January 10, 2009

Goodbye 2008, and thank you. A Reflection

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I have never been very good with reflection, at least not in a public way. The task of looking back over an event or a year or a lifetime somehow seems too large for me to articulate in a clear way, even to myself. Sometimes it is easier for me just to let things go. And, while there is something to be said for living in the moment, I think it is important to reflect on the past once in a while, to measure how far we have come and to keep track of where we would still like to go.

Wow, 2008. You sure were a dynamic year for me. While I rode your waves as often gracefully and with poise as I did awkwardly and with struggle, I am so thankful for the gifts and surprises you had in store for me. My life will never be the same.

I crossed your threshold in Boston with a high-paying job and an unquiet soul, and slipped out of your embrace barely employed, living semi-legally in Montreal more sure of what in life than I have ever been. Thank you for giving me the courage to change, even when it became almost unbearably difficult.

2008, you brought me so many gifts, I don't even know where to begin. I cannot possibly recognize all of them (indeed, I am sure many will not become apparent until some day far, far into the future), but I would like to acknowledge a few. Thank you, thank you for bringing me:

a deeper understanding of my love of baking/cooking.
the ability to take a break from a career path that did not inspire me
the gift of working with the lovely women and children of Maison Bleue
the adventure of moving to a new city with a new language
the opportunity of being with the person I love.
a dojo where I feel welcome, inspired, creative, nurtured.
the spark to light my photography fire, and the determination to learn how to take better pictures.
a lovely vacation over the summer to spend time with my friends, family and myself.
an incredible market near my house where I am extremely lucky to buy local produce year-round
some amazing new friends
the opportunity to bake semi-professionally and to learn and grow both in my baking skills and in my business-development skills.
a closer relationship with my girlfriends back home.
an amazing apartment with a shower-sauna, an awesome kitchen and a skunk living under our shed.
a deeper understanding of and compassion for old friends
my first gig taking photos professionally.
my first winter in Montreal
a more complete ownership of my life.
a reality check on how easy (not easy) it is to get a job in biotech in Montreal.
a return of my feminine side
a new love for (addiction to) coffee
an appreciation for the limitations of my body, especially in Aikido.
more time to read.
an appreciation for a great baguette
community.
a food blog addiction.
a return to eating meat and being okay with it.
a love and respect for quebecois culture.
a diminished need to know what is in store for the future.
my first speeding ticket and my first car accident (when I don't even own a car anymore).
the empowerment of knowing that I CAN do things that are scary (like moving illegally to a country where I don't speak the language and don't have a job).
the ability to say yes more than I said no.

What would I like for you, 2009?

to keep saying yes.
to make enough money to survive doing things that fulfill me, like baking and photography.
to remember to breathe when I freak out, and to remember that I am happy just where I am.
to test for first kyu.
to be able to stay in Montreal until I am ready to leave
to continue to become a better photographer.
to become better at expressing gratitude
to be less judgmental
to stop putting myself down or feeling bad for the way that I am.
to learn how to decorate cakes.
to not take things so personally when I receive criticism.
to go camping!
to practice yoga more regularly to keep my body healthy and moving.
to live more fully in this new city, to explore
to not seek recognition or validation for the things that I do. From anybody.
to become a kick-ass baker.
to live a magical life.

Is that too much to ask?

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