Goals for 2016: a review

2016. What a year. With everything that’s happened around the world this year, I’m not really sure what to say. What can I say, really?

Anyway, it’s time to review my goals for the year once more and see how I went about achieving them.

Start to make the Frontyard into a Garden

I’ve affectionately started calling my frontyard ‘The Wasteland’. Seriously, it’s embarrassing. It is in dire need of some work. I could pay some landscaper to do the work for me, but I actually love gardening and have my own vision for what it could be. I’m just not making the time for it to happen. So, this year, I’m finally going to get started on it.

Well, I have finally started to work on ‘The Wasteland’ that is my frontyard. It’s nowhere near complete, but at least it’s a start and I should be proud of that. I have a general idea of what I’d like to do with parts of it (like put up a trellis for some climbing jasmine), but otherwise I am still looking for inspiration. I’m currently debating whether to grow some edibles in the frontyard, which I think would be nifty. Anyway, I have started on The Wasteland and I’m sure it’ll be an on-going project.

Start a Fruit and Vegetable Garden

While the frontyard is mainly going to be decorative, I’ve got plans for the backyard to be productive. I’ve dabbled in growing my own herbs and cherry tomatoes for a while now, but last year I really started to think about all the fruits and vegetables that our land could be producing. We are fortunate here at Hello HQ to have a large yard and I feel the land is wasted growing a lawn. So, I’ve plotted out a nice patch of land and am going to have it as our fruit and vegetable garden.

I’m excited to report that our backyard now has two raised garden beds which are full of edibles. The sad news is, things haven’t really taken off as anticipated and our plants seem to be there but not growing. I think it’s the soil so I’ve done my best to improve it. While I wish I had some great results to show you, I guess I should be pleased that at the very least I have garden beds with great potential for veggies. I’ve also been lucky that random fruit seeds have sprouted and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they will provide some fruit in future. Overall, I think I’ve done okay and will continue with my goal towards an edible food forest here at Hello HQ.

Grow a Green Wall

Apart from a green wall looking amazing, I’m hoping to grow one on the west-facing side of the house in an attempt to keep the temperature controlled. During a few 30+°C days, you could really feel the intense heat from inside. Having an air conditioner on all day really isn’t an ideal solution, so I’m hoping that growing a green wall might be.

I’ve mentioned to The Parents about my wish to grow some sort of green wall, which they liked in theory but weren’t really convinced about it in practice. My idea was to grow some kind of deciduous climber to help block out the Summer heat and let in the Winter warmth. I haven’t made progress with this goal, but it’s something that’s still on my to-do list.

Install a Rainwater Tank

With all the greenery that I’m hoping to grow and maintain, it makes sense to have a rainwater tank to help with watering needs. Hello HQ was built years before these were mandatory, so I’m hoping to have one ‘retrofitted’ somewhere.

My plan to install a rainwater tank did not go ahead. A relatively simple goal, but my money went to other priorities this year. Perhaps I’ll get around to having one installed in the new year.

Visit my Younger Sister in Japan

I know, I know, I set this as a goal in 2014 and in 2015 and didn’t achieve it either of those times. My Younger Sister has been living and working in Tokyo for a few years now and it would be nice to finally see her in person, as well as explore what Japan has to offer. Well, here’s hoping third time’s the charm.

Wa-heyyy! Guess who finally made her way to Japan?! With a lot of haphazard planning, The Parents and I visited my Younger Sister and we trekked around Tokyo and parts of Japan for a family holiday. It was such a great experience and I am hoping to visit again one day. For now, I can at least reminisce with my photos and blog posts. My personal favourites were seeing all the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park in Tokyo, our stay in Arashiyama and the amazing hot spring hotel, feeding the deer in Nara Park, and having dinner at Wakkoqu and at Akasaka Tantei.

Read at least 5 Books this year

Five books sounds like nothing, but I honestly don’t read as much as I did before. I’m not even sure I picked up a book in 2015. When I used to commute to work by train, I would always have a book with me to read on the 45min journey, and I tore through books (figuratively) like no tomorrow. Nowadays I drive (public transport would be awkward at best), so if I want to read I need to consciously set time aside for it. Which I don’t. Which is why I’m setting a goal to read at least 5 books this year.

I set a realistic goal here and still didn’t make the time to achieve it. The only books I finished reading were ‘1Q84’ by Haruki Murakami (which could count as 3 books since it’s a triology if you let me cheat on this one) and ‘The BFG’ by Roald Dahl (which is a re-read of a childhood favourite). I’m currently halfway through reading ‘The Angel’s’ Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, but doubt I’ll finish by the end of the year.

Continue to Experience Sydney like a Tourist

I look like a tourist, so I may as well explore like one. Last year, I decided it would be the year I venture out in Sydney more, and I’d like to think that I managed to do that. Granted, I wasn’t going out every weekend, but I certainly pushed my homebody self to get out more. And I really enjoyed it. I think everyone tends to take their hometown for granted, that we tend to not notice all the little things that make it great. So this year, I’m hoping to continue experiencing Sydney like a tourist and find wonder in my own hometown.

Well, I tried my best to get out and about in Sydney more often. I visited some new places as well as re-visited some favourite festivals that were on again. It has been so much fun and worth the effort to get out of the house. I always wish that I could have seen or done a bit more, but overall I’m happy that I’m doing my best to see what Sydney has to offer.

So that’s it for another year! Some goals achieved and others not, which (I need to remind myself) is quite normal. I’m thankful for the year I’ve had and hopeful about the year ahead. As always, thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you around in the new year, where I’ll have some new goals and perhaps some old ones again.

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