Archive for overseas travel

2011 — My year in review

Posted in Celebration, Gratitude, Light, Travel with tags , on December 31, 2011 by cgeary

Hello World —

Usually I start the new year with a list of some sort — resolutions, goals, intentions…I decided this time to first take stock of the year that is ending. It is amazing how much of it goes by in a blur. It has been an interesting process going back over memories of this one…so here are some…not in particular order..organized thematically (ish).

Transitions…The best news of the year came in late November that Ron would be working in NC starting in January. (Emily’s job at Springs Creative was a close second.) He got a good job with a very nice organization…less overseas travel. It will be so nice for him to be home and not traveling back and forth from Baltimore. It will be an adjustment for us after six years of a commute of one sort or another, but one I am happy to make. I know that he felt some sadness and ambivalence about leaving his job in Baltimore, but I know he knows this is right. I was hoping he would be able to take more time off in between jobs but that didn’t happen the way I was hoping.

When I was growing up, my family moved a lot, mostly around the Southeast US, more when I was younger and less as I got older. It seemed that one (or more) of us always got sick after the move…we always thought because of the stress perhaps. Ron did better than that though. He got very sick before his move…complicating the logistics (his and mine) in all sorts of ways. He had an acute attack of pancreatitis the Sunday before his last week in Baltimore. I flew up there immediately after I found out and was glad to be able to. Illness is a transition of sorts and is always about more than the physical symptoms. It is a way your body records your history…this may have been coming on for a while but ignored one way or the other, but it certainly has gotten Ron’s attention now. Good timing with the new job…a time to rearrange life so he is not working 10 hours a day or traveling so much…taking the easier path of living in only one place at a time and being alone less of the time. A good time to get on that healthy diet he has been talking about and getting more exercise. While I wish these changes had happened before this health crisis, I am glad that Ron is interpreting it as an awakening to taking good care of himself and slowing down.

My own health has been good this year..around May sometime I finally was able to get my head around taking action to lose weight…diet and exercise…really that is it. I have lost 20 pounds since then…more slowly than initially I had hoped but it is ok too. The keys to my success? A good digital scale, weighing every day, finding a diet based on portion control and healthy eating (only natural food, no sugar, no alcohol (not completely compliant on that one, but have cut way back). I added a short weight routine and am more regular in my running and yoga. I feel so much better and am very motivated to lose the next 10 to 20 pounds during the next year.

Travel — I would say this has been a light travel year, though when I start listing where I’ve been I guess it was light only in comparison to my husband and my work colleagues. I was very happy to return to Asia — Bangkok and Hanoi — if only for a week this past May. Ron and I went to England and to Ireland in June for vacation. Ron actually had a board meeting in London so I got to wander during the days in London on my own — and then we both went to Ireland and got to see Emily and Aonghus and Aonghus’ parents Lena and Harry. They took us on a lovely tour of Donegal and included us in family gatherings. In the US I visited Baltimore and DC a few times, Boston, Phoenix (to see Ron’s brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Karen), NY (to see Max in Henry V), Charlotte (where Emily now lives) and Atlanta. My friend Louanne gave me a travel journal for my birthday, so I kept a journal of my travels, with photographs. I don’t always write as I travel…though sometimes I do…I have finished most of the writing for the year but have some more photos to add.

Revolution — It has been an amazing year on the planet. Sometimes I feel so hopeless about human beings when I listen to the Republican rhetoric that is so mean and hateful and see others around the world hurting each other (and am also disappointed in the Democrats to ‘man up’ against all of this — where are you all??)…But…I am also buoyed by those who are out there facing down the corruption and the evil. I was so amazed to see the Egyptians in the street…I know the hardest part may still be to come but the Arab spring was so inspiring…And Occupy Wallstreet (and Chapel Hill and everywhere else) gives me hope that something is afoot. It is not clear where it will go or to what effect, but something is happening and I don’t think there is a turning back now. This something that is making people nervous as evidenced by the over-reaction in some places, but it will get bigger. Where am I in this? I am totally supportive and feel some regret at not being in the middle of it…I am raising my voice when I can and want to do more, but have not figured out how to do that and meet my other responsibilities as well. I am thankful that there are those who can be out there in the way that they can.

