2012 has been a big year for us for more reasons than I can say here.
A year ago, I was “celebrating” the new year alone in an almost-empty apartment in Waukegan, IL. This year, I’m cozying up to my husband, in our first real place together, and waiting for the news that my newest niece has been born! I probably won’t look back on 2012 with any great nostalgia for the most part. It’s been a really rough year for me (which seems weird to say when I also pair it with the fact that I didn’t work a single day and pretty much all of my dreams came true by the end of it). There’s a lot of stuff I had to get through and get over the past 12 months, but I think the biggest challenge was living in so many places. So today, a recap of all the places I lived in 2012:
Waukegan, IL. I lived in Waukegan with Andreas after we were married, but he moved back to Denmark after three months, and I lived here by myself until just after the new year. While living in Waukegan, I worked as a nanny for two different families (both with a baby boy) and often find myself reminiscing and missing them, but as far as the apartment itself goes, there are very few happy memories there. It was in a rough part of town, smelled like cigarette smoke, and had a sticky carpet. I was only too glad to move out.
Then I moved to:
A cookie house! Just kidding…This was the cookie house I made last Christmas (my little sister made one, too!) when I moved in briefly with my parents. That cup on the left side of the picture with the fruit on it gives me a pang of homesickness every time I see it. All of the kids in the family got a cup (the girls with fruit and the boys with sailboats) when I was pretty little (maybe five). We wrote our initials on the bottom with Sharpie and used them for the next…18 years or so (and counting!). Anyway, the stay with my parents was pretty brief, and mostly consisted of me trying to pack and clean and get everything ready for my departure, but I count it because for that period of time, it was the only place I called home.
After a terrifying flight to Denmark, I lived:
Andreas’s parents’ house! Where we played so, so many games of Settlers of Catan that we had to make up new ways to play (including, but not limited to: throwing our starting settlements onto the board while closing our eyes.) We also did a lot of baking, and Andreas graduated with top grades! Then we made our way to:
Sweden (’70’s edition) I actually really loved this apartment. It was really nicely decorated, super retro, and the place where Andreas and I finally got to live alone together again! It was also the setting of our first Fast together, the place we lived when Andreas got the job we’ve been so thankful for ever since, where we dog-sat, and where I watched what seems like a million episodes of Project Runway with Swedish subtitles (and decided to finally bake lots of those things that I always thought I was too busy to bake!). This place only lasted for two months before we moved to:
the apartment next door! This apartment was actually nicer (fewer things to dust, better-functioning kitchen, etc.) but by this time, I think the restlessness and depression was really starting to hit me. I hadn’t been working in almost six months by the time we moved here, and now that Andreas was working full-time, it was tough to motivate myself to get out of the house, even on the summery days when the temperatures reached above a stunning sixty five degrees fahrenheit! However, this was the place I started my running program, drank a lot of lemonade, and lounged on a sunchair on the balcony, so it wasn’t all bad. But this apartment was only ours for three and a half months after which we moved in to:
Andreas’s sister’s apartment! We were very grateful that we could move in here, and I was really glad to get to know my sister-in-law and my nephew a bit better, but the truth is that by this time, I was already weary of never having our own place, never knowing where we’d live next, and feeling out of place. But this was the place we lived when I started attacking the library with zeal, knitting a lot again, and got the joyful news of my Danish residency permit!!! (After which we moved to….)
DENMARK. Boy was I glad to move here. We’re still getting the apartment together, still missing some key things (like a television) but for the most part, it’s well on its way! I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned the past year, and all the patience I’ve practiced (and practiced). But I’m not sorry it’s over. I’m looking forward to 2013 with so much hope and excitement, and even though I know I have more patience to practice (before I make friends, settle in, get a job, and really feel at home here), I know that I’ve got what it takes, and it will all come with time.
Happy New Year!!