1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
I went to a friend's wedding. Also, I caught the bouquet at that wedding. I went to the last official Xena Convention. I joined a gym. I danced on a stage in a club. I drank vermouth. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel.
( Rest of the survey under the cut )
1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
I moved to a new country and began living by myself.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Resolutions from 2014:
#1 Stay happy, busy and focused after I quit working full time. Do not slide into emo uselessness. (Yep, mostly did this one) #2 Move overseas for at least a year. No chickening out! (Check!)
#3 Stay active and fit. (Er, did not really stick to this one after I moved. In my defence, it's super hard to stay active with London weather being so crap.)
#4 Learn and become familiar with at least 10 family recipes before moving overseas. (Didn't fully manage 10 recipes either)
New resolutions for 2015:
#1 Be bold
#2 Get fit again
( More under the cut )
50. Post one picture that accurately represents this year.
I can't pick a single picture since too many different things have happened but here's an album with a picture for every day sine I left Australia: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=
1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
There were quite a few new things I did this year. Here they are in no particular order:
- I became an assessor for English Language (for VCAA) for the first time
- I did some private tutoring
- I cycled 40km+, which I've never done before
- I briefly had abs, which I've never had before
- I drank myself into unconsciousness at one point, which I haven't done before and don't plan on doing again
- I went to NZ and visited Hobbiton amongst other places, and met Lucy Lawless after seeing Chicago
- I took students on exchange to China
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Resolutions from 2013:
#1 Be bold. Good things happen when you do. (Yes, though going by this philosophy resulted in rather a lot of heartache.) #2 Keep practising guitar regularly. Especially the boring stuff you avoid like the 1 minute chord changes because that's what actually helps you get better. Master the F chord. (I was really good at doing this at the start of the year but it got put by the wayside when I got busy. I did get a lot better at the F chord though.) #3 Level self up physically (by continuing to do daily jogs or situps) and mentally (by reading at least 30 new books in 2013). (Done. Though I've been slack on the jogging.)
New resolutions for 2014:
#1 Stay happy, busy and focused after I quit working full time. Do not slide into emo uselessness.
#2 Move overseas for at least a year. No chickening out!
#3 Stay active and fit.
#4 Learn and become familiar with at least 10 family recipes before moving overseas.
( Rest of the survey under the cut )
January: I spent January absolutely pining for McKinley. I became super fit and played guitar everyday and subsequently got a lot better at it. I also wrote a lot of poetry and painted some things, which helped release some of the ~*~feelings~*~. I started bike riding regularly after taking out my old bike from the garage. I also started tutoring a private student. Finally finished reading the Lord of the Rings books after starting and giving up many times over about two years. Towards the end of January, I went to a Missy Higgins concert at the zoo with KF, who, sadly, I was no longer crushing on by that time. Robin, an old high school acquaintance, tried to set me up with one of his friends but that didn't work out. Oh, and I did a First Aid course which work paid for in preparation for the school exchange trip. Also, I bought a chakram off eBay (actually two chakrams, but I've left chakram v2 in its box figuring I'll sell it one day).
February: February was basically a rollercoaster of feelings. So many feelings. I started off the month absolutely determined to let nothing stop me from wooing McKinley and, throughout the month, it seemed that I was succeeding in increments. That resulted me in feeling like I was walking on clouds most of the time. I felt invincible. Xin came back from the UK briefly and it was wonderful to see her again. I had several more dates with McKinley. I dreamed up the Avocado Plan and it worked. We kissed. I had even more feelings. We walked around the city for hours on White Night holding hands, and the night and the city and everything felt surreal and impossible. Basically, ALL the feels. Then I went away for a week on Year 7 camp.
March: On the last day of camp, and the first day of March, McKinley "broke up" with me - not that we were ever really dating, but there doesn't really exist any other vocabulary for it. Basically, she terminated (or attempted to) any hope of a romantic entanglement. Obviously, traitorous heart that I have, I continued to pine and hope but with zero communication or anything to feed my delusional hopes beyond, well, delusions. I tried to cope through various means. Writing poetry. Getting on with life. Drinking myself to unconsciousness. Reading and writing more poetry. Alternating between desperately wanting to let her go and being completely unable to. I said goodbye to what was left of my pride and emailed her again. She emailed back, briefly. Towards the end of March, I flew off to China for the school exchange trip, which was probably a mercy.
