Saturday, 25 February 2017

Full Circle

I'll start by saying I have mixed feelings about not writing this blog for some time. On the other hand, in the past year my life has changed beyond recognition, in a positive way. And so it is with a bitter sweet feeling that I write my final blog post in this chapter. I've learned never to say never, so I may be back for QPR in some shape or form but it feels unfair to you, my readers, to promise the same sort of posts that have dominated my weekends and some week nights for the past five years.

I've supported QPR since 1990, but it really became one of the most important things in my life since I started writing this blog. It has been a joy to write it and to see that people were interested to read what I had to say. It also provided me with some sort of protection for my life in London, when I lived a stressful work existence. It was my boyfriend when I lived a single life as a person who never developed a meaningful relationship with anyone. QPR let me down a few times but overall I cannot thank the obsession enough for giving me the strength to build myself up after what was honestly a very traumatic time after the loss of my mother. I didn't know it then, but I sure as hell know it now.

I thought about the title for this post 'Full Circle' some time ago when Ian Holloway came back to manage the team. At that point, I had already decided to stay in Asia and move to Hong Kong for a new job. I had found a wonderful boyfriend in the Philippines, someone I could imagine growing old with and someone who I knew in my heart of hearts was a kind and giving person. A good 'egg'.

For those who have read my blog in the past you will know that going to the Philippines was a decision I made to give myself time and space to breathe and to try some things I had always promised myself: to help some NGOs and to travel the country a little. I did do some of that, and learned what was most useful was helping people help themselves. I learned that the skill I've honed in the corporate world was worth something and used that to help those less fortunate. I also spent time in places my mother loved, fixing a house she had helped to design thereby preserving her memory and visiting our old home a few times which is now a beer bar. I also struggled to keep up with friendships I felt had existed for me before and was disappointed at times. And I watched as the country voted itself in to the hands of another psychotic dictator with a great sense of unease and fear for mine and my friends' safety. And one evening just before my 39th birthday last June I saw a guy at a bar drinking a beer; watching a movie on his own and decided it might be worth asking him if he wanted another drink on me...we had a date the following week and the rest, as they say, is history.

The truth is that going back to the Philippines this time around was a chance to make new, positive memories. And despite such a frightening political backdrop I changed my life for the better and gave myself the chance to open a box of emotions I had not done for over twenty years. I had, in effect, come full circle.

My Hong Kong childhood is peppered with a mixture of unique social experiences and very sad family problems. So when the chance to move here with my partner arrived, my gut reaction was 'No, take me back to London!'. But I forced myself to reconsider...In the end I thought, 'I've come this far already, maybe it is time to put those Hong Kong ghosts to bed'. Now that I am here, I've done a few things differently: chosen a funky pad in a very central area that I would never live in back in London (far from where I grew up as a child), I am planning to take up Cantonese, I am looking up what concerts, cultural events and museums there are...I am living my life differently. Obviously...I am adult now and that makes much of the difference. As I turn forty this year it is probably about time that I lived my life for me instead of following a path that I think will make others happy. I always used to watch others make these big decisions in their lives- like moving country, getting married, having children etc. People who moved on. I used to think these were things that happened to other people and not to me.

Perhaps that is the challenge that QPR as a club has in the coming years. It is such a wonderful club due to its small size and its incredibly loyal fans. It has always had the capability to do better than it has because of its long and colourful history, its location, the loyal fans and some of its greatest players. Its about time that the club dug a little deeper and found its real identity instead of reaching for something unattainably out of character. With the pressures of the football world: its politics and the money swirling around I realise that is hard ask. And while recent results are not consistent under Holloway I do feel we have a manager that represents us going back to our roots somewhat. Perhaps it isn't such a bad thing.

So on this cold Saturday morning in Hong Kong, I write this final post looking forward to listening to tonight's match against Preston. I bid you farewell for now and send to you so much gratitude for bringing me so much joy, some incredible memories and the most beautiful friendships. I am forever indebted always will be a lover of QPR.