December & my top albums of 2022

A man and woman standing back to back, looking away from each other and away from the camera, in front of a decorated leafy wall with a neon sign reading “Hello Gorgeous”, with the photo cropped from the chest up.
Me and my manager Chris at our work party, trying to take a funny pic.

It’s been such a busy few weeks since the beginning of December that I feel like I haven’t fully recuperated! We spent a week in Melbourne, half working and half filled with some activities, Christmas is over, I spent a lot of time with my family and Nick’s family, and we both had our work Christmas parties, as well as planning our next holiday, and we are coming up to the last days of the year, but we are still working – since this time of year tends to quieten down and be less stressful because many people take time off.

The older I get, the less excited about Christmas I am. It’s not something I feel immense joy about, necessarily, but it’s nice to spend the time with family and friends. I also consider that some people don’t celebrate Christmas at all, so I try to be mindful that they might not feel much for the festive season. Either way, it’s still a nice way to end the year – if you like thinking in years, that is – or at least to “celebrate” what has happened over the year. Personally, I don’t tend to think in years as much as I did ten years ago. Some of you might remember my year in review posts! I think that at times they felt repetitive, and it really shone a light onto my goals over a yearly period and how I hadn’t really achieved them. My mindset has changed, and I tend to think of growth and progress over time instead of boxing them into a singular year. I suppose I sort of “casually reflect” on the year in general, but I don’t really do resolutions or a complete month-by-month summary or anything like that anymore.

Our week in Melbourne was pretty jam-packed. We actually saw comedian Jimmy O. Yang (you might know him from the television show Silicon Valley) in Sydney the night before we left for Melbourne. On Wednesday night in Melbourne we caught up with our friend Zac, who was a groomsman at Nick’s and my wedding. It had been a very long time since we caught up with him so we spent hours chatting over a meal and some dessert. On Thursday, we went for a very long train ride to hop on another train ride – the Puffing Billy steam railway. Then we saw one of my favourite bands, Last Dinosaurs, do a gig at the Esplanade Hotel. Then we had a big evening on Saturday seeing Billy Joel perform his only Australian show this year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The following morning was an early one as we got up for our flight, went to the gym, and later that evening saw The Wombats at the Sydney Opera House back at home. 😂

On top of all that entertainment – which was exceptional, mind you – we had a lot of great food. Some options were quite fancy and on the pricier side, while others were more casual in style and lower in price. But coffees, snacks, brunch, meals, we had it all.

I think I will write a more detailed blog post about our trip at some point, but I can’t promise… I know there are a few travel posts from years gone by that I never ended up writing in detail. 🫠 I thought I’d get to them one day, but I’m not sure that I will. All I know is that blogging about my trips and holidays is something I want to make a better habit of in the new year. (Especially because we have a trip planned next month. 😉)

I was so excited to have a work Christmas party after not having one for a few years. For weeks leading up to the party, I kept asking people in Zoom calls, “Are you going to the Christmas party?” I think we did have a casual picnic in the park in 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic and lockdowns. But this year we were able to have a party at a venue with snacks and drinks. We had a bit of a laugh at the situation with the DJ and the music – we could hear the music from the venue next door a lot better than our venue, and it seemed that they had better songs too. Our DJ ended up being a nice guy who didn’t mind taking our requests, but the sound in the venue just wasn’t great. Oh well, we still danced a lot and had a good time, with me kicking off the dancing – because someone has to! 💃🏻

A selfie of a group of people smiling.
Selfie with some colleagues at the office!
A selfie of two women with short hair. Both are smiling. One of them is wearing a white hat and a black and white top and the other is wearing a blue floral top.
Photo with Farnaz 💙
A woman and man posing in front of a decorated wall with a neon sign reading “Hello gorgeous”. The woman is wearing a black and white strapless dress and white hat and the man is wearing a light blue shirt.
Me and my manager Chris posing with the neon sign
My hand holding two polaroids with myself, Chris and Sam making faces
Me, Chris, and Sam
My hand holding two polaroids, one with myself, Farnaz, and Chris, and the other with a group of people
More photobooth photos 📸

I even joined Nick to go to a Furnace and the Fundamentals concert after he had a work Christmas party during the day, and he had convinced some of his colleagues to join too. We got a photo with “Santa” who was actually the guitarist Digby from the band. 🎅🏻

A group of people posing for a photo with someone dressed in a Santa costume. There are some red and white candy cane props.
With Nick and his colleagues getting a photo with Santa!

