2017: Year in Review

This New Year’s Eve was spent almost exactly the same as the previous year: me and Layth on the couch, under blankets, watching movies until we dozed off. Since he’s recovering from a cold, that means he was snoring by 8 pm.

But this time last year we were bracing ourselves for him moving to Saudi Arabia for work, which meant I’d be more or less on my own in Jordan. We dated long distance for a long time, but after a year or so when we hadn’t spent more than a few days apart, the distance was daunting. But we both knew it was the best thing to do. At first, I cried a lot and kept making coffee for two people in the morning instead of one, and cried over the wasted coffee.

But family invited me for lunches and sent me home with tupperwares of leftovers to make sure I wouldn’t starve, I still had my job and friends, and in mid-January, I brought a pet rabbit home to keep me company. Said rabbit is now best friends with my mother in law’s cat, and they hang out on the regular.

2017 took me to Jordan, Turkey (twice), the United States, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Germany.

It’s taken me three years in the Middle East, but I’m no longer really worried about where my next job is coming from as a freelancer. Between full-time work, freelance work and grad school, it still feels like burning the candle at both ends, but I think the most important thing I learned this year was how to value my time better (more on that later). The most frustrating thing was realizing that I could earn my monthly salary at my old job in two or three days of freelancing. But those few days of work were never guaranteed, the thought of sitting at home with nothing to do was scary, and the job market here in Amman is even scarier. I’m thankful now to be feeling stable enough to not worry about the fact that one of my contracts is up in the air and I’m not sure if I should even report for work tomorrow. I don’t mind working hard, but I want to be smart about it.

I recently updated my resume on a jobs site I hadn’t looked at in over a year, and that also made me realize how much I’ve learned and how much I grew professionally (at least I look a lot better on paper).

Goals for 2018

  • Go back to being vegetarian at least 90% of the time. I won’t turn down a bit of meat if someone is serving it to me, and I might occasionally buy salmon, but I don’t want to purchase/order meat dishes for myself.
  • Buy no clothes for six months. Exceptions might be a water-resistant jacket – I ordered one for someone to bring me from the US, but it was never delivered, so I may buy one next time I’m in Germany. I want to work on being more mindful spending in general (choosing ethical, eco-friendly brands), and maybe work toward having a capsule wardrobe.
  • Stop using TV to fall asleep
  • Run another half marathon – somewhere.
  • Keep up-to-date with my beautiful Excel income/expenses sheet that I made
  • Spend the next holiday season with my family in the US.

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