Happy New Year everyone.
I've made my "resolution" which is to become a better cook. With the help of Alton Brown (and the why's behind cooking and how things work) and the cookbooks I own but never use, I hope to provide better planned meals that my family will enjoy. I plan to make weekly menus, shop with a plan, improve my variety, and force spinach and shrimp down my kids' throats. Can it be done? I'll check back in NYE 2004.
In the meantime, I'll be generic and post a New Years poll that's making the circuit. I know you care. You really do.
2003 In Review
1. What did you do in 2003 that you'd never done before? I moved to Asia. Never planned to come here, but here I am until Spring 2005. I tried SCUBA. I drove in Manila. Hired a housekeeper and gardener. Made rice pudding. Bunch of other things I'll add if I remember.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? See above for this one. I have no idea if I bothered making a "resolution" last year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Sadly, no. I do know of several people who had babies, like Theresa, Michelle, Elise and Jeff's sister (who I've never met, but it made him an uncle and that's pretty darn cool). But I barely know them, so it doesn't affect my life any. I wish it did, but what can you do?
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? Just the Philippines. 2004 should be quite different.
6. What would you like to have in 2004 that you lacked in 2003? I'm not allowed to say, and it won't happen anyway. So... I'll go with our R&R trip to New Zealand, which is happening in June.
7. What date from 2003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 28, the day we landed here.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Moving here. Oh, and doing an intro to SCUBA.
9. What was your biggest failure? Realizing that I -really- don't like being wet. And cold. And wet. But that's not really a failure is it?
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Only over my birthday. Don't know what it was, but it was MISERABLE. Ear clawing, can't swallow, feverish misery. Oh, and the sunburn in Hawaii. Goodness that made for an unpleasant visit.
11. What was the best thing you bought? The idea that we don't have to have a physical house back home.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Nicholas. Not really behavior, but his advances in speech have made us so proud.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Won't say. Too many people read this stuff. Are you wondering if it's you? Hmmm.
14. Where did most of your money go? Moving costs.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Learning to drive with confidence in this city.
16. What song will always remind you of 2003? Jesus Christ, Superstar soudtrack. Why? Because my kids have seen it, loved it, and it's opened some great discussions.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Don't know. I could say happier, but I wasn't unhappy last year.
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. I've gained at least 5 pounds.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Read.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Eat Filipino food. Yech.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? Um, that's done. But next week we'll have Second Christmas. When my parents arrive!
22. Did you fall in love in 2003? Almost every day.
24. What was your favorite TV program? Survivor and CSI
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? There are plenty of people I dislike or pity, because of how they've treated me, or how they've treated others. But I don't hate anyone. Takes too much energy.
26. What was the best book you read? I have many favorites from this year, and all for different reasons. _Siblings Without Rivalry_ is a great focus book. _The DaVinci Code_ helped me question my religion. _The Poisonwood Bible_ was a wonderful summertime read.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Bond and Maksim (two separate CDs). Oh, and VeggieTales :)
28. What did you want and get? A Philippine narra wood with pearl inset chest. Got it for my birthday. OK, in September, but still.
29. What did you want and not get? I'm not allowed to say.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Probably "Pirates of the Caribbean".
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was miserably ill. Turned 29.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Ah, again, I'll skip this one :) Getting curious?
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003? Jeans are the only practical clothing for me. But I've switched from giant logo type t-shirts to more tailored solid/pattern tops. It's more befitting a nearly 30, mom of 4 and "diplomat's wife". Well, that last part is a stretch. You wouldn't believe how many people still think I'm the big sister.
34. What kept you sane? My husband.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Fancy as in find attractive? Jeff Probst... handsome and witty, IMO. Ian knows ;)
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Not stirred, but directly affected.. the military standoff at "our" mall.
37. Who did you miss? My parents. Jeff. And I miss the opportunities to continue building friendships with others who I had more than an acquaintance relationship with. The saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is a lie, unless there is a deep bond already present. For 98% of people I'd have called friends while living in the States (or something between acquainatance and friend), the adage "Out of sight, Out of mind" is much more fitting. People can't bother to reply to e-mail, send a Christmas card or write a letter. We moved 8000 miles away from home, to a place we'd never even seen, to live in a foreign culture for Ian to do jobs he'd never done before while the kids adjust to a new school and I have my own things to contend with... and no one but those listed can bother to keep in touch on a regular basis. Can you tell it's a sore spot? Sorry for dumping.
38. Who was the best new person you met? I'll say re-met, for Christine. She's been wonderful at keeping up e-mail correspondence weekly with me over the past few months, and I can't say enough with how thrilled I am to hear about her life and get a feel of home. The new people here are Ryan and Laura. It's been great getting to know them and having them with us for Christmas.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2003: We actually can take care of ourselves.