2018: a retrospective


New year, same survey!

2018 was… tough. The wind has left my sails repeatedly, but still I am buoyed by my wonderful community in Houston and beyond.

1. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Six years of the same two intentions and one year of a new one:

A. Learn to live moderately.

★★★☆ Getting better all the time. I don’t know how to add a half star to this, but I think my body is finally settling into its happy weight and old ways. In 2018, I completed a full year of Crossfit and leaned heavily into my yoga practice (headstands! birds of paradise!). I continued my gluten- and dairy-free diet.

B. Figure out my life’s work.

★★★☆ I might actually say this was less true in 2018 than the year prior. I’m having cold feet about committing to any one career path. While public health continues to interest me, I hear the siren song of other worlds.

C. Curse less.

★☆☆☆ No effin’ comment. 🙂

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin.

3. Did anyone close to you die?


4. What countries did you visit?

Greece and Italy.

5. What would you like to have in this coming year that you lacked in the last one?

I finally got a first-authored publication in a peer-reviewed journal, so my wish for the past three years has been accomplished. I’ll up the ante by hoping for the same, but this time in a high-impact journal.

I’d also like an iPad. 

6. What date(s) will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 1: KT finished his three-year residency! We also reunited in Cincinnati, ending a month of long distance (part of which I was away on vacation).

July 28: Cohabitation.

October 28: KT took his board exam. It marked the end of his tunnel-vision studying (and my diligent supporting thereof) — and the beginning of a vacation in paradise.

Hmm… I’m noticing a lot of milestones surrounding KT. I suppose he had a more eventful year than I did.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Teaching a class. Keeping my houseplants alive. Making it through three months of long distance with my SO.

8. What was your biggest failure?

Okay, I originally wrote that this was a “trash year professionally” — but, in truth, it was just uneventful. I guess my biggest failure was to put myself and my work out there, following some (very normal/expected) rejections.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, thankfully.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

My new iPhone XR.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?

K’s: see #6! Yay!

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

All politicians’, e.g., Brett Kavanaugh.

13. Where did most of your money go?

The same as last year: Groceries. Boba. Fitness things.

I would also add travel this time around.

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Vacationing! Reuniting with my partner! Nesting, hardcore!

15. What songs will always remind you of the year?

According to Spotify:

Matt & Kim – Happy If You’re Happy

Charlotte Lawrence – Sleep Talking

Camila Cabello – Real Friends

Somewhere Else – Glue

Anything off of the new albums by queens Ariana Grande, King Princess, Lykke Li, and Janelle Monae.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you…

 i. happier or sadder? Sadder, thanks to peak grad school stress.
ii. thinner or fatter? The tiniest bit thinner. I did get back to my normal weight, and even a little smaller than that, and felt some of my disordered eating tendencies rear their head. It’s a lifelong struggle.
iii. richer or poorer? Maybe a little bit richer — but my stipend will soon be knocked down quit ea bit.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Four years strong: talking to my mom.

Writing. Journaling. (Two separate things.)

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Letting criticism get to my head.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

The same as last year:

Waking up in NYC after Christmas Eve with KT’s family, and flying six hours cross-country to make it home, just in time for my family’s party.

20. Did you fall in love?

Every day, baby.

21. What was your favorite TV program?

Bachelor in Paradise and SNL continue to be my favorites. Schitt’s Creek is also a new classique. I/we also got into The Good Place, Atlanta and (as loathe as I am to admit this) Cells at Work.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so! … though there were definitely some clear feelings between people in my workplace.

23. What was the best book you read? 

Not my best year for reading. I finished When the Spirit Catches You, and then later got to meet the author at a book signing, which was wonderful. I also enjoyed some easy food writing, including Garlic and Sapphires and The Sweet Life in Paris.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

King Princess.

25. What did you want and get?

A very cute new apartment.

26. What did you want and not get?

An A-tier pub. An international travel fellowship.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Boy was so great. I also could not contained my joy watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

I also liked A Star Is Born, if only for one reason. Story time: K once took me to iPic Theatres when it first opened in Houston. We walked in, gawking at the luxurious lobby, before approaching the front desk:

KT: How much are tickets to the 3pm showing?
Cashier: A ticket is $28.
KT: Okay, total?
Cashier: Per person.
KT: Okay… maybe not.

