When I teach composition, I tell my students how important it is to reflect on their work before moving on to the next project. Though we all strive to live fully in the present, when it comes to learning, it’s important to understand where we’ve been in order to make progress. In the same vein, and in the spirit of the new year, it’s important to look at what we’ve accomplished before making resolutions for the coming year.
So, on that note, 2014 was a great year for me! I accomplished the following:
Went on a motorcycle tour around Colombia, South America
If you read this post or this post or this post, you know I spent three weeks in Colombia, where the scenery is gorgeous no matter where one looks, the locals friendly as can be, and the places varied and nearly indescribable. You also know I saw it by motorcycle for 16 days — which was amazing, exhausting, exhilarating and terrifying all at once — and then spent several with a local family there. The trip was unforgettable, and a much needed start to my year.
Spent a week exploring San Francisco
My cousin got married just north of the city last June, so I arrived early and stayed late with my good friend who lives in a sweet apartment overlooking the Bay. We played tourist (well, she played with me), and saw everything from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf, the Painted Ladies, the various districts that make S.F. so unique and fantastic, and Ocean Beach, to name a few. It wasn’t my first time to the city, but it remains one of my favorite in the world, on par with Hong Kong, Venice and Chiang Mai.
Taught First-Year Composition for the first time
This was a huge goal of mine, and it took many years of struggle to finally obtain the position. When I first left to teach English in Thailand, I did so with trial and error in mind; to discover if I could like teaching. Though my high school students there were very different from my freshmen students at Colorado State University, I learned that I liked many aspects of teaching and I set out to earn a Graduate Teaching Assistantship while studying for my M.A. in English/Creative Nonfiction. I applied three times before I was finally awarded the assistantship, but I worked my ass off in between, doing everything I could to boost my credentials. It finally paid off, and now that I have one semester under my belt, I feel like I was meant to teach. That’s a great feeling.
In 2015 I plan to:
Earn my M.A. degree in Creative Nonfiction, with honors.
Hopefully this is a given, but I still have one more semester to trudge through, and it’s not going to be an easy one. I’ll be teaching two courses of First-Year Composition (as opposed to only one in my first semester) which means double the papers to grade, as well as taking a full course load of my own, finishing my thesis and attempting to stay involved in academia wherever possible. Add onto all of this loads of applications to figure out what’s next for me, and the next several months are sure to be a whirlwind of pressure and excitement! Bring it on.
Finish my memoir and get a publisher
The thesis portion of my memoir is nearly finished, and I hope to add a few more chapters to round out the edges before I call it a finished work. All in all, the book is coming together nicely, and I’m really excited about it. The working title is, “The People We Meet,” and it’s a memoir-in-essays about my encounters with locals in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and India while discussing familial and cultural differences and issues of power structure, genocide, white privilege and traveling with a fear of rape. It’s not nearly as depressing as that last sentence sounds. I’m going to have to work on that…
Become proficient in Spanish
The most exciting part of this resolution is that it will take me to Mexico this coming summer! I’m planning to spend a month writing and practicing the language in the quaint artist community of Chapala, Jalisco. It’s located on the largest lake in the country (Lake Chapala) and only about an hour from Guadalajara, and two hours from Puerta Vallarta. Sound amazing? I think so too! I’m signed up to take a Spanish course next semester, to brush up on the skills I haven’t used since I studied abroad in Oviedo, Spain over five years ago. Wow, time flies when I’m having fun!
What did your 2014 look like? Do you have any exciting resolutions for 2015? Please do share in the comments below!