My 2012 began in Budapest with the very lovely Katok.
In February the cherry trees blossomed in Berkeley and a certain Serb kissed me for the first time.
In March I matched the bow in my hair with my cardigan – or possibly the other way around – while making myself at home in the apartment of the aforementioned Serb.
In April I celebrated Easter twice; after the second celebration we hit the beach in San Francisco for a relaxing afternoon together.
In May I was a guest lecturer in the Slavic Department at Stockholm University.
I spent June in Russia where I visited Yekaterinburg, Berezniki, Moscow, and Vologda. The best thing that happened to me there? When I placed ten red roses on the grave of Shalamov.
In July I went to the Balkans for the first time in my life.
In August it was time for a final drink in Berkeley with Mrs S.
My [second] Master’s degree arrived in the mail in September.
Never before have I worn as many pretty dresses as I did in October 2012 – this is one of them.
In November the boyfriend and I found our Happy Place in Mendocino.
In December I enjoyed the best transatlantic flight so far in my life. It began with the flight attendant smiling “so you’re on your honeymoon?” in San Francisco and ended almost eleven hours later in Munich.
It is customary to reflect upon the past year at the very end of it. Often in December it seems that you are no longer the same person that you were in January. I have experienced several turbulent years in the past but never before has a year deprived me of as much as the year 2012 did. So many things that I took for granted in January are no longer with me in December: my father, my religion, my civil status. About twelve months ago I thought I would always be Lutheran, that I would never get married [even though I kept my fingers crossed for the better I could not quite convince myself that the man capable of loving me really existed out there], and that my father would never not be. Don’t get me wrong, however, for these losses were not without gains – and each of them came with an addition in its own right. During the year 2012 when I thought I was losing it all I came to understand that I still had everything left to acquire. And once you’ve lost what you once had it appears that you’re more likely to risk it all again. If you have nothing – you have nothing to lose. In the ruins of what once was I found the love of my life, came home to the church I always dreamed of, and saw my father as an angel in Heaven. Through this storm that the year 2012 was to me I lost my intellectual creativity, my physical strength, my mental peace, as well as several friends. It always takes a tragedy to reveal who your real friends are; real friends stand by you when the ground shakes underneath your feet and the best of real friends give you their shoulder to lean on when you can’t even stand anymore. Though it is a sad process to see people whom you considered the closest to you turn into mere acquaintances, it is necessary and healthy to cleanse one’s personal life from superfluous connections once in a while. At the end of 2012 I stand without knowing what 2013 will bring when it comes to friends for I lost so many during this year – so many who didn’t want or simply couldn’t handle my father’s death – but I will not lose hope. Hope dies last. For the year 2013 I have but two plans: to become strong and to dedicate this year to the relationship between me and the boyfriend. I intend to make the year 2013 one of strength; I want to rebuild the physical and mental strength of myself and to continue building upon the strong foundation of our relationship. I want to be strong and I want us to be strong.