1. What did you do in 2017 that you'd never done before?
We moved to a new city in China. I taught English writing to postgraduate students (one of the few combinations I haven't taught before...definitely a learning curve). Matt started a new job as IT director.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did meet my GoodReads challenge last year and set another one for this year. Otherwise, I decided over the summertime to start making new school year resolutions instead. So far, they're going pretty well, but I'll blog about that another time.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Matt's sister almost did, but the baby actually waited until 2018 to make his appearance.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, I don't think so.
5. What countries did you visit?
US, China, Japan
6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
This is kind of a culmination of three years of work, but I think the progress that I saw in some of the students I worked with intensively at my ESL job was the biggest achievement of this year and 2015/2016. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, my co-workers and I would just speak English really quickly in front of the students if we wanted to say something about them or talk about something we didn't want the students to understand. Last year, the students who had been with me over the course of my whole time teaching at that school finally started cracking our code because their English listening skills had improved so much. I had thought that the hours after school that I had spent with some of the students doing grammar drills and helping them study was having no affect because they would keep failing their tests and not being able to remember anything. But suddenly, in that final year of working with them, so many things clicked, and they actually did retain things. It was really nice to go out on that note :)
8. What was your biggest failure?
I learned a lot from this, but I think my biggest failure was allowing the school-chosen textbooks to set the pace of my curriculum this semester in my new job. It made the classes way too hard for my students' English level.
9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the virus I had from Christmas until after New Year's. I haven't been down that long with an illness since I was in middle school. I forgot how draining it is to have a fever.
10. What was the best thing you bought?
When we moved to our new apartment in Qingdao, I found a double decker dish drainer that stands above your sink on Taobao. It is so convenient and frees up a lot of counter space. I love it!
11. Where did most of your money go?
We finally found a good budget app, so I can actually check the reports now, and most of our money went to giving, groceries, and stuff for our new apartment.
12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having more free time working at a university teaching job again.
13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier (more free time)
b) thinner or fatter?
Slightly fatter, but I'm trying to maintain weight.
c) richer or poorer?
14. What do you wish you'd done more of?
15. What do you wish you'd done less of?
16. What was your favourite TV program?
Superstore, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and The Great British Baking Show
17. What was the best book you read?
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
18. What was your greatest musical discovery?
All Sons and Daughters, Audrey Assad
19. What did you want and get?
More free time
20. What did you want and not get?
Two bathrooms in our apartment
21. What was your favourite film of this year?
These were released in 2016, but I didn't see them until this summer when we were on the plane to and from the U.S., so I will consider them 2017 for me...Lion and Passengers. Both so good, they made me cry right there in my economy seat. Of movies that we saw in the theater (since I actually have time to do that now), Thor was the best. (Of course, Star Wars was amazing, but it didn't come out in China until 2018.)
22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Matt organized a dinner for me with some new Qingdao friends at a Xinjiang restaurant near our house. I turned 33.
23. How did you celebrate Christmas?
Sick in bed with a fever. However, the week before Christmas, we had two big parties with Chinese students.
24. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Yoga clothes in the hot summer and tons of Uniqlo layers in the cold winter. (I spend a lot less time in climate-controlled settings now that I no longer work in an international school.)
25. What kept you sane?
God and Matt
26. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert (who actually kept me sane about politics)
27. What political issue stirred you the most?
Always climate change/environmental issues, but of course, there were plenty of others this year.
28. Who did you miss?
So many people! It does get easier over time to be in another country, but of course, I always miss friends & family from home. Now, I also miss everyone from Tianjin.
29. Who was the best new person you met?
Some of Matt's new co-workers and one of my students who was really intentional about getting to know me outside of class
30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
Roll with the punches, but also learn from them.