Wild Goose Festival — This happened the end of June at Shakori Hills in Saxapahaw…I almost missed even knowing about it. A gathering of Christians in the US similar to the Greenbelt festival in England. We went for a day and in the middle of the afternoon I felt the most amazing sense of peace and rightness about the world. It is definitely a gathering of the religious left…politics was there but not the main thing…strains of Christianity that I had not been around…looking towards the Great Turning…lots of discussion of living in intentional communities… music…art…diversity…sustainability..I heard Shane Claiborne and was very inspired and then read his book The Irresistible Revolution over the summer. Not a way that I live, but good to think about.

Books I loved this year and/or made me think differently…Art of the Commonplace…by Wendell Berry (plus his novels like Jayber Crow)…Spontaneous Happiness  by Andrew Weill…Kafka by the Sea and  After Dark by Haruki Murakami (check out his website: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/murakami/site.php)…Crazy Like Us (The Globalization of the American Psyche) by Ethan Watters (in case you don’t yet think that pharmaceutical companies are corporations that care more about money than human beings)…Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy..several by Alexander McCall Smith that I listened to on CD…a beautifully photographed book…Harvesting Color by Rebecca Burgessalso Andrea Reusing’s new cookbook, Cooking in the Moment, which I gave to several people for Christmas this year…A Year with Hafiz includes a Hafiz poem for every day of the year, so I started reading that as a daily meditation..You are Here by Thich Naht Hanh…The Sun is still my favorite magazine, though I also found Yes! this year and just subscribed to it in my pursuit of hopefulness.

Social media – I joined Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Facebook is great, I’ve reconnected with several people and been able to keep up with others I might not have otherwise, plus it gives me a place for sharing thoughts and images that I wouldn’t have otherwise. (Also, it is a way to connect to this blog!)  Twitter is too overwhelming for me. Instagram I love though because it is photographs. I am an occaisional user so I don’t have a lot of followers or ‘likes’ (which makes me sad) but it is fun. (I’m ‘cwaszak’ on Instagram.)

Work-I returned the end of 2010 to a place I had worked many years and have been happy to be back with so many people I care about and I find so smart and caring. I have gone through somewhat of a transition in my own conceptualization of the research I want to do…a paradigm shift of sorts..though it is mostly a subtle change in articulation. This is great in that it has given me renewed inspiration for my technical work. The not so great thing this year was that we acquired a large new organization which has made life much more complicated and been an unwelcomed distraction from the work that I think we are meant to do. The merger is still a work in progress and all the pieces have not fallen into place with regards to a new structure…so I am trying to be helpful and stay positive…but in the next year it should be evident if this is going to work for me in the long run or not.

Art- I don’t know where I am going as an artist…the last part of the year..especially this past few weeeks I have not had time to focus on this part of my life…one that I think is essential but is distracted by work for money…I still am figuring it out. I am working on many different things simultaneously but finishing almost nothing. I am planning on submitting some work to some shows and galleries…I have the photos…we’ll see. I feel confused …unfocused about this. I did pick up my Pentax 1000 again and that has made me happy. I also have enjoyed talking to my daughter about her own work as a designer and listening to her thoughts and advice about my work…nice to see her doing something she loves and getting recognition for it…I always thought she had a lot of natural talent…now that talent is maturing as she is learning so much from school and her work colleagues.

And while I am speaking of family, Max, I think had a good year — first as part of the Shakespeare Festival in NC and then the rest of the year in NYC. I saw him in Henry V performed outdoors by the Classic Theatre of NY in July. I probably wouldn’t know about the High Line park in NYC if he did not work there and I think that is one of the best things in NY now and have spent a number of hours there and taken a lot of photos I love there. It was such a great idea. Renovation and renewal always make me happy. Max seems happy in his pursuit of his acting career.

I also have spent more time with Joshua and Caleb this year than ever before and that has been good. And…this summer we took Mother up to the mountains for her to see her family and celebrate her 87th birthday. This was a chance to reconnect to family I spent a lot of time with during my first 20 years or so, but much less since then. We also got to see Greg and Jennifer this past week in Chapel Hill for the Christmas holidays which was nice.

So while there were difficult moments this year (most of which I have not written about here), there were many, many good ones and good things about the year. I will stop here…just to say I am looking forward to seeing what the next one brings. I will close with a Hafiz poem I read just this morning —

It rises,

a glorious sun, 

if one can sit quiet long enough, 

Seeing it, one feels, I now have everything,

everything I could 

ever want.

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