Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012

So it's the end of the year again, we survived the apocalypse(/s?)! It might be cliché to do a "Best of" post but I'ma gonna do it anyway =)

This year has quite possibly been the hardest year of my life.. Big claim, I know, but trying to stretch my memory back to other years I haven't been able to pick a worse one. I started out this year with big dreams, hopes and expectations and now I'm on the other side of it a find a lot of my dreams have changed, hopes have been distinguished and expectations disappointed. Most All of the soul-crushing-ness happened in the first 6 months and it has taken me the rest of the year to start to feel a little more like myself again. I'd like to think I'm a better person for it but rather than dwell I think I'll just pick the best things that happened this year and look on the bright side =)

Firstly I made some lovely new friends, and rekindled some old friendships too.

Watching a Fußball match between Germany and Italy.
In Freiburg, living in a dorm, I met one of the coolest people ever: Jenn! She's kind and thoughtful, quirky and interesting, and it was a relief for me to find a friend I could be my full whacky self around. We made späetzle, ate giant pretzels at a medieval festival, went hiking in the Black Forest, cried over peanut kit-kats (ok that was just Jenn) and had all kinds of awesome adventures. Without her I don't think I would've made it. Unfortunately she lives in Florida.. But now I have a pen pal (there's a note about this in the coming post about my New Year's resolutions..) and someone I can hopefully go spend Halloween with one day.
Of course I made lots of other lovely friends in Freiburg:

Left to right: Adele, Caro, Asya, Johanna, Linda and Jenn
And with other Johanna instead of Adele.

And then I came back to Australia and I met some other new friends:
Michael (and my place of work for 2013!)
Ming and me (and RJ photo-bombing)

I started a new job when I got back to Sydney and immediately I felt welcomed into the Neutral Bay Diner family. Even though I have had to stop working there now (because it's closed over January and I'll start music work in February) I know that I will still be friends with the people I met there, especially Ming.

I feel really grateful for being able to have friends of all ages =)

I had some viola win moments this year and I think it was all because of the beating I took from a really amazing teacher in Freiburg. For the first time in my life I was practising consistently and a lot; I'm talking 4 or 5 hours here. So even though I returned to my lazy self when I got back to Sydney I managed to be successful in my audition for the Fellowship with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (going to be doing some work at the Opera House next year!!); I'm really looking forward to building my chamber music skills and getting involved with an orchestra on a professional level. I also (finally) managed to finish my Bachelor degree, it sure has been a saga and a half. It began with my mum telling me I shouldn't do a performance degree because I'd never get a job so I went into the education degree. I quickly realised that I didn't want to teach classroom music and although I would be happy teaching on a one-to-one basis I didn't think that was what I wanted in life. Ever since I started the violin there was one thing I wanted to "be when I grew up" and that was a performer. After high school that changed but I knew I still wanted to be part of it. Somehow the stars aligned and I started the viola and here I am now, foot in the door. I've made a huge step forwards in my performance anxiety this year, indicated by my feelings after my final recital (maybe one day I'll upload the recording of it..). I feel like I may actually be "on track" (whatever that means..)

Something else great about this year was all the travel I was able to do. I feel like I made the most of my time in Germany! I started off in Singapore with one of my Aunties celebrating Chinese New Year and eating amazing food in general. Then I stayed in Berlin for a month and although it was so cold I cried I had a great time discovering the history of the city. Then I started on a big trip; I reasoned that seeing as I was close-by in Germany I may as well make use of my proximity to the rest of Europe and go on an adventure. I went to Sweden - Kiruna, and went sledding, Norway - my favourite place (see more pictures here), Denmark - which wasn't my most favourite place but I did see wild deer, Scotland - oh hey Nessie!, Ireland for the Giant's Causeway and St Patrick's Day (boy the ferry to Wales the next day was rough..), England - it was super cool to see Stonehenge, Paris - where I went to at twilight concert at the Saint Chapelle (the music was awful but it was mostly to see the stained glass at that time of the day), Salzburg - Sound of Music bike tour, and then finally I settled in Freiburg: my home for the next four months.

 So 2012 wasn't such a bad year after all.

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