Maria Holland

2009: The Year in Review

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2009 at 7:19 pm

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Got in a car accident; learned to write my first Chinese character; entered a frat house; played a drinking game (Catan); roadtripped to a concert; went to Easter Vigil Mass (Roman and Greek); went to a bar; commuted by bus; took a Greyhound; had an article in a city newspaper; took summer school; owned an Apple product; had a residence permit, phone, and bank account in a foreign country; used Skype and QQ; lived within walking distance of a beach; cleaned up a mercury spill; danced ballroom; went to Mass in Chinese; bathed nude in public; experienced a typhoon, earthquake, and rockslide; attended an ordination and a First Mass; went on a date with a foreigner; ate at a real McDonald’s in China; met a Chinese person who doesn’t speak Mandarin; went to a Chinese hospital; participated in a track meet; 洗头; spent Christmas abroad; went to class on a weekend; had a ‘usual’ club; responded "Yes" when asked if I spoke Chinese; ate an oyster, hotpot, pomelo, douhua, baozi, baocai, beef tendon, and snake; ate fish and liked it

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t think I made any last year, and I don’t know yet about next year . . . still have a day!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Mary.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
China (if this can be called a visit) and Taiwan.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Focus and balance.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 2, when I found out I was heading to China for the full year, and August 26th, when I first arrived in Xiamen. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Every bus ride that successfully got me where I was going; every Chinese conversation in which I successfully communicated and understood; each of the mountains I climbed; every time I ate something new or something I already knew I didn’t like

9. What was your biggest failure?
Perhaps the time I said “二个月” (instead of 两个月), or any of the other stupid mistakes I made in Chinese. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got into a car accident in January but was thankfully unscathed!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Currently I’m especially grateful for my sweatpant leggings, scarf collection, and little gel heater, but I don’t think any money I’ve spent on food here in China has been wasted, especially not on 茄子 dishes :)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My parents, for agreeing to come to China!  My friends who have supported me when I decided to come to China and since then.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled or depressed?
Chinese when they talk during church and spit on the floor or table and open windows in the cold. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel, definitely – between trips to Tulsa, Arizona, China, Taiwan, Shanghai, and Wuyishan!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The simple pleasures and unexpected adventures of life. 

16. What songs will always remind you of 2009?
Some of my new favorites: Hot and Cold (Katy Perry), Beautiful Girls (Jojo), Fireflies (Owl City), Somos Arena y Mar (Mana), Hey Soul Sister (Train), Forever (Chris Brown), Radar (Britney), Precious Love (James Morrison).  Love Today (Mika) from the Udall orientation!  Living La Vida (Coldplay) and Vamos a la Playa from our trip to Taiwan.  I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas), Just Dance (Lady Gaga), Fire Burning (Sean Kingston), Jia Ho (Slumdog Millionaire), Disturbia (Rihanna) and Right Round (Flo Rida) from nights at The Key.  普通朋友,爱情,童话,故事里的事,大中国,北京欢迎你,爱上爱的味道,樣子,爱我别走,特别的爱给特别的你,东方之珠 and all the Chinese songs I dance to :)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?  I think I’m a little more joyful. 

    ii. thinner or fatter?  About the same . . .

    iii. richer or poorer?  I think I made money by going to school this summer, so I may be a little bit richer. 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Thinking of others. 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Thinking about others.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I went to class, baked two batches of cookies, went to Chinese Christmas Eve Mass outside on Gulangyu, got an ice cream cone at McDonald’s, walked home from 中山路, and ate grilled lamb on the side of the road at 2 a.m.  On Christmas Day, I had class again, went to see a friend of mine be Santa Claus, and cleaned my room. 

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Yes.  With 茄子 (eggplant) it was love at first sight, but 奶茶 (milk tea) kept working at it and won my heart over as well. 

24. What were your favorite TV shows?
I’m still a big fan of The Office, and I really enjoyed the DVDs of Psych and Big Bang Theory that I bought.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?
I can’t remember seeing any really great new movies, but I cherished some classics – Mulan, It’s A Wonderful Life, Dirty Dancing, etc.

26. What was the best book you read?
Either the Man Who Loved China or Guns, Germs, and Steel.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Google and Baidu music (free music downloads) and the Filipino band at The Key.

28. What did you want and get?
The Church in China.

29. What did you want and not get?
To go to Sichuan University (which was probably one of those blessings in disguise)

30. What was the best new trend you discovered?
Milk tea, probably.  (I’m not really up on trends.)

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 21.  There was a blizzard in Tulsa, so my friends made me dinner and cakes at Newman instead of going out; we ended the day with a game of drinking Catan in my apartment. 

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 
The ability to bi-locate, perhaps. 

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Dresses and skirts!  Well, now I just wear what I brought to China. 

34. What kept you sane?
The internet (and, through that, my friends and family) and my iPod.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most? 
Any of them that survived the year . . .

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Abortion, especially in the health care bill.

37. Who did you miss?
Always someone . . . I miss the friends and family that I’m not with in America, and I wish my SENEA buddies were here with me in China. 

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Wang Pu, Aleid, Carlos, Alice, and Pun. 

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
我们在中国,都可以!  (We’re in China.  You can do anything!)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Tis good, Lord, to be here, 
But we cannot remain. 
So if You bid us leave the mount, 
Come with us to the plain."

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