April: The first few days of being in China, I was glad to be in another country and responsible for a bunch of students so that I would be sufficiently distracted. By the second week, I was exhausted and feeling intensely lonely. The loneliness was mainly due to spending all my time with a bunch of adolescent "gui lao" (I mean this in a non-derogatory sense; it's the most accurate term I have for it) who were seeing China through a Western perspective, and it was constant reminder that I am not an Australian in the way that they are Australian. But I was also surrounded by Chinese language and culture and people who were, mostly, not my kind of Chinese. I realised again that I belong only in the liminal space between cultures. A child of Chinese immigrants almost thirty years out of date with mainland Chinese culture, able to speak a pidgin language that nobody else but my immediate family understands, and seen as an outsider by both cultures alike. Cultural loneliness aside, it was also rather lonely to be in a foreign country with a bunch of kids/teenagers with no adults other than the other exchange teacher to talk to. At least there was one other adult. Anyway, I came back to Australia much less fit after all the feasting that went on, courtesy of our host school in China. I resumed work and went into Term 2 thoroughly exhausted from the trip and still not 100% over McKinley. This may aslo have been the month that Shanghai Mahjong Club formed - i.e., the very informal mahjong club which consists of me, tangledtale, Juliana and Alice. We meet monthly to eat food and play mahjong. Increasingly just food though. This club was a perfect remedy for my cultural loneliness because it's made up of Children of Shanghainese Immigrants, just like me.
May: I spent May alternating between intense Hermit Mode (basically trying to escape the world through video games, books and TV shows) and Buried In Work Mode, the latter being not by choice. Term 2 is a super crap term at the best of times, and this year the pressure was on because of my two rather demanding Year 12 classes. I was also A) exhausted from the exchange trip which had eaten up my Easter break and B) hating the world because of aforementioned reasons. So naturally, this turned out to be the month that I made the conscious decision to quit my job. My paper journal contains the following line: "It's been a hellish month. I've found no joy in my work and little solace in my distractions."
June: Life continued. I think I finally started coming out of Hermit Mode. Caught up with a few friends, including Robin, who asked me out on some dates, and because I had recently been all like "no fucks left to give ahahaha whatevs" I agreed and we actually had some acceptable times together. I also clocked up some 217 hours playing Civilisation V and taking over the world multiple times.
July: More life. I attempted to be more social and less emo. I held my second Table Top Game Night which was a success. I also had dinner at KF's along with coworker!Chris. I felt somewhat better about my job, having made the decision to quit. Actually, that was also probably because half of July was school holidays.
August: I don't remember anything about this month except a lot of work. I do remember being quite frustrated with annoying/demanding/unreasonable parents. It merely affirmed my decision to quit, and to make sure that if I ever returned to teaching, it would be in the public sector. I returned the "Teaching Intentions for 2014" form and indicated that I wouldn't be returning. In life aside from teaching, I discovered that Lucy Lawless would be performing in Chicago and I equivocated on whether or not I should take a short trip to NZ to see her. Oh wait, one cool thing that happened - I went to The Doors L.A. Woman Liner Notes with Jackie. It was mostly to see Missy Higgins, and I did see her (only two tables away!!! also she read out a poem about her first lesbian experience so that was great), but the other acts were also well worth seeing.
September: I saw McKinley again in the September holidays. We went to Captains of Industry in the city for lunch. We talked, as friends do. She loaned me a book. I came home and wrote another poem. I got some more closure. About 75% closure'd. tangledtale came over and she gave me an amazing set of Icelandic Sagas which I haven't had a chance to read yet but they make me happy every time I see them prettily sitting on my bookshelf. <3 Also hung out with Miriam and went to see warrior_cat's play, Shining Armour. Also during the holidays, I cycled to the city for lunch with Lucia. Oh, and I had a lovely brunch with augustuscaesar. All in all, quite a productive month for catching up with friends. I went on a rather flat date with a girl on OKCupid who, about five minutes after meeting her, I realised I wasn't into at all. We had lunch at Hofbrauhaus which was a poor, poor shadow of what I remember from my trip to Germany. All in all, a dismal failure of a date, but that was okay too because I was pleased at myself for making the effort to meet new people. I bought a new bike after reaching my goal of cycling 1000km this year.