For Christmas Eve we spent time with my family (mum, dad, and my brother Brandon), eating at a local brunch place. Brunch at a cafe isn’t usually my parents’ first option for a meal, so I was a little surprised by their choice, but it was nice to do something different. Then they hung out at our place for a bit. It was Brandon’s first time seeing our apartment since we moved in at the beginning of the year. He was sending photos to his girlfriend, hilarious. 😆 He actually needed to do some last minute shopping so we headed over to Bunnings looking at plants. Lucky for me I didn’t get tempted to purchase another plant. (I am pretty pleased with my collection at the moment.)

A selfie of me and my family sitting around a wooden table.
Luhur fam

In the evening we ended up going to an Indonesian noodle bar called Satuco. We have tried quite a few Indonesian noodle places but this one was by far the best! 🍜 It was tasty, not too oily, and the meat and vegetables were cooked really well. Especially the chicken and mushroom in the traditional bakmi noodles.

On Christmas Day we went to Nick’s family’s place for a roast lunch. It’s a tradition we have every year. The week beforehand we had also gone to Nick’s uncle’s for a family lunch.

A selfie of the Cookes family – Nick, myself, Beck, and his mum, grandma and dad
Cookes Christmas 🍪🎄
Me, Nick, and Beck smiling and standing in front of a white wall.
Me, Nick, and Beck 💛
A selfie of me and Nick smiling and wearing paper Christmas crowns.
These crowns from Christmas crackers are funny and bad. 😆

Earlier this week my uncle and his family were in town so we had a big dinner at a Korean barbecue place. One of the people working there happens to be my mum’s distant relative. It just so happened that it was his second last shift because he’s moving interstate to pursue a different career. I suppose it was a bit bittersweet.

This time of year is always busy. But I do enjoy the food and it’s nice to have good company with my family and friends overall. Today was my last day of work for the year and Chris and I ended up playing an online game called My City for several hours. I’ve gotta admit, I normally work on the days between Christmas and New Year, and people definitely don’t work the full day on the last working day of the year. 😅

I don’t do yearly round-up posts anymore, but I did want to share my top albums of 2022. I would absolutely love to discuss them in detail but this post is getting very long, so I’ll write just a short comment for each.

  1. Being Funny In a Foreign Language – The 1975
    This album has my whole heart. Beginning to end. Just, I’m done. It was so good. I could not stop listening to it on repeat the day it was released in November. Incredible storytelling, at times humorous, and emotional, deep lyrics and music in general.
  2. The Loneliest Time – Carly Rae Jepsen
    A fantastic album that was just what I needed when I listened to it. It made me truly appreciate CRJ’s disco vibes. Love, love, love.
  3. From Mexico with Love – Last Dinosaurs
    When five songs were released from the album, I listened to it non-stop. I now listen to the whole album non-stop. I missed so much of Last Dinosaurs’ synth pop/nu-disco vibes and it was wonderful to hear a new album from them.
  4. Fix Yourself, Not The World – The Wombats
    Truly wonderful. I can’t go past a Wombats album. The song Everything I Love Is Going To Die is, as my friend Chris says, “so me”.
  5. Special – Lizzo
    This album packed a punch. So badass, with some catchy, feel-good tunes.
  6. Midnights – Taylor Swift
    I listened to the 3am edition and I almost love the bonus songs more. This album grew on me so much, because in the first few listens I couldn’t quite get hooked. I now know, I love it as much as everyone else seems to. There are a few songs on the album I skip, but otherwise, some solid songs on it.

Looking back on my Hey 2022! post, it seems I did a pretty damn brief summary of 2021 then, instead of at the end of 2021. So let’s just say I’m alright to talk about 2022 on the first day of 2023. The past isn’t really in my control now, is it? I think that for now, I’m cool with sharing the busy month December was, and have all these joyful stories about time with my family and friends. And I very much prefer looking forward.

And I look forward to writing on my blog a lot more in 2023. I also wanted to send a sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog. I know some of you have been reading my blog for a very, very, very long time and still do, some of you even playing catch-up. I appreciate you so much. Thank you for reading my words and my story. 💖🫂

Leave a Comment

Comments on this post