Jan 10, 2011

An end and a new beginning

Dear readers. A new year has started and with it new opportunities to make of our lives better lives, new chances to do better, to accomplish, to correct our mistakes and mend our faults. You have to make sure that 2011 will be in any possible way better and will bring you even more satisfactions than 2010.

My 2010 was a crazy one. So many things happened; many rewards as well as regrets… let me share a few of those with you.

I had finished as PhD student the last day of December of 2009 and I had absolutely no idea when exactly I was going to fly to my new destination, Paris. It could have been in two months, in three months, maybe? I had no salary and no savings to survive until I got the approval to move to France, all depending on the legal bureaucracy. When all of a sudden finishing January, after about two months expecting for a exact date to travel, I received a call from my supervisor in France, he said:

“Tanai, all the things are finally taken care of, all the papers singed, all the red tape cleared, you can come to France next week if you want.”

And just like that, in a matter of days I said goodbye to more than five years in Sweden, my dear Sweden… I sold all I didn’t need, stored in four boxes all things I couldn’t just throw away but I wasn’t going to need at the moment, packed all my clothes, my pressure cooker, my laptop… and set to begin a new chapter in my life: the Paris chapter.

The Paris chapter initializes with me living with my boss for a week before I found accommodation in the city. He lived in a big old dirty house beyond the last station of the suburban train, far from the city of light. My boss literally said that he had not made any single reparation or done any maintenance to the house since he moved in there more than two decades ago. So, as you could imagine things looked not really clean and well kept… but all I needed at the moment was a bed, a warm blanket, a lot of hospitality, and kindness; and I certainly got that.

I was lucky to find an apartment in the city faster than I imagined, that was at Les Gobelines… close to the famous Rue Mouffetard, the Latin Quarters, the Pantheon, the Luxemburg garden and so.  Such happiness to have a new place to call home and in the center of Paris… even thought I was moneyless, in debt, and with the credit cards empty. Today I have moved to a new apartment in the suburbs south of the city, a bit cheaper and closer to my work.

My new work place, the French Commission for Atomic and Alternative Energies (CEA) was totally different to what I was used to in Sweden. A huge institute with more than eight thousand workers, counting scientists, engineers, administrative staff, and so on… a high security place since there’s two nuclear reactors and a lot of “top secret” activities. It has been definitively an interesting experience to work in a place like that… and it has three great restaurants, where I found out that duck is delicious and probably one of my favorite animals to eat. For the locals the food there is pretty low quality but for me it’s quite alright most of the time.

During 2010 I had the chance to travel quite a bit to places never explored before; in the first place to France, secondly to Hungary, I went to China and at the end of the year I went to the Czech Republic. Every one of them such beautiful places… I’m so grateful: Paris, Szeged, Beijing, and Prague… unforgettable. I got to see the Great Wall of China and meet my old friend from Bogotá in Prague; it’s still kind of surreal.

On the other side of things my year was filled with confusion and uncertainty… I had job secured for  2010  and I somehow had to secure a contract for 2011. Applying for a new job or position in science is very time consuming and it might take easily eight months to a full year… which translates into me just arriving to a new work, and not being able to focus since I must also spend significant amounts of time figuring out how to find money for a second year, and if I can’t find money for a second year in France, try to apply for a new position somewhere else.

Finally before X-mas, after a full year of trying and failing I managed to secure my contract for 2011; which means that I will be staying in France one more year. The cycle begins again since at the end of the spring beginning of the summer I must start looking for a new job for 2012… what will be my next destination?

On the romantic side of things, 2010 was a very poor one… no important amorous relationships were created and no meaningful romantic adventures happened. I didn’t lack opportunities yet I lacked initiative and drive; probably it’s due to a feeling of sadness I’ve been carrying with me this year, a thorn in my soul. Regardless, I think I’ve made a couple of good new friends during 2010, that’s rewarding enough for the moment.

2010 was a year of reflection; I have done a lot of thinking and calculating on how to live my life as I really want. Defining clearer than ever my goals for the future… the ways I want to live. I have come to many personal realizations and I realized that I have made many mistakes I must correct soon if I truly want to accomplish my dreams. It has triggered a number of small life decisions and choices that hopefully in the long term will proof very beneficial. Your dreams and your goals should be priority number one and you should do whatever it takes to accomplish them and make them a reality, your reality. It sounds cliché, but it’s definitively true… assuming that you do have goals and dreams, and that they are as big as they can be.

I’m still very confused about many things, unsure and uncertain about many others… I guess that's normal. In any case, I’m doing all I can to find answers to my questions.

I have already started writing a list of goals for 2011 and beyond, and I have started to do a little planning of how to accomplish all of it or most of it. I want 2011 to be a very positive year, a year full of rewards and zero regrets… but I must be prepared to confront hardships and difficulties because the roads of life are inherently tough and complex. I must not fear pain and suffering, I must not fear failure, because all of them: pain, suffering, and failure are the best teachers… and I have so much to learn and to experience, and sometimes I’ll have to risk, sometimes I’ll have to fight… and life will test me and beat me down to my knees, and I must get up again knowing no defeat. I know that my heart is weak and coward, fearful of a darker tomorrow, fearful of getting hurt, of losing the comfort that I have, of losing at life...

The accomplishments of my goals and dreams will be my ultimate life victory and I will not give up until I am there: that is my fight, determination will be my shelter and patience will be my weapon.

To my readers I wish you the best for 2011, live life fully.

1 comment:

  1. Tanai, I always like to read your posts so much. :) I am sure you will have a great 2011, full of sucesses. It is very nice to know how much you think about things you decide to do with your life and how much you try to realise what is wrong in order to make it better. You are a very beautiful person who will certainly achieve a nice equilibrium in your life. Have a nice 2011 and hope we can meet sometime this year. Besos!