2020 in review

It’s really easy to look back at 2020 and see the things I didn’t do.

In December 2019, the Italian boyfriend and I decided to “give” each other a March trip to Jordan for Christmas, rather than material presents. We planned to see Petra, the Dead Sea, and the capital city.

We had also decided that 2020 would be the year he would come home to America with me, to meet my family… and meet my whole American life, really. Needless to say, Covid rolled into Italy in the last week of February and that March trip was quickly cancelled. We hung onto the idea of the US trip for a long time – I mean, he was going to come and meet my family! – but, obviously, we eventually laid that one to rest, too.

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Who am I?

I’m Jean Valjeaaaaan! Kidding. Obviously. I am not a fictional ex-convict with a stirring story of redemption and love from the 1800s… but I do love musicals and I do intend to someday actually finish reading Les Miserables! Okay. If anyone was reading this, they probably have given up already. Sorry, world.

  1. American (half French!) born and raised on the east coast.
  2. Moved to Italy “for a year” just after college. Following numerous “just one more year” decisions… still here 12 years later.
  3. Former pre-med (and the fact that this figures as #3 on my list probably bears some reflection on my part).
  4. Instead freelance ESL teacher with big component of work at local university (job satisfaction level prob about 40-50%).
  5. Also freelance medical translator (pre-med years came in handy after all!). Job satisfaction level about 80%; this also comprises about 60-70% of my actual incoming, so I probably could start listing it first, ha.
  6. As can be inferred from points 3-5, I really don’t feel that settled in my career. This will probably be a recurring theme on this blog for a while. I am determined to break out of the all-native-English-speakers-in-Italy-teach-ESL mold! (But brace yourselves. I can get very ruminate-y.)
  7. Currently studying for a Master’s in Linguistics at a nearby-ish university in Italy (not the same one that I teach at, ha!) in an attempt to figure out the above conundrum and fully indulge my language-oriented side. Got to attend it in person for a full three weeks before the pandemic put us fully online. Ah well.
  8. After a very long stretch of (very happy!) single life, currently also very happily partnered up with an Italian gent. 🙂
  9. We bought a house together this year! (2020) Actually it’s an apartment. And actually, it won’t be finished until spring 2021. So, we bought… the concept of a future house. The construction is ticking along quite nicely, though, and visiting it on weekends (when no one is there) is a fun, pandemic-safe activity, so… double win.
  10. Other things that fill my life include reading (my life-long love that doesn’t get nearly as much time as I’d like), weekend hikes when possible, travelling when there isn’t a pandemic, volunteering as a local Red Cross ambulance worker (the irony of opting for a medically-related volunteer activity after deciding not to go into medicine is… not lost on me), and… I’m going to add writing. Another life-long love that has been abandoned for the past… oh, decade or so. I hope this blog can be the start of reclaiming it.

Bonus round: The Italian gent partner and I are hoping to start a family soon. I shouldn’t say start a family – two people is already a great family! I mean expand our family. By adding human offspring to it. Hopefully. I’m opting not to panic about this yet, despite my 35th birthday staring me down in a few months. Knowing me, I’ll probably start to panic soon, but we’ll cross that bridge etc. etc.

Thanks for reading, imaginary readers! (Probable future me reading this: hope you’re amused by this memory of you at 34 on the cusp of 2021!)

** Photo: Me. Definitely feeling weird providing a clear linkage between this blog and my real self… but then again, if anyone who knows me sufficiently to recognize me from the back read this blog, they would recognize me anyway from the amount of defining detail I’ve provided. (Are there a lot of half Frnech, half American, ex pre-med translator/ESL teacher/Red Cross volunteers in Italy who bought a house this year?) So… well, it’s out there now!

Hello world!

Hello world! (That’s how you start a blog, right? Hopefully it’s also how you revive a nascent blog after starting it in a fit and then abandoning it for a full two months.) How are you on this fine, bright, sunny, and skin-scrapingly crisp 26th of December? I am great, personally, because so far I don’t have Covid, my family (including my 100-year-old bionic hero of a grandmother!) are all Covid-free too, Zoom-Christmas was less depressing than I thought it would be, and I’ve just come in from a highly invigorating walk through the aforementioned skin-scrapingly cold air. I even listened to The Daily’s “2020 in Good News” episode for good measure. Take that, 2020! I know the world is an utter mess at the moment (do you think every generation feels that the world is on the brink of irretrievable disaster during their lifetime, or that it currently actually is? I’m 34 and have only been semi-actively paying attention to the outside world for the past 15 years or so, so I think it’s too early for me to tell), but one of my reasons for wanting to start a blog is to chronicle the good moments that might otherwise be forgotten, the happy little memories that might otherwise not even really register (and maybe the low moments, too – so that I can be thankful when they pass?), and so here I am.

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