early this year never showed up! The processing time shot up from 2-4 months to 4-6 months to 8-12 months to over a year now. It was super annoying to wait and not know when I could get back on my feet. I had to make several trips back home because I wasn't doing anything productive in Australia and was terribly missing everyone at home. The first project I was put on in Australia happened to be literally on the day I joined and let's just say it didn't go very well. To top it off, my skin went ballistic and I had a massive acne attack like never before. The period between May 2018 to Dec 2018 was quite stressful and I have actually started to believe that it's the Mercury Retrograde that has to be blamed! But sooner or later, things started falling in place. I got a work permit quite instantly, I got a chance to spend a decent amount of time with my family back home and my skin has gotten way better too. Hopefully, that's the end of it and all's well that ends well, right?

Products that were a miss
Earlier this year I had started using menstrual cups and that felt like a big boon at the time. It's a bit tricky to insert, but overall a great product. However, once I moved to Oz Land, the product isn't all that user-friendly here considering we don't have health faucets to clean the cup every three hours or the fact that we wear tights to work makes it a bit difficult to remove the cup in office and clean it. And sadly, now I am back to using sanitary napkins. Another product that's sitting tight in my drawer are my contact lenses. My eyesight is very poor and this was another lame attempt to see things better, but it seems like too much effort and I am blind again! Uggh! Journaling is another habit I started to follow hoping it would make a difference and honestly, I don't know if it did. All I know is that it definitely was time-consuming and was hard to keep up with when I spent time traveling. But what the heck, I should probably give it another shot.


The lessons learnt
I truly have grown as a person on all fronts this year. Since every post of mine does have a takeaway, I am definitely going to share all the lessons I learnt this year.  First and foremost, this may seem random, but I have learnt that it's okay to cut toxic people off. It doesn't matter who they are, how much they've done for you, how much you've invested in them, but if they're pulling you down emotionally or mentally or in any way possible, they're not worth your time. I have distanced myself from so many toxic people this year and I am actually okay with that because I have a whole bunch of people in my life who empower me, love me and make me a better person. My second biggest learning this year is to love yourself and to master the art of spending time with yourself. This whole year I've seen and heard people talk about self-care, mental health and a lot of these jargons that made no sense to me until I realized that I've been sub-consciously embracing all of these words! It's not necessarily a bad thing to do something for yourself, pamper yourself or do something that's therapeutic for you. My blog has always been a platform where I express my feelings, however that didn't seem enough. I was back to my Zumba routine after a six-month break, I started painting regularly and believe it or not, from someone who was a disastrous cook to becoming someone who can now even bake bread, I have come to realize that cooking is therapy! I have learnt that surrounding yourself with people you love is not enough, you also need to surround yourself with things that make you feel accomplished.

That's all for now. Hope you liked my quick, not-so-short update. Do share your bests and worsts from 2018 with me! In the meanwhile, let me wish you all a happy new year once again.

Love,
Hand On The Hip

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