7 things that made me stronger in 2016

This year definitely had its ups and downs. More downs though I believe. But I am also a rather pessisimistic person. I do have my bright moments (like yesterday when I found “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” for $ 8 on sale – definitely a sign for me to finally buy and read that book), but 2016 made it hard for me. Maybe if only George Michael hadn’t died on Christmas Day. It feels like all those stars drop like flies. But also in my personal life I could have done without the one or other event. But they happened. So all I can do is to see only the good: These seven events have made me stronger.

Being in Turkey during the military coup

I woke up on a wonderful summer day in Şanlıurfa and my phone was buzzing with text messages. While I had slept, a military coup had been staged in Ankara and Istanbul. At least I was then in one of the safest parts of the country (which is the biggest irony because I was very close to the Syrian border). The unsuccessful coup broke my happy vacation mood though and fear took over. I cut my trip through southeast Turkey short and stayed at the Aegean Sea for the remaining three weeks. From there I could have easily taken a ferry to Greece if the worst had come to worst. It was interesting to watch though how the emergency rule was applied, how people stopped posting any political opinion on social networks, how opposition newspapers were closed down, how thousands of people were arrested and even more lost their jobs. I am still convinced that the coup was only staged by the government, but no matter what the truth is I know for sure that I cannot live in a country like this. I love Turkey very much, I even thought about returning there. But it is against all my beliefs to live in a country that is ruled by emergency rule and where the president becomes more and more of a dictator.

Breaking my smartphone screen

That was a devastating event. I love all the modern technic devices, they are my grown-up toys. And I had never ever broken any. I mean even my Apple iBook from 2001 still works (*knocking on wood*). But then my beloved Galaxy S5 fell to the ground and the screen simply broke. I even cried a little. O self-pity. Then I spent $ 200 in order to get my 1 1/2 year old phone fixed. What did I learn from this? I really need to save all phone numbers elsewhere, too, and I need to write down passwords. Also I will learn to keep my phone for at least another year because the repairing was so expensive. Before that I dreamed of buying the next Galaxy phone in 2017. But let’s be honest, I don’t really need a new phone, esp. since the screen of my present phone is brandnew.

Being in New York City during a blizzard

We had read the weather warning, but we still went. It was last January, and we just made it to Manhattan by bus before they shut down all traffic. A blizzard isn’t pleasant. Being German I had always thought “o well, it’s only a little snow storm” – it is not. It is big amounts of snow falling in a very short time plus strong winds. The fun part was though that we walked down Fifth Avenue and it was absolutely empty. Still Manhattan covered in snow is stunning. Even when you can’t leave the hotel anymore because really everything has closed, and when all the busses are cancelled when you want to return home. But there were solutions for everything. And until then I absolutely enjoyed the beauty of the moment [here].

Trump being elected for president

That happened too. I am from a region in Germany where the right-wing party AfD received % 21 in the state election this year. When I lived in Turkey, the ruling party AKP reached absolute majority. Twice. Therefore I would have appreciated a lot if the US voters had been more reasonable. Or their election system. But no, in 2016 we are spared nothing. Think also of the Brexit for instance. Being a non-resident alien to the US, I am slightly afraid of what is going to happen once Trump is in office. I am also scared of all his other political decisions. We’ll know more in a month. Looking at the world I notice though that people tend to become or at least vote more for conservative or even nationalist people. This is nothing I can relate to.

Getting soaked during the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Another sad sad day in my life. I was so happy for my dream to come true, i.e. to attend the lighting in Manhattan [here], and then it poured all day long. Actually, writing this post I realize that the weather often is not up to scratch when I go to NYC. But when you really want something, you stick it out. I stood in the rain until I was dripping wet, which happened only because security collected all umbrellas. At least I found a way to avoid a cold: I went shopping at Times Square at 9 p.m. The warm sweater I bought then has actually become one of my favorites. Also I am pretty sure that in a few months I’ll have forgotten all about the rain on that day and will only rave about t h e Christmas tree.

Having three different roommates

The good thing is I love my apartment. The bad thing is that I don’t like having so many different roommates. Three in a year is definitely at least two too many for my liking. For your information, I wasn’t the reason for them moving. My first roommate moved in with her partner, my second roommate was a subtenant for the first one, the third one is still here. And I keep my fingers crossed that she stays at least until our lease is up. It had never been one of my life goals to still share an apartment when I’m in my thirties. But it happened. It is not even because I am poorly paid (I am not). Rent in Boston is so unbelievably expensive that I can’t really afford living alone. Although I am considering it (and calculating – but let’s be honest the rent is only bound to increase) because I miss the days when I didn’t have to accept things like a bike in my hallway.

Leaving my cat alone for six weeks

That was during the summer. I mean I left Canavar alone before. I couldn’t go on any vacation if I wasn’t able to. But this year I left him with my latest roommate, who at the time I didn’t really know. I had only noticed that she didn’t have a clue about cats. So I asked two of my best friends, who also live in Cambridge, if they could visit the cat from time to time – and clean out his litter box. In return Canavar would cuddle with them. My friends went to see him about once a week and also sent me pictures. I had been right: My roommate didn’t know anything about cats and she didn’t even pet him. I only learned later that cats apparently aren’t kept in houses in China. But thus I felt even worse leaving my cat alone for six weeks. The great thing is that Canavar is happy whenever I come home. But I feel like I don’t want to leave him behind for another six weeks soon. It is a too long time.

© janavar


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2 thoughts on “7 things that made me stronger in 2016”

  1. Dear Jana,
    Happy new year, let’s hope it’s a good one ;-)).
    I just wanna say thanks for your blog, i’m loving it. Your posts are often that funny and self-ironic.
    Hope to read alot of it this year.
    Greetings from Gemany,

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