After Laos, the big Asian trip headed into heady Vietnam and amazing Cambodia - both were spectacular in completely different ways ... the stormy motorbike ride through the countryside near Hue was one of the best parts of the trip, and the temples surrounding Siem Reap were completely absorbing. The whole trip went way too fast and definitely left me hanging for more - overall, a succession of beautiful, tranquil moments mixed in with the general chaos and craziness that is modern Indochina.
I was lucky to get a great tour group as well which always makes things so much more enjoyable - my previous trip to South America was also fantastic, so hopefully the next one will be equally as charmed (Central America or Japan/China are the contenders, but who knows if that'll come to pass in '09?).
On the work front, to say a lot's been happening would be the understatement of the year - I celebrated my sixth anniversary at work in October, which is a scary thought in and of itself. My boss also departed to head up another team around that time, which left me in charge ... and, eventually, to applying for his job and then getting it! The new Government has set a rip-snorting pace and I've been pretty much chasing my tail ever since ... it's nice to have a new focus, but I'm hoping to get some 'head space' at some point so I can properly adjust to this whole managerial thing.
I was also lucky enough to take a trip to England for work in June, to attend a couple of conferences, meet our 'sister' agencies over there and generally learn a bit more about the UK health system. The NHS is an interesting beastie, and one with a fair amount in common with ours, so it was a great opportunity all in all (and one again which went far too quickly). Of course, it was a lot of fun seeing a good number of the old London crew again over a lager or two ... it's beyond strange to think that it's coming up to nine years since I first set foot on those fair isles (and yes, the grey hairs are beginning to make an appearance too, which was another new experience in 2008!).
I also managed to squeeze in a few trips around New Zealand (home, weddings, concerts, weekends away, etc) and welcomed/caught-up-with people in Wellington too, which was great. The lovely Tom and Meg were in town for Webstock last week (and it was lovely to meet the charming Matt too), so it's been fantastic catching up with them and generally reminiscing about the good old days circa the turn of the century.