"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Year in Review

I haven't done one of these before, but several of my friends have posted their own yearly reviews over the past few days, so why the heck not?  Let's take a look at good old 2013.  I've had an impressive 12-month stretch.

January -- Back home with family in VA.  Slow, less-than-great start.  Dealt with confusion and depression after returning to Georgia got yanked out from under me in December.  But then... I got accepted to teach in Istanbul!

February -- Got settled in my new life and work in Istanbul, and struggled with discovering the enormity of discipline problems at my school.  Did a fair bit of city sightseeing.

Will always be one of my favorite buildings in the world.
Met some good friends, especially my would-be roommate Rachel. We found our fabulous apartment, but discovered too late that it so happened to be in the most boring neighborhood in the entire city.  So began what would be many nights in.  At the end of the month, I traveled for a long weekend to Izmir and Ephesus.

March -- Continued to face challenges at work.  Discussed possible solutions with both my school and program, and in some classes at least, things began to improve.  Also continued exploring Istanbul a little, but not as much as I should.  Got myself over to beautiful Kadikoy on the Asian side, and celebrated several expat birthdays.  Oh, and I introduced Rachel to Doctor Who, changing our (Istanbul) lives forever. :)

April -- Traveled for a long weekend over to Kadikoy again, and visited The Prince's Islands.  Watched more Doctor Who.  And I think that's pretty much all that happened in April.

May -- On a whim, booked a flight to Egypt.  Freaked out in equal parts joy and terror.  I also traveled to incredible Cappadocia for what would be the highlight of my entire time in Turkey.

At the end of the month, my excellent friend Sarah came to stay with us for nine days, which was the perfect reason/excuse to knock out pretty much all the remaining items on my Istanbul Bucket List.

June -- So Turkey kind of exploded, socially and politically anyway.  Stayed as far away from all that as I could, but it was still rather unsettling.  Meanwhile, my Istanbul adventure was finally drawing to a close!  Said farewell to expat friends Rachel, Mallory, and Sarah, and headed off to Egypt!  Which was, and probably will always be, the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Aswan, Nile cruise, Luxor, Karnak, Valley of the Kings and King Tut's tomb, Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria.  (And yes, I know I still haven't done the pyramid post!  Here's a teaser.)

And then, the day before Egypt exploded, I flew home and only a few short days later found myself holding my brand-new nephew in Pensacola.

June was... not boring to say the least!

July -- Finished up a not-quite month-long stay in Pensacola with Eve, Brad, and Paxton.  Then flew home for three days before roadtripping it up to Pemaquid Lake, Maine.

August -- More Maine!  Lobster and swimming and dockside cocktails.  And one adventure sliding on my ass down a mountain, lost, in a rainstorm.  Good times.  But mostly swimming and cocktails, here:

Eventually tore myself away and drove home to Springfield so I could start to get my future in order.

September -- I was offered a teaching position in Kassel, Germany!  Teaching adults no less!  Accepted (natch), and found myself in Germany less than a week later.

October -- Began teaching, and explored Kassel.  Met some expats.  Began the visa process, which of course included Health Insurance Fun.  Worked.  Wrote lesson plans.  Wrote more lesson plans.  Oh, and TPS Reports, just for laughs.

November -- Worked, rode buses and trams, wrote lesson plans, and completed TPS Reports.  Turned 34 with buffalo wings and good friends.  And the Christmas Market opened in Kassel.

December -- Worked, rode buses and trams, wrote lesson plans, and completed TPS Reports.  Visited the Christmas Market a bunch.  Finally got my work visa!!  And flew HOME on the 20th!!  Had an incredible Christmas with family and NYE with friends.

Not a bad year.  Best yet?  I dunno... Georgia in 2011 and Georgia/backpacking in 2012 are pretty tough contenders for that title as well.  Life has been pretty unequivocally great these past three years or so.  There's no denying that.

And now, what's in store for 2014, you ask?  Well.  My two New Year's Resolutions are to learn German (formally, by taking classes) and to re-establish some kind of health regimen.  With all the excitement, awesomeness, and schnitzel above, this hasn't exactly been a priority for me recently, but now that I actually have something resembling stability (for the moment), I'd like to change that up a little.  Join a gym maybe even?  We will see.

I'd also really like a little more financial solvency, not to mention maybe a slightly better work-life balance here, so there may be some changes on the horizon as well.  Change is good!  It keeps me on my toes and -- always important -- gives me something to blog about.  Stay tuned, lovers.

EDIT:  How could I have forgotten???  Travel goals/plans/wishes for 2014!  They are many, and range from the almost certain to almost impossible, but you never know.  First:  see more of Germany, obvs.  I'm hoping/planning to make a trip in the spring (maybe two weeks), and explore southern Germany -- Munich, Dachau, Schloss Neuschwanstein, down into Salzburg so I get to add another country to my list, and over to Freiburg and the Black Forest.  Need to price it and see about timing, but this is the nebulous hope for now.  My family and several friends have also expressed interest in coming over, so that may be something to look forward to.

Recently I've become obsessed with two enormous travel dreams.  The first is this very expensive cruisetour I found that takes you to all the must-sees in China and all the way into Tibet!  The second is this backpacking dream of hitting the major Mesoamerican ancient sites (with lots in between of course) -- Tikal, Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan, what's left of Tenochtitlan in Mexico City... and eventually, of course, all the way down to Machu Picchu in Peru.  Sadly both of these are rather exponentially out of my budget for now, but isn't it nice to dream?  Who knows, maybe the Travel Channel will see this and sponsor me to go.  Nudge nudge.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Your year was awesome. Totally hoping to come visit this year!!!