2016 in review

Champagne and two glasses.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful solstice, Christmas, or whatever you celebrate. If you don’t celebrate anything at all, I hope you’re having an enjoyable break from work. I can’t believe how fast 2016 went! I know I say that every year.

Politically and socially, it’s been a bumpy year, but personally it was mostly good. I reached many of my goals including completing a PowerPoint course, a basic SEO course, and the second and third Feverbee community management courses. I paid off more than half of the credit card that I used to move to Australia and obtain my visas and also took a bite out of my education loan. I was able to donate 2% of my income to my favourite Effective Altruism causes and to some other smaller projects. In an effort to learn more about my ancestry, I had a Ancestry.com DNA test, which was fun and surprising. At home, we got a new dishwasher, new couch, new art, heating and cooling, and there’s some major work happening in the yard.

I also met my reading goals. I set out to read 12 books, but when I met that goal in the middle of the year, I changed my challenge to 24 books. I ended up reading 26 books. My favourite reads this year were:

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
  • My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  • The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Around town, I went to the Midsumma Pride March in St. Kilda, the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford, three writers festivals, a Black Lives Matter rally, the Andy Warhol and Degas exhibitions at the NGV, ComicCon, and I saw Tara Moss, Gloria Steinem, and Clementine Ford speak. I celebrated some unexpected milestones as an Australian. One of my tweets made it onto Q&A, I became eligible to apply for permanent residency and submitted that round of paperwork, and I completed my first census. I had a major geek moment when Susan Bennett, the voice is Siri, began following me on Twitter. She follows like 700k people, but I’m not picky. And Fidel Castro died, which made me happier than I thought it would. I only wished that my godfather, who was an imprisoned dissident many years ago, had lived to see the day.

I got a new temporary job in January working at Breast Cancer Network Australia. When they offered me a permanent position, I resigned from Quiip (that’s not a comment on Quiip; I loved working there). It’s been great fun working in an office again. I like my coworkers, the community, and it’s a rewarding job.

There were also some really low moments this year. My brother-in-law’s father died suddenly. Those are the worst times to be so far from home. For weeks I couldn’t talk about it or say his name without choking up and crying. A number of beloved celebrities passed away: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Juan Gabriel, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. That threatened to put a damper on the end of the year, but announcing my engagement made me happy and excited again.

I hope your year was mostly good too. Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration. Out with the old and in with the new!

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