|Original Memory Locket, 2011|
So, it's been 6 years now, since you left us. 6 years and 3 months almost to the day, that I had the saddest day in my life. Left is too gentle of a word for me- people say it so gracefully, even when people were stabbed earlier this week on London Bridge in England. I've thought of you so much these past few weeks, Stephanie. How is the world such a mess?
Taken. Stolen. Snatched. Ripped Away. Died. Robbed of a life.
Those are words I'd use instead. One of the girls who died in the London Bridge attack was a Canadian named Chrissy Archibald, and she made me think of you. Kind, generous, happy, laughing - apparently her spirit was so full of optimism that she dedicated her career to social work and worked in homeless shelters. In fact, people have started a Twitter account for her memory, and to donate to charities in her name.
2017 Life Update for You, Stephanie
While I'm three months late in my post this year, Stephanie, it's not because I forgot. Not at all - in fact, I still wear that memory necklace around my neck every day. Actually I never really intended to; it just kind of became a habit and stuck. Sometimes, I pause before I put it on, and remember your beautiful face and spirit. Of course, you know me. I'm not the most elegant person out there - and so there is no way the photo and flower in the locket are in their original condition - but the memory will never fade.
It's not because I forgot - March 4th will always be an ominous day in my mind; it's because I waited until I could take a day to sit, to think, to breathe. Despite my insane workload at the moment (at the moment?!, you'd say, when isn't it insane?), I decided to dedicate a couple hours this afternoon to sit in silence, and think.
Do you know how many horrible things are going on in this world these days, Steph? (Or is it that we're just more informed now, and the world has always been this way)? Truly, I hope your soul is in a better place. The extremist attacks, "terror attacks" as they call them, seem to be becoming more frequent.
So, Steph, while this year I don't have a special poem or graphic or tribute like years before, but I'm thinking of you as always.
A New Blog
In fact, I have quite a life update, one you'd love I'm sure. I have a new blog, The Teaching Cove! You were always a loyal reader of my Singaporelizard blog, from the day I began it, so I can't even imagine what you'd think of my new one. It's for English teachers, and I can't even believe it wasn't a part of my life a year ago. Actually, I only started planning it one year ago, and launched it 5 months later. I sell e-books, make free resources, and I'll soon create courses and novel study guides for teachers everywhere.
|Kiara on the terrace, May 2017|
Kiara and I are still hanging out in Barcelona, Spain and I'm still trying to finish my PhD. One more year! As you may have noticed, I'd much prefer to teach, run my own business and blog than work on my PhD project. Well, I suppose that's because of the way it goes here in Spain - sloooowly. Oh, K and I spent 3 months in Holland, Steph, last September to December. Efficient. Fast. Productive. Wow, did my PhD take off in those three months. Actually, I even took programming courses - yuck, do I hate those - and pre-processed a ton of data. Now, the PhD seems like a snail-paced endeavour once again. I'll finish it, though!
Actually, I make motivational posters every week now, for the people who sign up for my emails on my blog. (There are over 1300 people, Steph!) It's going so well. You know me - I'm researching like crazy - and learning a ton from my "Blogger Heroes", as I call them. One day, it will be my full time career. It's so sad to me that you won't get to see that, Steph. I wish I could share it with you. In fact, I wish you could visit me here in Barcelona and meet all my new friends.
Remember the Paranormal Investigations?
Honestly, it seems a bit surreal writing to you, almost as if you were here reading it over my shoulder. Wouldn't that be insane? Do you know how much I would love that? I know how much you would have loved that, being here and experiencing "the other side".
Always a skeptic, you know that I never truly believed in the investigations, but I listened to your stories and was curious. Well, now I hope they're true. I hope they're real, and that your spirit can somehow, in some form, know something about our lives here on this planet.
Well, until next year, Steph. Take care, wherever you are.
Lots of love xxx,
P.S. If you'd like to see my other annual tributes to Steph, they are here: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016