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Archive for January, 2013

2012: Looking back

WARNING: Don’t read unless you have an enormous patience for grammar mistakes and wrong spelling and colloquial language. I was moody and grumpy and tired when I wrote this so a lot might not make sense. Sorry!

I’m back! And as promised here the posts informing the interested ones among you what I’ve been up to (I actually said what I’ve been up to in the last couple of months but I figured a reflection on the whole last year would be just as good). About some of the mentioned experiences and happenings I’ll probably post something more detailed sometime so I just talk about them briefly.

First the good things that happened to me (I was actually surprised that there were more than 5 bullet points on my list):

1. This May the Mia Patria Choir (MPC) from Jakarta, Indonesia has come to Switzerland during their Europe tour! The MPC is basically a professional catholic choir from Indonesia singing and playing music partly for services (then church music) and for shows (traditional Indonesian music). Their coming to Switzerland was my personal highlight of 2012: I’ve never felt so truly, satisfyingly happy before or after meeting them.
My family and a lot of other family friends spent with them 2 amazing weekends – my family was among the most active because my mother was part of the organizational committee and therefore we practically went to all their shows and had to stay the night nearby (when they had concerts at two close places which were far away from our home town).
During that time I had the chance to meet amazing, lovable people from my home country and being surrounded by Indonesian culture and music and food got me on such a high like never before. I was part of the photographing team (I was ‘appointed’ by my mum) and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. A lot of our family friends take photographs in their free time too, and having all those more experienced photographers around was wonderful and extremely beneficial – at times I felt like an apprentice learning from masters.
I won’t say more though; I want to recommend them and their music in a post later this year.

2. + 3. I bought myself a new camera! I’m still so excited by looking at it and getting all giddy inside…. don’t ask. I’m weird. But yes, this is the second highlight of my year and it’s – I actually have told you that already but it’s so worth repeating – a Canon EOS 550D and it’s my biggest treasure and I love it and I’m so satisfied with it. I’ve saved money for a camera for such a long time and I still can’t believe that I finally did it.
I’m not that proficient in handling it yet but I’ve realised that slowly, I’m making small progresses along the way and I’m very happy with the way things are at the moment. (Wow, how eloquent of me.) I started out mostly shooting in half-automatic mode and a couple of months ago I finally began to take photos in the manual mode. It was frightening at the beginning and I often confused one setting with the other but I’m making less and lesser mistakes now.

Coupled with this event is actually a recent one: I got a brand new, only-for-me-to-use 1TB hard disk from my dad! Yay! You probably never thought that a 17-year-old girl could get that excited over a hard disk but I can. I am. I’ve been hijacking my dad’s own hard disk for far too long and my photo archive is getting bigger and messier every day. It’s actually a win-win situation: My day gets his own hard disk back and I finally found a place large enough to contain my photos. The negative side was the many hours that I spent sorting out new files and old files I had next to my photos and the many more hours I spent on categorizing and sorting out my photo archive. It’s finally done though and I’m super, super happy.
And because I have an actually organized archive now it’s so much easier to look for photos for my blogs… which is awesome for me and awesome for you.

4. I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge 2012! I set up a goal of reading 30 books last year which I eventually and very narrowly only managed because of all the school books we had to read. Thanks, school! You are useful for something after all.

5. I got to travel to amazing places! There was Sicily with our school choir this spring and then my Singapore-Indonesia-tour this summer (I’ll post about both.) of which the latter was even more amazing because I got to see my cousins and my grandmother and the whole extended family again. I didn’t always felt at ease there (my ‘condition’ unfortunately didn’t vanish for summer holidays) but it definitely felt like home and like heaven and at the end of the summer I looked back with good memories in my mind.

6. This autumn/winter highlight was the Florence + The Machine (FATM) concert which I attended with a couple of friends. FATM has always been one of my favourite bands ever since I discovered them but I think that after the concert they started to play an even more important role in my life. Especially Florence Welch, as lively and energetic and creative as she is, has always been an inspiration to me and thus seeing her live on stage got me on a high shortly before the concert, during the concert and shortly after the concert. Doesn’t seem like much but these days I’m craving for even the smallest bits and pieces of happiness.

