I wanted to do some kind of 2011-round up, but I couldn’t find the right format. Finally, I borrowed these questions from Holly, who borrowed them from Sundry. Only they were a bit quicker about this than I am. But since it’s not January 6th yet and I can still wish you a happy new year with an unemcumbered heart, I’m going to post them anyway. Enjoy! And feel free to leave your own responses in the comments.
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
I was going to say, move to a foreign country but that’s not entirely true. But I’m sticking with the foreign thing – travel to an Arabic country. Going to Jordan was exhilarating and disorientating – and I loved every minute, even the corny camel ride.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I refuse to do New Year’s resolutions, so I didn’t make any. Sorry.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A friend from high school. And several college acquaintances all got pregnant at the same time. B. freaks out when I talk about kids, though, so I can’t mention it too often or he gets a really worried look on his face.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My cousin, Paul. Five days into the new year. One year ago this week, in fact.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
My driver’s license. It’s been tough going and I curse the Dutch custom of driving stick shifts and making us all spend at least a thousand euro’s on our licenses. It better be worth it when I finally hold that card in my hands!
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Well, January 5th, because of Paul’s death. June 6th, because it was our first anniversary. Other than that, I’m not sure. Apparently I don’t pay attention to specific dates.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving in with B., even if it is on a part-time basis. For two people as complicated and with as much baggage as B. and me, it’s a pretty big accomplishment that we haven’t killed each other yet.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Finding a job after graduation. It took me six months and even then it was only a secretary position. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about office politics and rejoiced in each and every paycheck (there’s nothing like the powerlessness of being on government benefits to make you appreciate earning your own money!) but it wasn’t exactly how I envisioned life after graduation. It’s a good thing that I was applying to grad school, or I would have questioned why, exactly, I was so proud of graduating cum laude since it clearly wasn’t of any use in the real world.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I hurt my back. It still hasn’t fully recovered and I’m a bit wary about lifting heavy stuff, now. Otherwise, I think I was okay. My mom was in the hospital enough for the whole family, I guess.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Food, lots of glorious food. B. and I would go on food-shopping dates, like the one in Rotterdam or the time we biked to Kleve, Germany, or just in town itself to the international stores scattered about or to the local grocery store to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales. What can I say? We like to eat.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Not to books. Unemployment (September 2010 till March 2011) meant my book budget was severely curtailed and it never really recovered. I just ordered a bunch of books for my dissertation project and you would not believe the thrill when they arrived.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Mormons. A bit of an odd answer, perhaps, but researching Mormon culture and religion for my dissertation application brought so much joy to my life – I felt at home with books and academics in a way I hadn’t felt about anything after graduation. Also, that my trip to New York included both the J.P. Morgan Library and The Book of Mormon musical. Yes, I am a nerd and I am fine with it.
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
“Zo Stil in Mij”, by Van Dik Hout. It was played at my cousin’s cremation and it reminds me of that day every time it’s played.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Hmm, happier, I think? It was a weird year for me, things fluctuated a lot as I tried to find my place in the world. I lost and gained weight, so that was a wash, and although I worked full-time for the last half of 2011, the earlier unemployment and grad school now kind of cancels it out. So I’m going with happier, so I come out ahead on at least one account.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Pray. Perhaps go to church, although I’m not sure about that part. My non-new year’s resolution this year is to at least attempt to figure out religion, to find a way in which church and God and I can get along, hopefully.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Projecting my fears upon other people. Arguing with B. over trivial matters. Filing at work.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
On a train. The 23rd was for my dad in Leiden, the 24th and 25th for my mom in Groningen, and the 26th for B.’s family in Wageningen. All that travel killed me.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
True Blood, BBC’s Sherlock Holmes, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Chuck, Criminal Minds, and NCIS: LA. I told you, I watch a lot of TV.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I read over a hundred books this year, thanks to my hour’s commute each way to work, trains in general and my Kindle. This was the year of Agatha Christie, as I read almost her entire oeuvre. Also, I fell in love with The Wednesday Wars and Okay for now.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Josh Ritter, whom I saw in concert twice. I hardly ever go to concerts, so you can imagine how much I like Josh Ritter to go twice. Also, Bach’s cello suites, in pretty much every recording. They make me homesick every time for the time I still took cello lessons, but they are also transcendental enough to take me out of myself, and for this, I adore them.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Away we go. And the final Harry Potter.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 24 and I don’t really even remember. I’m pretty sure I baked a cake or two and I think my sisters came to dinner.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being employed in such a manner that actually required some brain power.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Layers, skirts, colors, and cardigans. Something like that.
26. What kept you sane?
B., the prospect of grad school, and therapy. 2011 is also the year that I stopped going to therapy, after two years of continous sessions. That felt good.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Um, just keep breathing? Although I’m pretty sure I already knew that. A bit of a disappointing end, I know, but I kind of distrust big life lessons, so there you go.