Au revoir, 2012.

expat life thoughts travels

This year was bittersweet. With all the stresses of starting a new life in a new country-making new friends, finding a new job….there was a lot going on. And not all of it was nice. Then again, it was our first year of marriage, and despite all the things we had to go through this year, 2012 wasn’t all bad. It definitely had its high points! (Although I hope that next year will have more high points than low points, if I’m being honest).

I thought of doing a big month-by-month year in review, as I’ve done before, but I’m just not feeling it this year. I’d like to quietly say goodbye to the old, and welcome in the new with all the optimism and positivity I can muster.

Some personal highlights of my year:

Travel-Paris with my dearest Lindsey and my love Jon in June. Such an amazing trip, a dream, really, being there with two of my favorite people in the whole wide world. In April I took a long bus journey to Nottingham to see Penny-my first trip to the North of England! Exeter for a fancy -and soaking wet-summer wedding in July. A great Ohio visit with weddings and love in September.

Music-Probably the least amount of shows I’ve been to in a year since I first started going to them when I was a teenager. Only a few concerts, as it’s so much harder to see them here, sadly. I still managed to see Ryan Adams and the Civil Wars (for the 2nd time and pre-breakup which prevented the 3rd time!), respectively. I listened to a lot of great bands though, so I can’t complain too much. Now I’ve got a better understanding of the music scene in the UK, I hope to find more ways to enjoy live music in the future (saving up for a summer festival like Glastonbury, for example-lots of great bands in one place is well worth the ticket price and travel time in this country).

Books-The best book I read this year, hands down, was Swamplandia. Amazing. And I loved the first of the Call the Midwife series-I learned so much, both of midwifery and the East End of London in the post-war years. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao kept me on my toes and taught me a helluva lot of interesting Spanish, and Shanghai Girls was magical. I fell unashamedly in love with The Hunger Games series (and was subsequently pretty disappointed with the first movie, but hope the second will be better), and I finally read A Moveable Feast, a copy of which I purchased in Paris and will treasure forever. Atwood’s The Blind Assassin was another masterpiece from one of my favorite authors, and Black Dogs by Ian McEwan was a short bit of heartbreak. (You can follow along with what I read here, although I’m terrible at keeping it updated).

Work-Professionally, I found a teaching job that I love this year, with interesting students and fantastic coworkers, and I picked up a fair amount of freelance writing on the side-all things I hope to continue with and improve upon. I also completed a grueling CELTA course, which I didn’t want to do, but which I’m glad I have to put on my CV, so, ya know, all’s well that ends well in that regard.

Personal-This was a year of learning and growing, to be certain. I have never in my life felt as old as I do now, and I mean that in the least ironic way possible. This was a year that had some fairly low valleys, and not as many high peaks as one would like. But I think that’s to be expected when one moves their entire life to a new place and starts from scratch. And at least I felt very loved through all of it, albeit lonely at times.

In 2013 I hope to become a better friend and wife, keep cultivating new friendships and nurturing old ones, and letting the people I love know how much they mean to me. I want to spend more time reading, writing, and making things, and less time on the internet. More time planning and less time complaining. Working harder to be a better version of me. On a more tangible level, I want to save more money  and pay off debts (Jon and I are going into ultra-save-mode come January), but, perhaps contrarily, I want to do some interesting travelling next year too. Hopefully Paris again, a trip to Oman to visit dear friends, and America in time for the holidays next year. A beach holiday with my dear husband would be nice too, but that maybe be asking for too much….we’ll see. I also want to do more yoga, and maybe try out some of the hot variety. And I’d like to do another half marathon, but we’ll see how that goes. I just want to be stronger, and healthier, and better. Here’s to a year of great things-I’m looking at you, 2013.

2 thoughts on “Au revoir, 2012.”

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