October: I don't remember October very well because I was too busy to keep much of a journal either here on LJ or in my paper journal. I think I was mostly working a lot, in preparation for the Year 12 final exams. Oh, and I know that I wanted to get ahead with my report writing and whatnot in preparation for my sneaky side trip to NZ in the middle of exam season. I probably spent most of the month planning/booking for that holiday as well as solidifying my plans for what to do with my life next year. I started letting various people at work know that I wouldn't be around next year and they were all super nice and wonderful about it, which made me simultaneously grateful for having such nice colleagues and sad that I would be leaving them.
November: Hands down the best month of the year, if also the most busy. I went to NZ with Robin. We went to Hobbiton, enjoyed the geothermal vistas and amazing food in Rotorua, saw Chicago which was a truly spectacular and thoroughly entertaining show, and to top it all off, I got to meet and have a real conversation with Lucy Lawless, who's only been, you know, the embodiment of my childhood hero for oh the last 17 years. I spent the rest of November working my butt off because I had applied to be a VCAA assessor for English Language (srs bsns, yo). This involved marking 150 two hour exam papers in approximately 9 days outside of normal work hours. It was totally worth it for the experience though. The extra money was also not unwelcome. Nevertheless, I had a lovely birthday amidst all the exam marking carnage, mainly due to a wonderful coworker who "stitched me up" by getting the entire Year 7 cohort (about 153 odd students) to sing happy birthday to me. The day was all the more special because it was Ancient Civilisations day so everyone was dressed up. My class also won the Roman Military Drills and performed absolutely brilliantly in front of the principal and other head honchos of the school and generally did me proud.
December: The month of winding down. I enjoyed the last week or so of work because it was mainly just department and year level meetings. I had my last days in the crazy Year 7 office where I've been for the last four years. I'm going to miss the Year 7 team who, although loud and generally too outgoing and wild if you want to get any work done, has always been the most positive and fun people/office in perhaps the whole school. On our last day, we played downball/foursquare/handball on the court outside our building, like the students do, and I was rather pleased to hold the 'king' position for quite some time, having not fully lost my high school school handball skills. The day after the staff Christmas lunch (the last day) all the Year 12 staff went back into work to pick up their classes' Year 12 results because the VCAA results were released then. I was stunned to find out that one of my students had achieved a perfect score of 50. As far as I know, this is the first time it's been achieved in the history of the subject at our school. I also had a number of other students achieve terrific results, no doubt "pulled up" by the top score due to VCAA's weird ranking system. Anyway, it's very, very gratifying to know that one of my students has achieved a 50. Whilst I had good results last year, and a 50 is nigh impossible to get, you always wonder at the back of your mind if it's something you're doing (or not doing) that is preventing students from achieving that kind of score. Now I don't have to wonder anymore. Also, I can probably hike up my tutoring fees. :-D
So that's the year! It was an interesting activity to type up the monthly summaries and remember what I was feeling back at the time It had started out with so much promise, then became a total hell for a while before abruptly getting a whole lot better again. I never would have thought back in March that I could be reflecting on the year in December and actual feel like it's been a successful one.
January: I spent most of January in The Netherlands with Emma which was generally a depressing affair. The month was greatly redeemed by a short trip to England to see the lovely selina_and Xin - I spent a wonderful few days with them. Then I came back to Australia and went to work only to find out that there had been a $1m blaze at the school. Lost a few days of teaching and subsequently spent the rest of Term 1 playing catch up with the curriculum. Gro received my kangaroo, an event which also made the Norwegian newspapers.
February: I broke up with Emma. Spent a lot of time being sad about missed connections and bad timing, then wrote a poem about it. I was inspired by Ann's blog to Be Bold and embarked on a number of self improvement initiatives. Despite this, I still got totally sucked into Star Wars: The Old Republic as my post-WoW rebound MMO. I spent the last week of February on school camp with the Year 7s.
March: This was the month in which I worked a lot, played Skyrim, and chatted with Ingrid. She tried to entice me back to WoW but failed. I read an amazing YA book which stayed with me for weeks afterward: Code Name Verity. I also discovered Tennyson's In Memoriam which I read and loved. Ingrid started rewriting TBSOL for the third time.
April: During the Easter break, I tried to fix my computer's overheating problem and ended up doing a complete upgrade. Then I spent the rest of my holidays playing TOR, Skyrim and watching various episodes of things with Ingrid. This was my first holiday since June 2011 that I had free time for myself since the previous two had turned into impromptu trips to Europe.