We basically spun on our heels and almost walked out the door. But! The cashier offered to let us check out the theater. We walked into a screening room, sat in the fancy leather armchairs with their pillows and blankets, admired the full-service menus, and then promptly walked out. Cut to now: two years later, after KT has finished his residency and received his big boy paycheck, we returned to treat ourselves. KT booked nice seats and ordered gourmet Flaming Hot popcorn. We snuggled up in blankets for a boujee movie-watching experience. Even though the movie was, in KT’s words, a “snoozefest,” I loved the whole dang thing.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old?

I got boozy boba with my friends and sang karaoke in Chinatown all night. Then, once I got to DC, KT and I went to Jose Andres’ China Chilcano (still really hating that name, but the food was A+).

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Other than professional stuff (ahem, winning a travel fellowship)… KT going on my Thailand trip with me?

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in the year?

The same as all the past years: “grandmotherly, comfortable, quirky.” My new favorite items are my Athleta pants and some very comfortable shoes (Rothys flats and Crocs wedges #dontjudgeme).

31. What kept you sane?

So. Many. Boba. Sessions.

I got back into yoga and it has been incredibly rewarding. I also think added strength from CrossFit has done a lot for me in terms of growing my practice and making me fitter overall. My headstands are nearly fully developed — and crow is getting there too!

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I wasn’t especially moved by anyone this year. Armie Hammer? Lana Condor and Noah Centeneo?

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Where to even begin? The Brett Kavanaugh debacle was absolutely disgusting. The treatment of refugees has also been upsetting. As an educated consumer of healthcare, it was also awful navigating the system to try and obtain some pretty necessary services.

34. Who did you miss?

So many of my sweet San Francisco friends.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

No new friends, but many friendships deepened.

36. Was this year a good year for you?

It wasn’t terrible.

37. What was your favorite moment of the year?

Sitting at a beach overlook at China Walls in Oahu, watching the sunset. The sky was colored with pastels, and the ocean a deep blue. Local teenagers around us were playing music, smoking weed, and jumping off the cliffs. It felt like a scene from a coming-of-age movie.

38. What was your least favorite moment of the year?

Crying over a really mean rejection letter for a manuscript.

Crying in the parking garage because of Feelings.

39. Where were you when the year began?

T & V’s wedding in Newport Beach.

40. Who were you with?

Some of my oldest and most beloved friends from high school, and KT.

41. Where will you be when the year ends?

Another wedding! This time, in Tucson and for K’s friends from his time teaching abroad.

42. Who will you be with when the year ends?

KT and a whole bunch of people who we don’t know.

43. Did you break up with anyone?


44. Did you make any new friends?


45. Who are your favorite new friends?

Maybe J, because he’s from California and KT likes him a lot.

46. What was your favorite month?

October/November, because KT’s boards were finally over and we got to go on vacation.

47. How many different states did you travel to?

  1. Tucson, AZ
  2. Oahu, HI
  3. South Bend, IN
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Cincinnati, OH
  6. New Orleans, LA
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Washington, DC
  9. Orange County, LA, and San Francisco, CA

48. Did you lose anybody close to you?


49. How many concerts did you see?

Honestly… I think I might not have gone to any?

50. Did you have a favorite concert?

… but we did go see Mike Birbiglia’s new show on Broadway, which was very nice.

51. Did you drink a lot of alcohol?

Nope. I’ve officially tapered off my binge-drinking ways from early grad school.

I did have a really fun night here and there, though.

52. Did you do a lot of drugs?


53. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

I don’t think so.

54. What was the worst lie someone told you?

Fortunately people haven’t really lied to me.

55. Did you treat somebody badly?

I once broke down into tears because I yelled at my sister over the phone. Actually maybe I am ashamed of something, then (per #53).

56. Did somebody treat you badly?

My advisor can be a ball-buster, but I wouldn’t say that he treated me badly, per se.

57. What was your proudest moment?

Getting an R&R from a pretty cool journal.

58. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Trying to be funny and having it absolutely flop (e.g., at a doctoral consortia, during a rapid-fire introduction for our department, etc.)

59. If you could go back in time to any moment and change something, what would it be?

I’d have tried to write more (UGH I can’t stand how “grad student”-y this all sounds).

60. What are your plans for the new year?

Two of my old ones still stand: publish, and vacation internationally with bae.

I guess I’ll have to add a new one here too… look for a job post-grad school. Wow.

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