After coming back from my vacation in Beijing, I finally reserved some time this weekend for a summary of 2018 and a few visions for 2019. For some reason, it felt like time went by particularly fast last year, I will try to recall my memory of each of the four seasons as best as I can.
My memory of spring is a bit of a blur now. After a brutally cold winter, spring arrived in its quick steps. I underwent two surgeries for my wisdom teeth in January and April, it may not sound much to an average person, but the week-long recoveries were rather gruelling in my particular case. The things that kept my spirit up were a mobile phone game 旅かえる and white freesia flowers I kept in a big, glass vase. They filled the room with mild, pleasant fragrance everyday. In March, just when it started to get warm, I went to watch the movie ‘Call Me By Your Name’ in the cinema and cried my heart out! The scenes and the music in the movie have been on my mind ever since. I played the piano pieces in the movie, and read the original novel, which was simply exquisite. In early May, I spent a week in Baad, Austria, hiking through leftover ice and snow in the Alps, accompanied by Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. It was a perfect few days off to clear my head and start fresh.
Last summer was extremely long and warm for this part of Europe. Despite the endless sun and the high humidity, I remained active, I managed to run and kayak on a regular basis and took part in all sports events the company offered – dragon boat race, 5k relay, etc. I don’t think I had been more active than this before since I moved to Hamburg. In July, I spent a two-week vacation with my parents and aunt, we had a cool, sunny and breezy Hamburg in the first week and a 30+ degree Stockholm the second week. My summer closet expanded two to three times by the end of the season. I was very lucky to have a well insulated apartment facing the north west, I could manage easily without a fan or a/c while many people had trouble sleeping through the night.
Autumn was a busy time. I spent the week after my birthday in the Alps, again. I need to be free in nature and conquer a few challenges every once in a while, the liberating feeling and satisfaction it brings are unsubstitutable. Afterwards, I had plenty of time to enjoy the golden autumn in Germany and Slovakia. At work, a few big changes took place, and I was in Kobe, Japan for a week in November because of new responsibilities. To be honest, this trip opened my eyes to new career possibilities in the future – I liked the city, I felt more at ease with Japanese culture than with German culture. There is no reason why I should have to stay in Hamburg, therefore, it may be time to ponder my next move (it is a lot to think about, as I have been happy with my current position at work. And to give up the most comfortable work-life balance in Europe??! Maybe only for a few years. That would be ideal).
Early winter is always associated with holiday seasons. After a few intense weeks at work, I traveled to my hometown, Beijing, to start my well-deserved vacation. The weather couldn’t be more favourable despite the low temperature (not a problem with the right clothes ;-)), and I use the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of foods, drinks, desserts that I had been missing out, but only in a moderate amount. I wasn’t in the mood for Christmas or the New Year at all, but it was good to be there with my parents.
As far as New Year’s resolution goes, I have some pretty specific ones:
- Reduce consumption of meat in a single meal
- Increase variety of the things I cook
- Keep up the habit of reading (2018: more than one book per month)
- Be steady and resilient facing new challenges at work
- Get a driver’s licence, start looking for a school in January
- Continue to improve my physical condition by running, NTC and kayaking (only in summer)
- Study Japanese at home more than once per week (class does not count)
- Make an effort to meet and hang out with new people
- Plan carefully if I were to move somewhere…
Wish you a happy new year. 山河遼闊，歲月不喧囂。