2009 summed up
Three days into the new year, it’s time to summarize the old. This is more for personal reference than anything, especially as in my mind the year really runs from September to June, and then there’s summer. So it’s under the cut.
The beginning of 2009 was overshadowed by two events in our family, both firsts for quite a long time: a death and a birth. It felt as though there was a lesson in it to learn about the cycle of life, yet the joy and the sadness seemed unconnected.
In January I escaped into a surreal world, wherein I only left the house six times, four of these being exams. Over that month I translated two books working mostly at night. It was the most exhausting experience I’d had by that time, but it made me feel that I can take a challenge and overcome it. Afterwards, it took me a while to get back to normal life, and as spring term began, I walked around feeling dizzy.
February brought with it a slow reintroduction of myself to the wild, a Will & Grace marathon, a stay at our fanciest hotel to date, and some new levels of human interaction. School began, but the only class I was honestly enjoying was Danish.
March was significant. We toured Ukraine, froze almost to death, and reconnected with some close people. I missed Vilnius, partly because of the good coffee and clean garments that awaited me here, and partly because spring was underway and I was in a state of elevated urbanism.
In April my brother turned 21, which was a jolt back to the reality of time passing. It was abnormally hot, and I was working and studying with a cold latte by my side at all times. My music crisis was deepening (it’s still continuing so many months later), but I was discovering opera. I was struggling with myself, trying to force myself to be someone else and failing.
May took us on a timely and long-anticipated trip to Israel. We spent a few days at the University, a first for both of us, met with many fascinating people and learned a lot. My Hebrew had a growth spurt. We had a brief first encounter with a person that we would fall in love with in a few months. My second nephew was born and we met him within a few days, together with his older cousin. At home, the renovation was going strong.
In June, exams were intermittent with trips to building supply stores. I was frustrated with school once again. So many people were graduating that month that all of the confidence I’d gained in the beginning of the year was evaporating. I felt like an old failure and was trying to occupy myself with realizing the active interest I’d been taking in design and decorating.
By mid-July, I’d been a vegetarian for almost a month, and that was an accomplishment. I turned 23 on the 18th, A. turned 23 on the 30th, and our marriage turned 4 on the 15th. We moved into our own flat. I only wrote three posts on both my blogs together, and the silence would continue. Everyone was preparing for a camp in August, but my contribution was too small; I was considering dropping out and severing my ties with Jewish studies in general.
We did go to the camp in August, the only reason for me to do it being the chance to see the people I love. That worked out well. The camp was both very meaningful and absolutely pointless. I met some people I really liked and spent a lot of time on the bus and away from A. Then there was a lovely klezmer festival in Vilnius. We became better acquainted with a friend’s boyfriend of several months, and met another friend’s wife.
In September, many of our friends left Vilnius for the year and we would have settled into a secluded routine were it not for a life-changing trip to Jerusalem. The people we met changed our outlook on many things, and I fell head over heels in love with them and with the idea of changing the world. However, we returned home entangled in an unrealistic project that dampened my spirits. Fortunately, Lorca the kitten was forced on us.
October was bland. Lorca turned out to be a boy, A. spent a few days in Russia, school was dragging on, I was plunging in and out of a pit of self-contempt. Our marriage was subjected to suspicion. I hardly wrote and forgot all about my camera and my love for decorating. Our home was feeling unfinished, and guilt for the things I wasn’t doing haunted me. I picked out a topic for my BA thesis: an analysis of Poland’s first openly gay novel.
November was centered around A.’s forced trip to Russia. It was the first time I lived alone for two and a half weeks. A few days prior to A.’s departure, Oscar showed up, and I was a single mom of two kittens for most of the month. My friends tried to cheer me up, and I discovered So You Think You Can Dance as an antidote to loneliness. It was my first month at work. I did NaBloPoMo. A. enjoyed his trip as much as he could and returned transformed in a way.
December was hectic, because there were exams to take, translations to finish, and I also started learning to be an on-line consultant for the Hotline. By the end of the month, we seemed to have grasped all the loose ends, and had entered a time of financial stabilization. The friend whose boyfriend we got to know in August announced their engagement to my utter shock and joy. The book I worked on in January came out, wrapping up the year neatly.
All in all, it was a good year. Our family grew, we got our own place, I got a job, A. has been steadily discovering his interests and developing in new and interesting ways. We got to see a lot of the people and places we love this year. I had a bunch of gloomy times, but I feel like I’ve grown a bit calmer and more constructive with the self-hate, and become a better person. I’m proud of my vegetarianism, and glad that we’re embracing the DIY and green lifestyle. The coming year should bring many changes, with me graduating and us moving on to new things.