Sparkling Allison

American expat in Denmark, mom, lover of sparkles and staplers, avid book club member.

2015 Year in Review

Sparkling Allison

I came across Caiti's post at Roots, Wings & Wanderings and loved the format of her year end review, so... copy/paste!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
I went on a trip with both of my sisters. We'd all traveled together separately in pairs, but never as the three of us. We did the wine route in South Africa, and it was super fun. I hope we can find an opportunity to do it again soon!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
The only resolution I made last year was to read 27 books, and I did that. For 2016, I want to wear earrings every day. And I upped the number of books I want to read to 36, which is 3 a month.

Scott and I have also vowed to go to IKEA exactly 0 times this year. We need to get better at shopping in Copenhagen, as odd as that may sound.

3. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
I'm doing Ali Edward's "One Little Word" class this year, and chose the word HAPPY, because who doesn't want to be more happy in their life? I'm not saying that I didn't have happiness in 2015, I just want more of it in 2016. :)

4. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 20th: Sister trip in South Africa.
March 3rd: My trip to the GDC conference in March was the last time I was in the mother country.
May 22nd: Parents arrive! They were our first visitors of many throughout the year. Oh, this was also the same day that I gave a presentation without my slides.
August 3rd: Our Danish road trip begins, with little sister Lou in tow.
September 9th: I turned 35, tipping over into the upper 30's, and am now part of the 35-44 bracket on surveys.
October 1st: The day my 3 months of severance began after being laid off from work.
November 27th: The day I accepted the offer for my new job. 
December 25th: Our first Christmas where Calvin understood the concept of opening gifts.

5. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Securing a new job was a significant achievement, and I'm proud of the way I handled being #funemployed. 

6. What was your biggest failure?
I don't really think of it as a failure, but I'm not proud of all of the work travel I did throughout the year. It felt very disconnected, and after being laid off, it felt like a huge waste of time. One moment when it really hit me how distracted I'd been was when Calvin's vuggestue closed. It was unexpected for us, although the vuggestue said they'd been telling everyone of their financial troubles for some time. There were many other parents who also didn't get the memo and who were also very upset, but regardless it made me realize that I'd been out of the loop when I could have been more engaged.

7. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Lots and lots of viruses were passed on to me by Calvin throughout the year. He's a germ infested little thing, and there were definitely periods of 2015 where I felt like the runny noses were never going to end. Nothing significant though, and I'm grateful for that.

8. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a new bike this year and it's awesome! I'd been commuting on my rusty, pink, tank of a bike, which had started to feel unsafe, especially when carrying my special cargo in the kid seat on back. My new bike is... aaaah, luxury. I can keep up with Scott now without any complaint (although I'm pretty sure he still rides slowly for me) and I'm confident cruising along through mud and muck if needed. I have a 20 minute bike commute to my new job, and I'm so happy to have my new bike to do it with!

9. Where did most of your money go?
Investments/savings. We own our condo back in Seattle, and I classify our spending on it as an investment. So, if you include that with what we put away for Calvin's college, our retirement and short term savings... that's probably the majority of our money right there.

We bought a couch and we moved, which were big expenses. And we traveled. We also paid taxes.

10. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My parents sent a message to our family over WhatsApp, suggesting that we all meet in San Diego sometime. Much to my surprise, everyone got on board with the idea, and we've scheduled a trip for this coming March. It'll be a full year since I've been in the states, and I. AM. EXCITED.

11. What songs will always remind you of 2015?
The entire Parenthood soundtrack will remind me of 2015. The show ended in January 2015, and while in mourning for it, I listened to the soundtrack on repeat for months and months.

15. Did you make any new friendships?
Yes, many. I've already noted that my #funemployment was a really social time for me, and I finally feel like I have some friends here in Copenhagen. I still need to work at it, as I'm not a naturally friendly person, but I have some good momentum right now.

