Hello 2013! I rang in the New Year at the same place I celebrated the year before. That’s gotta be a first for me! In the past ten years or so, it seems like I’ve always been somewhere different: bringing in the new millennium in New Zealand, watching fireworks from our balcony in Manila, snow tubing in Pocono Pines, cruising down the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, at a coffee shop in Dalian…
This year I had a big Chinese dinner cooked by my roommate and some of her friends. Then we went out to a bar and celebrated with sparklers and sparkling grape juice (last minute shopping trip yielded no champagne). Afterwards we went to the restaurant next door and indulged in hamburgers. A good night overall!
In January and February this year, I was in Bangkok, biked through northern Vietnam, enjoyed the beaches of Malaysian Borneo, and returned to Kunming to finish up the school year. In early spring, I took a weekend trip to Xiamen to visit some friends from Dalian, and also played tour guide when my parents visited Kunming, Lijiang and Shangrila. I watched my baby brother graduate from high school in June (oh my)! Then in July I said a tearful goodbye to friends scattering around the globe (the expat circle of life), and traveled to China’s wild wild west aka Xinjiang. I returned to the US briefly for some guacamole and wide open spaces, then in September, came back to Kunming to begin a new school year. In October I celebrated Halloween in Hong Kong, then in November I hosted an amazing Thanksgiving feast. The months seemed to fly by with a busy schedule of teaching, and in December I was still wearing short sleeve shirts and enjoying Kunming’s sunshine. We’ve had a few chilly days in the Spring City this December, but overall the temperatures have been nice enough for me to wear a light sweater outside during the day. Ahh, just how I like it.
I’ve made some amazing friends this year– “lifelong” friends who I’ll keep in touch with for years to come. I’ve been blessed with a comfortable life, lots of laughter, and plenty of adventure. It’s been a blast, and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring.
This year for my two month Chinese New Year break, I’m planning a low key vacation in Bangkok with some Kunming friends stopping by, and possibly a short side trip to Burma with my mom. The next semester of classes starts in late February, and I’m really excited to be teaching the same classes again (second time’s a charm). I’ll also be applying for JOBS! In America! Yes, I’m plotting a great return to the US of A. Keep your eyes and ears peeled if you hear of any openings in higher education/student affairs that deal with international students. Ideally I’d like to be doing something that helps Chinese students who are studying in the US.
Here’s a little highlights reel from 2012! I hope you have a happy and healthy 2013.