03 January, 2016

A Look Back at 2015 (and Forward to 2016)

2015 was a hard year for me, for several reasons. At the beginning of the year I returned to Germany after my first visit home since moving abroad, with no job, no visa and no plans. I dealt with a lot of uncertainty throughout the year, a lot of adjustments to new situations, and a ton of self-doubt (to put it mildly). On top of all the other changes, my relationship with my amazing boy once again went long-distance, something we both swore we would never let happen again. As the year drew to a close, the only thing getting me through the day was the thought of the upcoming Christmas break. Now that there are only a few hours left of that break, I thought I should remind myself of some of the highlights and accomplishments of 2015.


Tutoring


In February, I started tutoring Gymnasium students (grades 5-12) and adults in English. I was really nervous about this before I started because, other than explaining things to other students in high school and in my German classes, I hadn't had any experience tutoring. After the first few weeks, though, I started to enjoy it, and it was a good way to both make money and fill my time while I waited for responses to my grad school applications. At my peak I was tutoring around 14 students per week. I don't have much time now to devote to tutoring so I'm currently only tutoring one student, but I hope to take on more students in the future.

Grad School


My biggest accomplishment and the most drastic change in 2015 was getting into and starting a Masters degree program in technical writing and translation. Although grad school provided many challenges and is the reason that I'm in a long-distance relationship for the second time, it has to be recognized as an accomplishment (and also as the reason that I can legally stay in Germany).

My Own Apartment


In 2015 I was finally able to realize a long-time dream of living in my own apartment! With only one room plus a bathroom it's smaller than I'd imagined, but it's finally my own space that I don't have to share with anyone and that's wonderful!

Twin Time


I'm belatedly realizing that I never wrote a post about this, but my sister Lindsay came to visit me in December! We started out our time together in Berlin, where she had never been before. I'd been to Berlin multiple times so I'd already seen a lot of it, but in Berlin there is always more to see. Plus we got to see it during Christmas time and check out all the Christmas markets. After the long weekend in Berlin, Lindsay came back to Hildesheim with me for a week and then we spent the next weekend in Hamburg. All in all I'd call it a successful visit.

A Popular Post


Earlier this year my blog experienced a moment in the spotlight when one of my blog posts (the one about my visit to Mount Dora, a small town in Florida) got more than 1,500 views in the first few days. For someone whose posts normally hover under 100 views in the first week this was really exciting. After I published the post I shared the link on the Facebook page of one of the businesses I had written about, a bakery called Cupcake Delights. I had no idea if that would affect the view count at all, but affect it it did. After that the views started pouring in, and the final view count as of today stands at 1,981, by far the most views I've ever gotten on a post. For some bloggers those sorts of numbers are just another day, but I'm still basking a bit in my small success.


While not all of my posts have been so successful, I love them anyway. Of the 32 posts I wrote in 2015, here are five of my favorites:

"Made in Germany": An Exploration of Denglisch


Ausländer sind auch Menschen (Immigrants Are People, Too)


Being Fluent


Comparison of American and German Universities


Where Is Home?


If I had to summarize 2015 in one word, I would say it was turbulent -- maybe the most turbulent year of my entire life. I am very much hoping that 2016 is more settled. In addition to more stability (and the blog goals I wrote about last week), my hopes for 2016 are:

  • read more (for school and for fun)
  • pass all my classes
  • take on more tutoring and translation work
  • spend more time with people
  • travel to the U.S. again

Hopefully I can make those things a reality. 

Happy 2016, everyone!


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