decade in review

The annual year-in-review entry is coming, but I just wanted to post some brief thoughts about the decade in review. I'm kind of glad I don't have the only blog pages from 2002-2004, and that 2005, 2006, 2007 are mostly down on paper and ready to be left behind for a good decade or two. This is not going to be exhaustive--really, just whatever brings to mind--although I am sure I will think of more to come back and add over the next few days.

1999: I spent New Year's Eve with my mother, who was living with my Aunt. There was concern about Y2K, but we got up really early to take a flight to Florida and spent a week in Disney World. I really enjoyed Disney World (we had a parkhopper pass, stayed on-site, and had quite a bit of money this time around) but I would never choose to go back to that time when my parents were divorced, and I was a tween, and I had just got back from Kyiv in 1998, and I was struggling at the French Prime Minister's Academy in 1999, and I felt cut off from my primary childhood friends. It was just really not a good scene.

2000: I spent my first full summer (10 weeks) at Camp Elite. It was a formative experience in my life in terms of being happy again, regaining confidence, living in the outdoors. Subsequently I had a good year, grade 9, at the French school. We were a small class of 6 so that made it all the more personal; everyone was invested in my success (Spanish, informatique, histoire) and I just remember being happy (in the context of what I had had) and like I was in control of my life. No complaints really that year.

2001: The first half of the year I was still at the French School, the second half of the year I started at Posh. Considering I entered a new school where, for the most part, everyone already knew each other, I did really well; but, then again, 9/11 also happened, and the year that followed was one of sadness in North American society, so it would hardly have been a Gossip Girl year even if I wanted it to be. During the summer of 2001 I only went back to Camp Elite for a month, which was a mistake but not life altering. Not a good year, not a bad year, just a year of life.

2002: The first half would have still been Grade 10, the second half Grade 11. I started the International Baccalaureate program, and the bilingual certificate at my school which put me into a certain group of students at Posh. I was also involved in a weekly group therapy session at Posh sponsored by a local hopsital that had sample groups at schools all over the city; I probably underestimate how much fun and how stimilutating that was in my life at the time. I was also close with various admin and classmates before all our roles changed and shifted. Big went to Emmanuel's jump school graduation March 23; Andrea Yates was on everyone's (our) mind. I was a two-month Q/C.

2003: My father died February 13. Mid-March I went to Costa Rica with some classmates on a service trip for two weeks. That was a such a nice trip--the first time I had been overseas since 1998 and just a nice time hanging out with friends who were like family. Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and it was a good time to be distracted. Before the summer, I was elected a Prefect at Large and my soon-to-be-best-friend Head Girl. The summer was breezy, I learned the real meaning of work as a Semi, but I loved it...days-off, meeting Emily, great new friends, and looing forward to "Senior Year." Back at school in the fall we all started off running, there were 12 off us Prefects and 12 of us IB girls, with some mix of us doing both. It was busy with organizing school events, sports, university visits, parties, actual school work...I remember being busy every day and so, so happy. I did not get early admission to the Maple School on December 15.

2004: That year I graduated in June. In the time leading up to that, we went to Peru in March for three weeks...did some service work, hiked Machu Picchu. At the end, a lot of us were unhappy because we were graduating, and Spence had taken over at Christmas, and I knew immediately from reading her personality what her PR-blitz and nasty ways would mean for everyone. But we couldn't do much about it...and we had no idea how far she would go. We all graduated, made plans to go off to college; I dropped the ball on every school I had thought I wanted to attend, and picked YUS sight-unseen because it was cheap, well-known, and many family members had attended. I worked during the summer...enjoyed my kids, the summer sun, and days-off in only a way that those who truly don't need to work do.

The fall I started at YUS, lived in residence where I didn't feel like I fit in because I had too much money, wasn't popular, and not Catholic. On my 18th birthday, December 4, the estate transfered to me. December 7 or 8 I flew to Nashville, met Big for the first time.

2005: The end of my first year was pretty low-key, in hindsight. I wasn't taking a lot of classes, they were easy, I had a lot of time on my hands, and so I excelled. I spent my last summer at Camp Elite (though I don't think I knew it at the time) and then moved into an apartment with Emily in Toronto in the fall. We had a great time...going to dinner, movies, shopping, just enjoying life together. I started working at the pool, after not being hired the first round. I overloaded my course load in an attempted to leave YUS as soon as possible; I had social bumps the last few months of the year, didn't really feel like I knew anyone in the city, but I had Emily to depend on.

