Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2014.

Review of 2013 Resolutions (my annual goals):

2013 GOALS:

12. lose 15 kilos  
INCOMPLETE down 9 kilos

11. get my leg strength back from break
UPDATE: Parity. Can stand /walk for 5+ hours now without problems *most* of the time. Bad weather still hurts.

10. apply for Belgian PhD program
INCOMPLETE: UPDATE- Potential Sponsor is retiring and cancelled meeting. Recommended I try in a different department. No responses yet.

UPDATE: going to visit the university 29 Nov to try to meet a sponsor.
UPDATE: Application rejected because I didn't have a sponsor and they also want a current GRE. Must figure out how the heck to register for GRE over here and go to the campus to meet some possible sponsors.

Application has finally been submitted after all the logon and submission errors plaguing me. Can't tell if the GRE is a requirement or just possible to include, so I guess I will find out soon. If it is, I will have to accomplish it before Christmas. If not, I *think* I am done.

9. improve my French seriously
INCOMPLETE. Need to repeat this goal.

UPDATE: Registered for community French course.
UPDATE: practicing weekly with a tutor, making modest gains in pronunciation and basic grammar.

My course concluded this week, but I am not comfortable speaking yet. I lack mastery of content and will dedicate time in July to boost and reinforce content. Also looking into taking French for non-native speakers course at a local university for the Fall.

8. improve my Arabic seriously

PARITY. UPDATE: I passed the level 1 test far above the required minimum score and I can read and write much more accurately now. Still struggling with dictation, but I am so much better than I was. My writing is clearer, I can understand basics better and I am satisfied with my growth.

7. CELTA somehow
Parity has been reached as I successfully concluded my CELTA course today.

6. learn to cook 12 new things 

Some progress. I've learned to cook 9 new things I am comfortable making.  
Roasted Butternut squash & Tahini (with toasted pine nuts, red onions)
Roasted sweet potatoes & figs with basalmic reduction and goat cheese.
Lemony Leek Meatballs

Missing photos:  Red lentil kofta, Borek/Gozelem, Polish dish called hooves, couscous Moroccan style, and sweet potato starters.  See grape leaves, and stuffed tomatoes here:

5. read 100 books
PARITY.  Although I started much later than I should have, I met this goal.

4. finish both Master's Degrees
UPDATE: Parity has been reached for both programs. YEY!

3. go see three new countries (France, Turkey, .....????)
Goal parity has been more than achieved. I visited Paris for the free day at the Louvre, spent just over a week in Izmir/Istanbul, toured the Netherlands, went to the United Arab Emirates, and went back to Turkey!

2. take 10 really great photos
PARITY. Loved this goal. Helped me increase my bravery in shooting photos I would otherwise be too shy or inhibited to try. Still not always fast enough/have enough nerve, but most of these precious moments would have passed by before out of fear. I've also learned more about my camera and the limitations of my lens. I need start photo editing, but I'm hesitant to do that for many reasons. I want to only crop out or lighten photos if there's no other way to capture the moment. I don't like the idea of trying to enhance or mess with contrast. It just bothers me. I want to share the moment as I feel it.

Winter road in Lens

Turkish water pump in Istanbul
Purple flowers in England

Sweet girl in Belgium

A Family Affair

A woman in the market

Flowers in Turkey

Olives in Brugge, Belgium

Lift up your heart- the grand mosque 

Expectant faith- pews in Delft, Amsterdam

1. spend more time with people i love
PARITY. I feel satisfied with my progress in this goal. I've had a greater sense of connection and have happily combined the time with learning dishes from friends, taking photos, etc.

2014 Resolutions:

12.  Lose 10 Kilos.
11.  Do 1 Pay-it-Forward/random act of kindness each month
10.  Improve my Turkish seriously
9.   Improve my French seriously
8.   Pass 2nd Arabic course/ Continue to improve Arabic seriously
7.  Watch 1 documentary/historic film per month (12 total)
6.  Learn to cook 12 new things
5.  Read 120 Books (priority for non-fiction)
4.  Volunteer abroad with children for at least a week.
3.  Go see three new countries:  Sweden, Morocco, __________.
2.  Take 12 great photos.
1.  Add 1 layout to art journal per month (12 total).


  1. Great goals! I wish you much success. :-) Happy New Year!!

  2. Thanks! Best wishes for the New Year!