16. Did you go on vacation?
Yes! We started the year by wrapping up a trip to Utah, I went to South Africa with my sisters, we took a road trip around Denmark in the summer, and then we had a surprise 2 week vacation to Singapore. 

17. What do you wish you had done (more and less) of?
More: Celebrations, physical activity, photo taking.
Less: Visits to IKEA, Facebook, Nutella.

18. How did you spend the holidays?
We had the most glorious period of holidays and visitors over the last three months, so I'm going to include Halloween in "the holidays".
October: Halloween and Scott's dad, his partner and his brother. We spent the evening opening our door to over 130 trick or treaters.
November: Thanksgiving and Adrienne/Ajay. We hosted Thanksgiving for all of the American expats we know, plus some Danes and other hooligans. In all there were over 25 people in our little house, and the last guests left after the last American football game ended at 2am local time.
December: Christmas and Heather. We had a whirlwind 2 weeks of everything Christmas while Heather was here, including pre and post shopping, visiting the Christmas markets, drinking glogg, making sugar cookies, opening presents, singing Christmas songs, celebrating the Solstice. It was lovely.

19.  What new food did you discover?
Roasted potatoes are a new specialty of mine. Toss them with dried ranch dressing mix and some olive oil, and delicious. I cooked a lot this year, and have really enjoyed it. I like to say that I enjoy cooking when it's not an obligation, and I'm finding ways to enjoy it even when it is.

20. What was your favorite TV program?
Scott and I have been watching Person of Interest, and I think it's been my favorite over the year. I am also re-watching 90210, which is just... cringe-worthly, but awesome.

21.  What was one of your favorite experiences of the year?
#funemployment. Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic for it because I'm starting my new job tomorrow, but it was a really, really nice time.

22. What did you want and get?
My new bike was something I'd been wanting for some time.

23. What did you want and not get?
A particular apartment in Copenhagen K. We made a verbal agreement with the landlord, who backed out on us the next day. It led to us getting the house we're currently renting though, so it turned out to be a major win for the year (and actually, for the next 3 years of our lease).

22. What was the best book you read? 
The Golem and the Jinni is my favorite after a year of reading really great fiction.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I discovered Leon Bridges this year... I don't remember how. We also got to see him play live here in Copenhagen at the beautiful Vega music venue. Otherwise, Spotify's Discover playlist keeps the new music rolling in for me these days.

24. What was your favorite film of this year?
Mad Max. I didn't see many movies this year, but made a point to see Mad Max in the theaters. It's perfect for the big screen and big sound experience! I could have gone back to see it again.

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35 in September while I was at a conference for work. While I was at that particular conference is exactly when my work situation started to disintegrate big time, so it wasn't the best week for me! I don't remember how/if I celebrated!

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Skinnies, flowy/oversized top, flats or boots. I used to be all about the cardigans, but I seem to be making a shift to single piece tops. I've also started wearing more dresses.

27. What kept you sane?
100% Scott, who keeps everything chill and copacetic.

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
I've been a little bit obsessed with Adele after she came back into the music world in a major way. I mean, good for her to disappear for a while to care for herself and her family and then come back with a crazy mega hit. She seems healthy and happy.

29. What political issue stirred you the most? 
I've been appalled at the gun control issues in the states, including everything from shootings of blacks by cops to mass shootings. It's just disgusting that we can't get a handle on guns in the United States, and one reason why I'm happily living abroad.

30. Who did you miss?
I miss SEATTLE PEOPLE. I am lucky to see at least one member of my family 2x a year or more, but Seattle people are farther in between.

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
The Konmari method! I read the book and then konmari'd the @!#$ out of our apartment before we moved in September. I love her entire philosophy, and think of it when I'm shopping, when I'm getting home and putting my scarf away, and when I'm doing laundry. It's a new part of my life and I really like it.

33. Share a quote or song lyric that sums up your year. 
When you're up you're up, and when you're down you're down, and when you're only halfway up you're neither up nor down.