May: Experienced late autumn blues but successfully overcame them by throwing myself into work. Eurovision happened. Grandpa died. A Finnish girl (Terhi) messaged me on OKCupid.
June: I reconnected with Jennifer, a fellow linguistics student from uni that I used to have a proxy-crush on. I also started playing Diablo III with Terhi. Predictably, I became infatuated with Missy Higgins after going to her concert. This prompted me to seriously start learning guitar (as opposed to playing the 3 chords I knew from high school on my old op-shop bought 3/4 sized one).
July: I finished Diablo III and moved on to Tropico 4 and L.A. Noire. I caught up with various friends during the school holidays. I was very worried for Kitteh when she became ill with an infected joint and took her to the vet several times. I finalised USA travel plans for September. And when Term 3 started, KF arrived on the scene, which made work a lot more interesting.
August: I spent much of this month developing a crush on a married, straight woman. Good job, me.
September: September was a big month. I went on my long overdue America Trip to see dangerosa, thrace_ red_said, gizzmogeek, and pebblin. I spent varying amounts of time in Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Virginia and L.A. By the end of the trip, I felt human again (as opposed to feeling and acting like WorkBot).
October: Came back to Melbourne, and work, and threw myself whole-heartedly in preparing my Year 12s for their exams. Watched Rianna turn 18 and was a proud big sister. Work got a lot less busy after the Year 12s finished up so I spent some time playing Empire: Total War. I also applied for a job at a different school but in the end I withdrew my application and decided to stay. Two more years until long service leave. Agreed to go on the China Exchange trip next year.
November: I turned 26. My Year 7 tutorial group threw me a mini party, baked me a cake and got me presents, which made my day immensely better. I went to my sister's Valedictory dinner and watched her graduate. Had more proud sister moments. Schmoozed with a couple of teachers at her school in an attempt to try and get myself employed at Korowa one day.
December: At work, I prepared for next year, did a lot of babysitting, and continued to cultivate my friendship with KF. I attended the work Christmas lunch and lawn bowls, as well as Chris's 40th birthday. I got my Year 12s' results and was quite disappointed at their scores. The summer holidays finally started. I emailed McKinley on OKCupid and went on a lovely date with her.
And now, the survey: ( 2012 Year In Review )
January: Spent much of early January being emo over the silence, and the future, both of which filled me with uncertainty. Played a lot of WoW and got Rianna into Diablo II. Said goodbye to Amelie, who went back to France. Watched the Australian Open. Resolutely kept to my New Year's resolution.
February: Wrote many emo entries in my paper journal, though I think LJ was relatively unscathed. Was apprehensive about the MTeach starting, and then excited. Played WoW. Started the MTeach. Started my placement at Melbourne Girls' College. Quit WoW.
March: Constantly exhausted and stressed due to uni and teaching. Missed the people who I couldn't talk to. Had a graduation ceremony for my Arts degree. Spent much of my free time gaming, despite having quit WoW. Met the wonderful zatapoiki and had many good chats with her and Ingrid. Also met jailbaitjello through Kya.
April: Was excited about Alix & Valerie getting published. Went to Lucia's birthday dinner. Read some good books (The Blue Place and Stay by Nicola Griffith). Survived my usual April depression.
May: Found that April depression had followed me into May. Already completely burnt out by the MTeach. Did a lot of assignments. Enjoyed Eurovision as usual. Started teaching block at MGC.
June: Survived first teaching placement. Gladly said goodbye to MGC. Renewed WoW subscription. Ran Karazhan with my guild. quew started playing WoW and joined our guild. Erin and Devon got married. I bought a new computer.
July: Tried to get drunk and got a rash instead. Began looking for teaching jobs in the paper and stressing out. Semester 2 of MTeach started. I began my second placement at Koonung. Met very cool supervising teachers. Regained enthusiasm for teaching. Read another awesome book (The Passion by Jeanette Winterson).
August: Tried to pull myself from Pit of Angst and to Move On. Meanwhile, I have massive fights with dad over internet. He turns into a paranoid, autocratic freak (even more so than usual). Started teaching block at Koonung.
September: Realised I was really enjoying the teaching block. Teaching block ended. Did crapload of assignments for uni. Began seriously applying for jobs. Swung wildly between stress, angst and euphoria. Read an awesome book of poetry (Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons by Marilyn Hacker).
