2014, From Backwards to Forwards

3 Jan

Today is the 3rd day of 2015.

Does anyone else think that’s weird? I felt so odd writing the date the other day because just wow…you’re old, planet Earth! Speaking of old, my birthday was last Saturday (Dec 27th) & I have always felt like the New Year was a lot like a birthday.

On your birthday after you go through all the cake-eating & gift opening, someone always has to ask you that strange question: Do you FEEL any older?! To which everyone (unless they’re sitting over a bowl of cereal surrounded by only cats) replies, “Nope”.

But like it or not, you are older & now the new year is here. And while everyone else is running to the gym & making a long list of their resolutions…I would like to make a different list, a list to commemorate you, 2014!

While I’m sure everyone who is excited about 2015 feels this way because their 2014 was so awful, I must ask you, can an entire 365 days be terrible? You didn’t laugh once? Not one adventure? And you didn’t grow at all?! Psh, then you’re not doing this whole thing called ‘existence’ right!

Because for me, I had some of my highest highs & lowest lows in 2014 & I will never forget them! Here’s a little recap:

January 2014

prague_sightseeing

I’m finally legal to reside/work in Prague! I don’t hate my job as much as I would in the future & life is one big party for me. I’m pretty acculturated by now. I can speak basic Czech, I know my way around the city & I’m very close with my roommates & Gillian. Life was going pretty well but I’m a little lonely little did I know that…

filip

February 2014

In February I would fall in love! By some extreme stroke of chance I randomly met the love of my life, Filip, at a smokey bar when neither one of us were all too coherent. February was full of fun new couple stuff like Valentine’s Day, venturing down to Cesky Krumlov for a romantic weekend & just realizing I was no longer on my own. Which was great because soon I would be hosting two…

March 2014

…of my greatest friends from Roger Williams University came to visit me in Prague! We somehow all managed to spend a week crammed onto my lumpy uncomfortable bed & fit in as many adventures as possible! No one ever picks Prague as their first European getaway choice, but I’m so glad Alex & Jen did! My post TEFL life abroad even inspired Alex so much that she would go on to receive her own TEFL & is now residing in Barcelona! Funny how things work out especially…

DSC00401

April 2014

…when you’re spending huge things like holidays away from home. Instead of a giant feast with family for Easter, it was just our little party of two & I COOKED the meal! And it was still fun! If you ever find yourself in another country missing a huge traditional event…make your own traditions otherwise you’ll be miserable…

euro46

May 2014

…speaking of miserable, that it what my job teaching English at a preschool had now become, all thanks to my dangerously unstable boss. So in an act of pure valor that was terrifyingly liberating, one day I just left the keys on her desk & walked out. Honestly I could not take it anymore, my mind was soon preoccupied because Zach came to visit Prague. We then traveled to Rome, Florence, Pisa & of course, one more stop over in my favorite city in the world–Paris. I was teary-eyed to say good-bye to my favorite city, but it was only the beginning of the tears because…

June 2014

…in June I moved home from Prague. It was the most mixed emotions I have ever experienced. This was now like my home, & I was proud of myself for all the progress I had made in adjusting to it. Most of all I felt so sad to leave behind my wonderful roomates, & my mentors who helped me maintain my sanity: Gillian & Brandi…but the most tears were shed at the airport when I had to say good-bye to Filip. This was not a fun month for me but…

July 2014

…the next was! I immediately got a job upon returning home working as a program assistant for MEPI (U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative) & got to move back to RWU! Such a wonderful experience. I spent the next few weeks getting to know so many wonderful individuals from the Middle East & North Africa who will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life but the inspiration wasn’t finished because…

August 2014

…I was about to meet 7 awesome adorable Japanese girls who I would be working with throughout August with CILP (Japanese Cultural Immersion Language Program) also held at RWU! I suddenly gained 7 sisters in these girls, hanging out with them every day, watching them interact with the coolest group of Brazilian students also studying at RWU & being so impressed with all the language improvements they made along the way! I was like a mama bear & was so happy, which was ironic because…

Military Working Dogs

September 2014

…I had no idea what the next month had in store for me. I was attacked by a dog & spent all of September in hospitals & on couches, in so much physical & mental pain. I had gone from country-hopping to barely being able to walk, & the emotions I had been running from all caught up with me. September was the lowest month of 2014 for me, even though I had great things to look forward to…

October 2014

…like Filip finally coming to visit me in October! By this time I could walk normally again & we had the best 3 weeks. You know it’s real when you haven’t seen your boyfriend for 4 months & then when he gets off the plane it’s as if nothing had changed. We adventured all over New England & NYC & for the first time in a month I could smile again…

November 2014

…& the reasons to smile just kept coming. Right after Filip left I was offered my ultimate dream job, to work at EF, an international travel company, a company I had been trying to get into for the past 2 months. Suddenly it was off the couch & out of unemployment & I moved to Boston to begin work. It was such a drastic shift from the past few months that it was hard to digest at first but now…

December 2014

…it all makes sense. Everything does, & that’s why I have to look back on this amazing year. If I had been offered my first attempt at the dream job, I would have not been able to work right away because of the dog bite & Filip & I would not have gotten to hang out that much. If I had not moved to Prague I would not have been offered to meet these countless new friends with MEPI & CILP. & If I had went to a different bar that night I would have most definitely never met Filip.

You see, dear readers, December, as much as it is a time to look ahead at all the exciting promises the New Year will bring, it is also a moment to reflect on everything the past year put you through. Puzzle pieces of timing & circumstance begin to add up & you realize that most definitely everything happens for a reason. They say that hindsight is 20:20 & it’s so so true.

Every January while I look back on the past year, I also do look forward. But not with resolutions to join gyms & stop eating sweets, I ask myself ‘what do I want this year to bring me?’ So far this motto has worked, 2013 I wanted adventure–So I moved to Prague. 2014 I wanted to find love—I found not only Filip, but everyone who was there for me during my dog bite.

So, 2015, just so you know I want to find success. However, success can be a very broad term & I trust that maybe life can choose to bring this to me in the form of money, in the form of inspiration or perhaps something completely different.

But I am ready.

And when we fast forward to December I want to look back at all that has happened & say to myself, it all worked out.

Cheers, dear readers! I wish you happiness, joy & love in your new year! Thank you for being a part of mine! 🙂

JG

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