Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013: Old and New

2013 is the first year since 2009 that I have called one city my place of residence. From this perspective my year seems in line with what I wrote a year ago about how shockingly stable 2013 seemed destined to be. However, 2013 brought visits to approximately seventeen new cities, eleven countries (four of them new), lots of sleeping in different beds, floors, and couches, and loads of new people. But in spite of all the new and unexpected happenings of 2013, it was also filled with lots of old and familiar. Reunions with old friends and family, visits to cities I used to live in, and adventures with old friends. Here is the new and old of 2013:

Old: Celebrating New Years in Chicago with old Valpo friends and jetting off to South Africa and the end of the month to see old friends from Korea and my dad.
New: Presenting a paper at a conference and becoming speechless for the first time at the first audience question (what is circumcision?)

Old: Rendezvous with my dear partner in crime in Korea, Shea, in South Africa. Then the familiarity of admirably dull Botswana with its cows and delightful mountain bike trails. A visit from an old Valpo friend living in Austria.

New: The start of a new quarter of classes and the beginning of football season.

Old: Visit from my best friend Rebecca to run a half marathon. Weekend meeting  in London to see Lindsey my old college roommate.

New: Celebrating my birthday with new friends and reaching a quarter of a century!

Old: Visiting little Altenkirchen Germany for a weekend of crafting and running with Rebecca.

New: Seeing a different side of Germany.

Old: A final visit from Rebecca before she started a new adventure in Rwanda.

New: Experiencing real Greek hospitality in Athens and Crete with my roommate for Greek Orthodox Easter festivities.

Old: Visits from two Valpo friends!
New: Surprise trip to Trondheim, Norway for a lovely week of couchsurfing!

Old: Seeing old friends and family in Washington DC, Boston, and Ann Arbor.
New: Getting my first academic paper published and presenting at a conference. Hitchhiking adventures to Paris with new friends.

Old: Saying goodbye to a house that I've spent the longest time in. Two weeks in an old city--Munich--for new adventures.
New: The start of Climate KIC  summer school and meeting some of the most wonderful people in the world.

Old: Spontaneous day trip to Brussels to visit a dear Korean flight attendant friend.

New: Saying goodbye to my amazing new Climate KIC friends. Writing a business plan. Giving a pitch for our business idea.

Old: Visiting a friend in Freiburg with a stop on the way back in dear old Darmstadt where some of my first travel adventures began and this blog was birthed.

New: Spending a week on a boat with interesting new people learning more about sustainability.

Old: Reunion with summer friends in Budapest. The start of a lovely visit from my favorite mother.
New: Travels to new cities: Budapest, Tunis, Gent, Maastricht.

Old: Conclusion of my mother's visit and the start of utter insanity.
New: Christmas in Vienna and skiing in Obertaurern.

I think the most important thing that 2013 brought was the acceptance that my life journey is different, just like everyone's is slightly different. Instead of constantly pondering and in some respect seeking stability, I realized this summer that when I strip away what everyone else is doing and stop comparing myself to them, I'm pretty content in my nomadic life. Maybe its not typical to move so frequently and travel like its my job, but I like it. People and places flit in and out of life and I realized that's okay. Saying goodbye is always hard but just because its hard doesn't mean I should avoid it since even when living in one place people come and go. However, I also realize that I've neglected to keep in touch with dear people this summer and fall and I hope I can remedy that in 2014. So here's to 2014: a year where I hope I can fully embrace instability, moving, new and old faces and places, the thrill of exploring a new place, learning and growing.

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