1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Lived in an US state that wasn’t California. Despite the fact that I go to the US twice a year or so, I’m generally there to visit my dad. I spent six weeks in Provo the summer before last, but this year in Utah is the first time I’ve lived outside of California for any significant length of time. Conclusion: Utahns are incredibly friendly (it took me weeks to realize the strangers offering greetings on the street were talking to me), Salt Lake City is incredibly not-diverse, and it confuses the missionaries when I can talk to them in Mormon-speak yet have no plans to convert.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Yes and no. Yes, because I resolved to go the distance, which meant for me basically to be present in whatever I was doing. That’s why I spent a lot of time on trains, to be involved in the lives of my family and friends back in the Netherlands, why I took that intensive German class, and why Skype is the best thing ever. But I also failed at this, since I spent most of that year in Germany hibernating and cultivating my inner introvert because it was just so much easier.
My resolutions for next year are, then, to relearn how to streamline the process of making friends, to follow through with the classes I signed up for at the gym (spinning and yoga), and to learn to snowshoe. (I also have a host of dissertation-related things I want to accomplish but my sister says they don’t count as resolutions, so I won’t bore you with them.)
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Did anyone close to you die?
No on the former, yes on the latter. My grandfather died on Friday, December 13 and I flew home for the cremation, then back to Salt Lake a week later.
4. Did you travel?
Yes. I crossed the German-Dutch border too often to name, but I also made it to the U.S. (first to California, then Utah, and two trips to the East Coast). Surprisingly little European travel this year.
5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you didn’t have in 2013?
Honestly? A boyfriend. Dating sucks.
6. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Landing two fellowships: the Tanner Center one (I really didn’t think I had more than a slight chance at it: you should have seen my face when I opened that email) and the Prins Bernhard one. These should get me through my PhD with relatively little money worries (knock on wood).
7. What was your biggest failure?
I did not succeed at all at building a life in Dortmund that extended beyond my apartment and the office.
9. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?
The Salt Lake public library. During my first weeks here, I had enough fictional friends to keep me company that I wasn’t lonely at all.
10. What song will remind you of this year?
Jars of Clay’s “After the Fight.” I saw them twice in concert this year, once with a good friend, M., the other by myself. I’ve played this song a lot since I got the album.
11. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Is it too late to say dissertation writing?
12. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I could have done without all those fellowship applications. Anyone who has guaranteed funding for their PhD, I alternately felt jealous and hateful of this year.
13. Compared to this time last year, how are you different?
I’m happier, I think. In December last year, I was still really struggling to find my feet after B. and I split up in October. I’m certainly a lot more social, I’m doing better at work, and I’m also going to church a lot more. All good things.
14. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?
I’m still very much an introvert and happy with it. I also still spend a lot of time on Pinterest, although Netflix has become a fierce second contender.
15. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Very slightly, but it wasn’t mutual. No serious love for me this year.
16. What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year?
Book: Code Name Verity; TV: White Collar; movie: Gravity (for its pure epic-ness and also because it might have been the only movie I saw and certainly the only one I saw in the theater); music: “Inland” by Jars of Clay.
18. What did you get really excited about?The public library here. I got a card my second day in Utah and have spent many, many happy hours browsing the stacks since then. I also got really excited about the Natural History Museum, which is how I ended up volunteering there once a week.
19. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had a low-key 26th birthday, just the way I like it, with family and friends. Highlight was my dad taking me to a concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, which was new to me.
20. What’s a life lesson you learned this year?
Sometimes, it’s okay to give up. I hold myself to very high standards, so this took me a while to learn..