7. Last but not least – I finished my final paper! Yay! I first didn’t know if I should put it in the positive or negative list because it’s been so much work. And with ‘much’ I mean enormously, life-consumingly much. I swear, I don’t think I could ever describe the amount of hours I worked on it properly and the endless frustration that came with it (especially since you didn’t need 95% of the painfully patiently collected research material in the end anyway). Eventually, after about 9 months researching and working and frustrating on it and pulling some all-nighters for last corrections I managed to write a 60 (65?) pages long paper (with appendix though). I don’t even want to think of having to do that on a regular basis in university next year…

Looking back it does seem like I had a good year but I probably should show the other side, too:

1. We moved house. And it’s painful to think about it and I admit I still wouldn’t feel slightly at home if it weren’t for the fact that my family lives here too but I guess it will take another couple of years for me to accept this place as my new home. (It’s only a couple of houses down the street but it feels like a completely different world.) I don’t know if I’m ever going to write about this experience (and I tried a couple of times, believe me) but I do know now that you can shed a gazillion tears for an old, wooden table. Or for a bedstead. Or for a white wall.

2. At the beginning of the year I actually started to count the times that I hung out with my best friend. We both have very different schedules and other people in our lives too, so that for a couple of years we haven’t been able to see each other as much as we’d like; but I don’t think it has reached such an all-time-low as last year. And that was the year I was counting and actually could improve the whole situation by communicating more with her (we both are also non-texters…) but I just don’t know – every time I felt like I could do something with her I was way too tired for any kind of interaction or communication, especially with human beings that I know. And I should probably receive the ‘worst friend award’ for this, I know, but at so many days I felt so incredibly tired and at a lack of energy.
It wasn’t even always the physical energy but more of an inner one, you know what I mean? I generally get frustrated with other people so easily and it always takes me a lot of this inner energy to interact with basically anyone. This year my energy has been needed at other places too, so I guess that friends were somewhere near the bottom of my priority list. (It sounds rude but it’s true and I wish I could find a nicer way to phrase it.)
Moreover, we both, my best friend and I, are very relaxed about our relationship. I won’t say that this lack of time together doesn’t have its effect – because it does. It does so heavily, and when I once used to know so many facts about her, I’d be glad if I can get 5 things right about her nowadays. Lack of intimacy has caused a change in the superficial part of our relationship which revolves around the momentary well-being and preferences of the other. But the essence of our friendship, the core of it and what has brought and kept us together for all these years – that hasn’t changed and, I hope, will never change.
The problem that we both know this leads in me (I’m not 100% sure about her) sort of taking this friendship for granted, which, I know, I never ever should do. And I hate it but I can’t help it and I don’t know how to fight it and it doesn’t occupy my mind as much as it should these days. I guess, I can only hope (and work on it!) that this year our friendship will get much more intimate again.

3. And last about my ‘condition’ (I have to find a better name for it): I don’t know how eloquent and articulate I’m going to be (probably not at all) because I’m not used to writing about it – and I’m still not 100% ready for writing about it – but I’m going to try to describe the general state of this year in a couple of sentences. (I’ll write a couple more posts about it later this year.)
I actually thought for a long time that at the beginning of last year I experienced the peak of my ‘condition’. It was quite dramatic then, I guess, because I showed it like never before (and I was never supposed to show it). I don’t know how many people noticed, if anyone has noticed but I felt pretty naked and exposed at that time, especially because so many things coincided then and I was overwhelmed by the gigantic pile of emotions I had on a weekly basis. But then this autumn/winter happened. I already told a couple of people (not that there are many who know about this personally, so ‘a couple’ = max. 3) that I was bettering and it’s going upwards and whatnot but I didn’t realise that I experienced a new aspect of my ‘condition’. Looking at it, I think that you could compare spring 2012 to a raging storm because then I was the loudest; but this winter seems more to be of the ‘horrendous aftermath/possible build-up for another storm’-silence kind because my anxiety etc. more often than not expressed itself in physical pressure I feel (and leads over then to mental pressure) than in outbursts as it did once.
And I should probably elaborate and explain more but it hurts to think about it and it’s giving me a headache on top of it all. So I’ll just stop writing here until I find enough courage again to continue.

All in all (and I might elaborate here more on a separate post) if there’s a lesson I learned in 2012 than it’s this: Patience is a virtue. Don’t rush into things. Be patient. (Because waiting for a better state is painful and after a long time of anxiety you tend to rush into positive things the moment you get a glimpse of them.)