2006: I started to meet lots of new people, network, and make personal connections. The school year ended o.k. I slowed down in some classes, but I was fine overall. I enjoyed work at the pool, and went to Asia for the first time during the summer for my summer abroad course in Hong Kong & China. I took a side trip to Thailand, and came home to work maintenance in August. I started back to school in 2006, not realizing that Emily had problems of her own; I really started to come into my own friends at the pool, and at school I was fine-tuning my interests.

2007: This was a great year, in hindsight (not sure if I knew it at the time), although I did have some supervisory-related work problems at the pool in the beginning; eventually they realized that they didn't want to lose me. The year went smoothly--good grades, good money, good work. I went back to Asia in August: toured Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. It was nothing earthshattering, but I enjoyed myself and the opportunity to flex the knowledge that I can pretty much just go wherever and do whatever whenever from now on. I became more familiar with the pool & school schedules, flying down to visit Big at least once a month. Once he came back from Iraq the second time, we spent a great month on the Jersey Shore. Emily and I had a falling out over a boy who doesn't even matter now, and I moved into a cheap apartment with a crazy girl I knew from first year.

2008: I graduated on time, though for me it felt late because I decided not to finish early, so I could take a class with a very famous professor who was rather dull. By the end I was working 40 hours a week, and planning to stay on until the end of the summer. I moved to New Mexico in September, left all of my pool friends behind. I met Big's family in April, and we subsequently went up to Denver 4-5 times to visit with them at major holidays; I really like his sister, brother-in-law, less so her actual children; his mother I understand from having dealt with similar women at Posh. My cousin' Anthony's mother died suddenly in December; I opted to come home after Christmas for a week. I enjoyed my time with Big in NM, but I fell into depression that happens easily when you don't know many people or have too much "important" going on to stabilize your life. I sold about $8000 worth of stuff on eBay, but it just was not rewarding work.

2009: It's been a reasonably good year, if not what I expected. "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." (Joseph Campbell) I applied to graduate school, and got in (thankfully) even though I didn't think that actually going back to school was for me. I applied to the Maple School for summer school, to close the door on that dream, and then ended up realizing that I didn't need to go after all. (It was just too expensive.) I spent a month back in Canada in March, cleaning out my aunt's apartment, helping my cousin cope, and spending lots of time with Jabu and my extended family that I now really consider my close, real family. I was back in Canada in May and July, and then moved to Israel.

I enjoyed the summer ulpan, even though I didn't really think much of it at the time; I was back at home (in NM) for three wonderful weeks while Big was unemployed (as good as sudden unemployment can be) and then back to school, where the first month or two just blew by between meeting people, activities, and events. December I hit a lull: my birthday really made me feel depressed, like I have failed at so many things in life; and the Christmas season both away from family and Big and any sense of Christmas normalcy put me into a fugue that had me barely treading water, and only just now getting out of it.

2010: Well, I guess now we have a new decade starting. I rang in the year with a really, really wonderful party; it was big, but close friends that are like family here came and we had a potluck with lots of good food and memories before those semester-abroad students we have become close to leave us next week. I am looking forward to 2010, optimistically trying not to "plan" what is supposed to happen. I am going to try and live in the moment; even now if you ask "what are you looking forward to?" it's not my health today or waking up being gifted with tomorrow. It's buying a plane ticket home once my cousin's girlfriend deposits my cheques; writing (and passing) my Hebrew exam January 22nd; trying to triage my work so I can go back to Canada and spend two weeks with my (less-baby-now) cousins in the snow, and bake, and ski, and hike, and roast marshmellows on the fire, and visit pool friends (sick, healthy, and preganant) so that I can come back to Israel at the end of February and hack out another semester.. And hope that Big's work improves, and that he can go overseas now so that we have a future; and so that I can go away during Pesach, and not think to much about not knowing the next time our schedules will meld, and just trying to finish the semester in June, to restart ulpan in August, to apply to the foreign service in September, and not gouge my eyes out so that I can start the second year of my M.A. here for $20,000 next October even though now I've realized I'm "better" at real life than school.

(I'm kind of a lot like Big now in terms of knowing that I'm smarter and more intelligent than the average person even without a $50,000 piece of paper. )

Before & After


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