Birthdays hallmark growth, an experience of arrival, often, noting, “I’ve come this far.” Opportunities to tick another notch “higher” on the growth chart. Insight for all the mistakes, failures, wrong doings (left my government ID at a wine festival) and celebration for trials of endurance (Camel Pose, you get me every time!), the courageous tolerance of discomfort (driving on the autobahn!) I always feel that my birthday is a better time to review the past year with friends and family rather than the New Year. As I pay homage to where I’ve been, it gives me resolve and inspiration to consider who I want to be and propel me towards where I want to go. And Change makes us more aware! Experience and research shows that it takes 9 months to transition somewhere…and I am constantly impatient with myself. But also, solid as well. I slow down now at roundabouts. That’s PROGRESS! So read on about who I’ve been this past year!
At the end of September 2009, movers carefully re-packed all my meager belongings (it took 100 minutes) and shipped me off to Germany. I am now working in a pediatric department, providing care to children who visit doctors and conducting medical evaluations. Yes, like always, I am in awe that I enjoy my job, it is fulfilling and challenging and there is always something new to learn about my field, about big-girl office dynamics, and departmental politics. But the culture change, and a desire to immerse myself, proved very stimulating. A task that would take 60 minutes stateside (e.g. going to the drug store) for the first three months took almost three times as long, accounting for German driving conditions, the money exchange configuration, and language translations. What exactly is “goose” in German, and how to request it? What is this boxed milk thing? And where can a girl find MISO in this area? Getting my car required about 13 steps, one included passing a driver’s test that most Germans take following a 2-year course costing 1200EURO! The rules actually are MORE sensible, but you have to be more aware.
Some highlights from my year
Raised Money to Buy a cow from Heifer International (plus some bees, and a goat!)
Paid off my private student loan to Harvard! (No fear, got a few more to go)
Rode in a Hot Air Balloon with brother
Drank wine with my mom during her WA visit.
Chopped my hair off for locks of love. Go Blonde.
Visit a TON of friends!
Finished a 5000 piece puzzle
Ate a 100 mile diet.
Moved to Germany. Took month off driving, took up wine (um…more. )
Moved into a THREE BEDROOM THREE BATH HOUSE (please visit!).
Thanksgiving in Central Spain, Cried at the Flamenco, Ate in the oldest restaurant in the world
Held a month of dinner parties….cooked a goose!
Traveled to 6 countries in three months.
Took up knitting.
I cherish my job, as a pediatric psychologist, a position where I spend 65% of my time conducting developmental evaluations on complicated patients. I LOVE what I do. And I LOVE coming home (heated floors are the best home invention to storm the Rhineland-Platz!). I enjoy a highly mobile lifestyle, but then I savor the recovery process. Yep, I miss the states. I miss calling long distance loved ones when searching for something in the store, or immediately after getting my camera stolen in Berlin. I miss Trader Joes. But I don’t miss the Entertainment Saturated culture. I don’t miss buying up manufactured material from the third world. I’ve started a very love/hate dysfunctional relationship with Skype, where I should have got a pre-nup but now make the best of it! I have lost things that cannot be saved. I have felt frozen parts of my spirit start to thaw and then re-chill. I continue to run. Towards. Away.
Where to go from here? I’ll ring in this next year on a solo trip to Barcelona, and in May, an adventure trip across Egypt. By this time next year, I will have completed my 101 things to complete in 1001 days (I am currently working on collecting postcards, still need you to help me find someone in OK, VA, WV, NH, VT, PA. HELP! Contact your loved ones to see if someone can send a postcard.
I am working on TRUST. On RECEIVING. On Now and not THEN or SOON.
And becoming more me… the me that is Special K.
I am humbled. I am honored.
Thank you God, I am alive. Happy New Year!