For me 2009 was a year of transitions. Emotionally it was a difficult year. I left San Francisco after five years, feeling like I was ready to leave. While I loved my time there, it was far from balanced. I had school and then work which kept me busy and my career/professional side fulfilled, but I was lonely. Mr. Milk was in Vancouver and travelling a lot making it difficult for us to meet as often, my family was far away, my parents in Cyprus and my sister in the UK, I had close friends in San Fran but they of course have their own lives, issues, families, and to be perfectly honest the lifestyle was very different and I had started to crave the laid-back lifestyle of Cyprus and my life-long friends. I was ready to give up the work part to move and be with Mr. Milk knowing full well that my profession would have to be put on hold - I am only a visitor in Canada and have no legal status as far as work goes. We are lucky that Mr. Milk makes enough to support us both.
While I felt ready to move on to the next stage of my life, the move was difficult. Outside of Mr. Milk and one or two of his friends, I don't know anyone and certainly don't have any girlfriends there. Having a long distance relationship means that some parts of your social life get compromised. We so wanted to spend time together and savour the 2-3 days we had, that we would rarely go out with others. Initially, having free time was great. I loved sleeping in, watching trashy tv, and generally recuperating from 5 years of grad school. But this soon became old and I wanted something more. People keep saying that I should relax and enjoy this time, but it was becoming harder to do and I started to feel ungrateful. Others would give a lot to be in my shoes and here I was feeling unhappy. Again it is about balance for me. And unfortunately studying for a licensing exam does not provide balance. After grad school, just the notion of having to study again is exhausting. Needless to say I have not embraced this with the best attitude - something I can definitely improve on in 2010.
Then came the blog - probably my greatest idea of 2009. I love my blog and my fellow bloggers. I have found a group of virtual friends that fill the gap of my girlfriends who are too far away. Both the blog and the amount of free time I have have enabled me to share my everyday life, my wedding ideas, and give me advice when I needed it. I have gained so much from it and from you. And it gives me a good distraction when I don't want to study! This blog is something I am grateful for.
2009 did not end on a great note for either Mr. Milk or myself. Our families have both been plagued by health issues. Ten days before we left for Cyprus my dad fell down the stairs at the front of our house and hit his head pretty badly. He was released from the hospital the day we arrived. He sustained a hematoma (collection of blood due to a hemorrhage) in his occipital lobe (back of the head) but also had trauma to the front and left side of his head. He is now on anticonvulsants for a month as blood is toxic to the brain and can bring on seizures. Anticonvulsant medication has side effects of depression and suicidal ideation, and although my dad has never suffered from either of these, you can see that his mood is somewhat down. Many of our plans changed over the Christmas break as he needed rest and quiet.
Three days before my dad fell down the stairs, my FMIL also fell down a flight of stairs and has fractured her leg near her right knee area. She has to wear an immobilizing orthopaedic brace for the next 12 weeks in the hope that she won't need surgery. She unfortunately is neither patient nor can sit still and if you ask her, she will tell you that she needs to wear the brace for six weeks! To top it off, the four of us were having dinner at a restaurant one night, when all of a sudden she became bright bright red in her face and neck area, and complained of feeling hot and numbness in her face. We waiting a few minutes, but when it wasn't subsiding we took her to the ER. Thankfully by the time we got to the hospital she had started to regain her color and the doc just gave her benadryl. She has never had an allergic reaction to anything in her life and so this came as a surprise. She now needs to go get tested for allergies.
Thankfully both of them will be ok and these are conditions that just need time to heal. We have been unable thus far to do any of the wedding related things we planned on doing, but none of it really seems important now. If we get a chance to do so in the next week great, if not, well... they will just have to wait.
I feel (and hope) that 2010 will be a good year. We are getting married, its my 30th birthday on 10.10.10 nonetheless, we will be going on our honeymoon somewhere exotic, many of our North American friends will visit our little island for our wedding, and we may be heading back to Cyprus permanently. We will both be faced with career challenges and new beginnings no matter where we decide to stay. I hope to embrace these with a positive attitude, openheartedly, and deal with whatever comes our way as a team. We feel closer and closer as each day goes by, and our bond as a team is becoming stronger all the time. We have a lot to do still for the wedding which I am looking forward to, and we are fitting into each others families more and more.
All we can ask for is health, love, and happiness for all, and may 2010 bring each and every one of us all we wish for.