Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010: A Year in Review

Whenever people have asked me over the last few weeks “how are you doing?” the only answer I can seem to come up with is I am worn out. As I reflect on all that has happened in the past year it is no wonder I am a little tired.

-No internet for the first five months of the year- this black whole of communication was stressful on all of us. It was hard to write home, talk to family, check email or even hear outside news. I remember I was sending my computer on vacation with people leaving the province just so I could down load a couple of months of email.

-Got my first ever year long work visa – a process that included over 15 trips to government offices, police guys trying to kiss me in empty elevators, getting taken as an American man, and almost starting at an entirely different job.

- Living in a police state were during different tense times throughout the year we would notice an increased presence of troops walking around our streets with big guns

-Helping and giving support to a friend who was going through a difficult time. This became a constant concern for several months.

- I was given the challenging task of teaching over 10, three hour lectures in Uyghur.

- 8 books/papers edited into Uyghur.

- Filled in at the Texas café for a month while it was between managers.

- Grieved along with two of my good Uyghur friends, who both had parents pass away this year

- I was on a bus that got in an accident, causing a lot of pain to my back and shoulder and forcing me to bed rest for a week.

- Worked through some personal conflict with another expat couple living in our city

- Help new people settle in, by arranging an apartment to rent, taking them furniture shopping and showing them the ropes.

- Attending a week long intensive training course and considered how it will affect my day to day life. Also turned around and re-taught much of the information with friends here.

- Helped host at least 8 different groups that visited our city and took them on the official Uyghur cultural walk

- Moving: my roommate and I had strict parameters for finding a new place. We wanted a two bedroom apartment, no further than a five minute walk from a bus stop, no higher than the third floor, in the center of town and for no more than 250 dollars a month. We looked at a lot of places before we found a one that was clean and safe and met all of our specifications.

- Attended five weddings representing three different cultures .

-Felt very far away from my family in Canada when my Grandmother passed away

- Met all of our new neighbors and visited them in their homes over main local holidays

- We also found an office space and set it up, thankful only a five minute walk from out new home.

- Two trips out of the country and five trips to other cities in the country.

- 63 trips to different government offices, numerous phone calls and a total of 182 hours spent over the last four months trying to open our own company.

There are many part of the above year that I would not want to relive. You know how they say that 'whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger'. I can testify to the fact that all of this has certainly lent itself to strengthening one important aspect of my life. I have often looked to these words: “ We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint”


Anonymous said...

I love you, Karen Cat! Happy New Year from Azerbaijan! --Yamangul

Anonymous said...

yes, u were crazy busy! Hope that 2011 brings a little more peace and rest for you :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Wonderful! You/ we all had tough years, didn't we? I was looking back through my journal and I found an entry from August, which was my month of not doing anything, and I was thinking about how wonderful that month was. I keep hoping that maybe 2011 will be easier... I cannot wait to see you! ~Your best friend Jess