Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Reviewed

Oh my gosh, this is my fourth time writing a blog like this (see 2010, 2009, 2008)

Shanghai - 11.5 months-ish
Florence, Oregon - two weeks
Cambodia - two weeks
Xinjiang - 10 days
North Korea - 1 week
Rural Anhui - 5 days
Beijing - 1.5 weekends
Qingdao - 1 weekend
Huaxi - 1 weekend
San Francisco Airport - several hours here and there (getting really familiar with the Mexican joint in the international terminal)

What happened this year? I wrote another three cover stories, I got a promotion (middle management - woot, woot!), I organized a very successful Erotic Fiction Contest and reading night, I put together a small fundraiser for a migrant charity and also to buy our migrant columnist a Chinese New Year ticket home, I traveled a lot and loved almost every bit of it, I learned an important lesson about censorship, I solidified a great community of friends here in Shanghai and made the city my home. I joined a dodge ball team. I took on a freelance book editing project. I started cooking again. I started a writing group and refocused on fiction writing. I applied to graduate programs in fiction writing. I'm only applying to fully-funded programs so I don't want to get my hopes up, hundreds of people apply for a handful of slots. Okay, my hopes are kind of up.

Whether or not I get in, I think 2012 is going to be another big year for change. I'm happy with the progress I made as a writer this year, especially with some of the longer pieces I did for That's, but I also thought a lot this year about what kind of writer I ultimately want to be. Doing all the cover stories plus the freelancing gig chipped away at my energy and creativity, I intend to avoid that this year.

2011 Resolutions revisited
1. Travel more within China - Anhui, Xinjiang, Qingdao, Huaxi - I done good! Thanks, work.
2. Save a bit of money each month - North Korea was also through work so, yes! I managed to go a lot of places and not spend all my money. COOL!
3. Find more language exchange friends - I can't remember when I met who but I definitely have enough Chinese friends interested in practicing English that I'm no longer looking.
4. Drink less Coke - I forgot I made this resolution. Hmm.
5. Go to at least one new country - Yep
6. Read more books than I did last year - Not sure, I didn't keep track.
7. Make the first move more often: I'm good at making friends and I know a lot of people, but I feel like I usually wait for people to approach me in mingling situations. - Nah, probably not. Seven resolutions is too many anyways.

2012 Resolutions
1. Be less busy/prioritize time with the people I care about most
2. Eat and cook more quality, nutritious food, eat less crap
3. Prioritize exercise
4. Make meaningful progress in writing fiction
5. Travel more
6. Journal every day-ish (briefly) and keep track of books I read, movies I watch and people I meet

Okay six is still kind of a lot. Happy New Year everybody!

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