Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 in Review

As per usual, every year I set a NYResolution to write more in my blog...and every year it seems like I get worse and worse with keeping up with it.  But one post that I always try to make time for, if not in my blog then at least in a handwritten journal, is my end of the year reflections.  This year was an especially important year for me in a lot of ways, so here are five breakdowns of my best and worst.

1. Love and Heartbreak
This is the first time I've ever written about my love life on my blog, but as it had such a huge impact on my life and my growth as a person this year, it would be counterproductive to moving on to 2015 to leave it out.  After casually dating (or barely dating at all) basically since high school, in February I met someone who completely altered my life and view on love.  Always being the cynic, scoffing at friends 'in love' or overly affectionate couples in the street, and even worse always dating people I already knew would bore me, I was knocked flat by what I began feeling for this person in just a matter of days.  We had an extremely intense relationship, squeezing what felt like years into months.  When the inevitable end came when he made a last minute move to Germany, I was devastated.  As he left my apartment for the last time, I went from living the highest high of my life to the lowest low with the closing of an elevator door.
After everything I experienced, and now that I am finally over the hump of heartbreak 7 months later, I can finally look back and appreciate it for all the ways that relationship allowed me to live an amazing new experience, and in doing so, make me a more empathetic person.  It's hard to understand people in love when you have never felt it for yourself.  I also see all the flaws that relationship had and understand more now about what I need and want, and what things are non-negotiables.  Despite a lot of hard feelings I had towards this person for a long time, I honestly wish him the best in his life, and I'm ready and happy to close that door.

2. Friendship
This year I realized some really important things about the friendships in my life and how distance really, truly makes no difference.  Most of my best friends in the entire world I get to see once a year or less, but every time I see them I feel my love for these people is just as strong or even stronger than the last time we were together.  I also chose to cut a few people out of my life who were once part of my friend circles or who I once even considered to be people who would be my friends for the rest of my life.  These weren't even conscious decisions, to be honest.  It was more so that at some point I didn't even have to think about it to realize these people were just no longer worth my time or efforts.   I also learned that all friendships have their flaws, and you don't always have to agree or get along with even the people you know are your friends for life.  If you can look past the disagreements and still feel a strong bond with a person, this for me may even be the best sign of friendship.

3. Bad Luck
I CAN'T WAIT to be able to write an end of the year post and NOT mention my perpetual bad luck. For the 3rd consecutive year I had something stolen from me here while living in Madrid!  The count so far is one bag, one computer, one wallet, and two phones.  This is why I can't have nice things.

I moved out of an apartment with the world's worst roommate right at the beginning of 2014 into another place with the world's most awkward roommate.  Just to give a small idea, I had a date over for dinner at the apartment one night and while we were eating a nice almost romantic dinner, my roommate came in and brought his own dinner and sat down at the {very small} table with us.  Talk about mood killer.

And of course, to end the year off JUST RIGHT, I broke my ankle about 2 weeks ago.  Anyone who's known me since middle school knows this was a long time coming, however in the last two months I've been doing more exercise than I have since leaving high school, so how on earth I break my ankle walking through a crosswalk I HAVE NO IDEA.

4. An Epic Summer
Sorry, not sorry, but I have to take a moment to brag about a summer for the books.  My parents came to visit for two weeks at the end of June and I loved having them here, getting to show them around Madrid and taking a trip together to Ireland, not to mention having someone else footing the bill for a time.  Then I "worked" tutoring in the mornings for a month, moved out of that awkward apartment and a generous and lovely friend let me crash her place for a few weeks before I went on my first solo trip.  After spending 3 days in Belgrade with my friend Aleksandra, I went to Dubrovnik, Croatia all on my own.  I'd been dying to go to Croatia and I finally got tired of waiting for someone else to accompany me, so in an attempt to also get some much needed personal reflection and mental health repair time (see #1), I pushed my nerves aside and planned a week there.  This was one of my favorite trips ever and I am now 100% convinced on solo travel.  It was so easy to meet other people and I was a lot more open than I would have been had I gone with other friends.  It reminded me about all the things I first fell in love with about traveling, not to mention Dubrovnik met all my very, very high expectations and even took me beyond what I hoped to experience.
Then, in September I attended my friend Mary's fairytale wedding in the French countryside.  Such a love-filled, beautiful, and romantic weekend reconnecting with two good friends from college.  And then I closed off my summer with a weekend in Munich at Oktoberfest - a big checkmark off my bucket list.  It's everything you would expect - boisterous, traditional, and full of massive, heavy pints of BIER...and cleavage.

5. Work 
In a rare moment for me, I came to one very firm decision this year which is that I will not be continuing with BEDA Auxiliares for a 4th year during the 2015-2016 school year.  This has normally been one of my most difficult decisions in the past two years, but throughout the course of 2014 I realized that yes, I am finally finished being a teacher's assistant.  I love my school and seeing all my incredibly funny and painfully cute kiddos, so I know that saying goodbye and closing this chapter in June is going to be very emotional.  As for what's next, that remains to be seen in 2014.

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