October: Hit by overwhelming apathy. Immersed myself in new fandom obsession, Birds of Prey. Had several small but violent private breakdowns. Recovered relatively easily. Got a bunch of rejections for jobs I'd applied for. WoW Patch 3.0 came out and I became re-obsessed with the game. Ingrid and Karine tied the knot.
November: Got my first interview. Blew my first interview. Continued applying for jobs. Obama became president. Had last day at Koonung, and was sad to leave. Was utterly exhausted. Had more interviews. Manage to finish all assignments and the first year of the MTeach. Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out. Bought Xbox 360 and Rock Band for my birthday. Avoided job hunting due to burnt-outness. Spent rest of the month ignoring the world, drumming and playing WoW.
December: Met up with various neglected friends. Tolerated dad's excessive dinner hosting. Watched awesome movie, Saving Face. Reached Level 80 with Valkyrja on WoW. Read awesome comics, Birds of Prey and Y: The Last Man. Flew off to Singapore and Thailand.
New LJ friends this year: augustuscaesar, evireon, jailbaitjello, route_venusa, zatapoiki
2008 was the hardest, most stressful year I've had in a long time. But I learned a lot, grew a lot, and it was worth it for the friendships I gained. And I think I survived (somewhat) intact. :)
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
No, I failed this year's resolution as expected, although I lasted longer than I thought I would. /cryptic
I haven't thought of one for 2009 yet.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
None, but I'm going to Singapore before the end of the year, and I'll be in Thailand after the New Year.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Probably my first day at Melbourne Girls' College, because it was traumatic. And the last day of my block at Koonung, because it was bittersweet.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving the Master of Teaching, Part 1.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not finding a job.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I caught two nasty colds this year, but that's all.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Up until about a month ago, mum was really awesome and supportive.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Appalled? My sister... I worry she's becoming a spoilt private school kid. Depressed - can't blame this one on anyone but myself.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Petrol, bills for internet and phone, and gaming-related expenses (computer, Xbox, WoW).
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Um. A bunch of songs from this year's Eurovision, because they were the first songs I burnt onto my mix CD which I listened to every day while driving to my placements. And a few others.
Euroband - This Is My Life (Iceland 2008)
Olta Boka - Zemrën E Lamë Peng (Albania 2008)
Maria Haukaas Storeng - Hold On Be Strong (Norway 2008)
Amy McDonald - This Is The Life
BassHunter - Russia Privjet
Ivan Guevara - Por Amor Al Arte
Avril Lavigne - Anything But Ordinary
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? A different sort of sadder. More resigned.
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same. I always put on some weight during the Christmas holidays due to boring family dinners during which there is nothing to do but eat.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Stayed in touch with people more.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Procrastinating. Being emo.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Packing for Singapore/Thailand trip. And then dinner with family and some guests (Chin's family). I'll probably find some time to log onto WoW too.
21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
My two current favorite on-going TV shows are Chuck and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I discovered Birds of Prey and instantly fell in love with the fandom. Also still slowly working my way through Star Trek: Voyager.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
Prose: The Passion by Jeanette Winterson.
Poetry: Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons by Marilyn Hacker.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery of 2008?
I didn't really have any major ones this year. I guess maybe Lover's Electric and Demon Hunter.
26. What did you want and get?
An Xbox 360 and Rock Band. Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition.
27. What did you want and not get?
A girlfriend. A job. A kitten.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
A tie between Saving Face and Batman: The Dark Knight.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 22. I stayed home and did normal staying-at-home things.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting a job at Koonung or one of the others that I really wanted. Oh, and Prop 8 (and others) not passing the day after the election. Or, you know, winning the lottery.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
It's been a year of fashion extremes. Swinging between way-more-formal-than-I-would-
32. What kept you sane?
World of Warcraft, my new Birds of Prey fandom obsession, my sister, and a conveniently timed crush.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I went through this huge Milla Jovovich phase after I had that insanely awesome dream of her, Eliza Dushku and Rachel Nichols.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The US election and gay rights.
35. Who did you miss?
Friends who aren't here. People who are no longer in my life as much as I'd like them to be. And my stupid ass cat, Stormy.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Ann. *waves hello*
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
1. Some things just aren't meant to be.
2. Life is like high school. It's a schizophrenic popularity contest that you can never win.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I'm all out of love, all out of faith / I would give everything just for a taste / But everything's here, all out of place / Losing my memory, saving my face." -- KT Tunstall