Paris: Reflections on 2013

Oh hey there, 2014! It’s been a while since I updated my blog, but nothing screams “blank slate!” like a shiny new calendar year.

Paris. The Eiffel Tower is somewhere back there, I promise.

I thought I’d start with a picture from this week’s trip to Paris, where Andres and I rang in the New Year. The photo summarizes my year, in a way. You see, I am very often disappointed when I hand over my camera for strangers to snap a shot. Not because I think they are evil and will run off with the goods, but rather because by the time the transaction is made, a perfect image of how the picture will turn out is already framed in my mind. Then, deception–er, reality–sets in when the camera is handed back and all I see is a picture stunningly different from the one I had imagined.

Exhibit A: Paris. What could be more iconic than the Eiffel Tower when one thinks of the French capital? Yet, when I am gleefully close to said monument and ask a stranger to take our picture, why why why do they insist on cutting out this impressive backdrop? The image is okay, sure, but I have to take a moment to reconcile my dream shot (vertical, obviously) with a flat reality (horizontal, le sigh).

Take Two: Vertical…but not quite what I had in mind

This year was also an exercise in aligning dreams with reality. I had high hopes for the year, but then 2013 was knocked on its side. 2013 was stressful, challenging, and downright discouraging.

Not everything was bad; in the summer I enjoyed a great visit from my parents, got to travel with my family to France, and enjoyed a trip back to Arkansas to see more family and friends. But summer, glorious summer, was sandwiched between a demanding final semester of grad school (coupled with a thankless “internship” I dreaded) and an autumn in which Andres and I spent nearly 2 months apart. There was the disappointment of interviewing for but not getting my dream job, and the dawning realization that staying in Europe looks highly unlikely. It was–and still is–a time of nervous uncertainty and I prefer not to hash it all out here.

Toasting to 2014 in Montmarte

But, 2014, here’s to a year that is full of great shots (both horizontal and vertical). Here’s to a year that’s not embittered or riddled with doubt. Here’s to trying again. Here’s to doing our best of aprovechando Madrid while also welcoming other options. Above all, here’s to more adventures.