Here’s to 38! And 38 Points to Sum Up My Life That Year

It was my birthday on Tuesday, but with the Texas shooting it didn’t seem the right day to post anything. Nevertheless I love birthdays, well, mine in particular, of course. This year my birthday was very quiet. Rich had made a delicious peach Melba cake for me, which we had already for breakfast. Josephine was in a perfect mood so that I could even get a bit of work done on that day. In the evening the three of us went out for dinner to a Turkish restaurant around the corner. And that was it already.

Here's to 38! And 38 Points to Sum Up My Life That Year | janavar

Looking back at the last year, I came up with 38 points to sum it up:

  1. Patience. Patience patience patience. The one skill I really had to learn to master. When closing on our apartment took more than six weeks longer than planned. When receiving my U.S. work permit took four months longer than expected. When I really just wanted to meet my baby.
  2. Shortly after my 37th birthday I found out that I was pregnant – which meant, among other things, that I didn’t drink any alcohol for most of the year. Josephine is already more than 3 months old.
  3. I never knew how bad Manhattan smells in summer until I became pregnant. At least I vomited into a garbage can on the side of the street only once.
  4. June was rough because I didn’t feel amazing plus I worked so much. On many days I got home after 6 p.m., some days only at or after 9 p.m.
  5. Also coffee made me sick for the first trimester. Which was very sad considering that we had just purchased a great automatic coffee maker.
  6. Oh, and then I became really anxious that something could be wrong with the pregnancy.
  7. When the school year ended last June, I was convinced I would be back for the following and many more school years. But I wasn’t: no work permit, no job. That was a real downer at the time.
  8. It was one of the best moments ever when we went together to a pregnancy checkup in early July and heard Josephine’s strong heartbeat. That was also when we told our parents, even though it was still early.
  9. We became apartment owners and finally moved in last July. I still cannot fully believe that we own our own place.
Here's to 38! And 38 Points to Sum Up My Life That Year | janavar
  1. It was so exciting when Rich had his last day as a resident doctor and, shortly after, started a job as an attending.
  2. When our closing was spontaneously postponed once more, we didn’t think twice, packed our bags and the cats, and drove to the homestead in Maine. There we spent a great week of vacation with Rich’s extended family.
  3. While we thought we hid the pregnancy well during that week, we recently learned that everybody knew at once when I declined coffee and alcohol, ha ha.
  4. The little village store there sells pickled eggs. I loved them even more when pregnant.
  5. Oh, and talking about pickles … I ate so many pickles last year. And pickle flavored chips and popcorn, thanks to Trader Joe’s.
  6. I still feel that my previous employer did not handle the news of my pregnancy well. But what ultimately broke the camel’s back was that I just couldn’t obtain my U.S. work permit in a timely manner. We tried everything including expedited processing and contacting a senator. To no avail. USCIS was so overwhelmed that they didn’t process any applications in their own – published – time frame.
  7. I never knew how much I defined myself through my work, until I was out of it and at home.
  8. The cats and I grew even closer during all these months at home.
  9. I missed my granny’s 90th birthday party because I also didn’t receive my travel permit in time.
  10. I finally went to experience the fall foliage in Vermont in October 2021. I went on a road trip for almost a week and it was wonderful.
Here's to 38! And 38 Points to Sum Up My Life That Year | janavar
  1. Camping isn’t as bad as I always thought. At least this one night in Croton Point Park Campground was fun.
  2. Rich definitely deserved a medal for bearing me when I a) was depressed about my job situation and b) whined about all kinds of pregnancy complaints. Instead I got him a digital piano for Christmas.
  3. As soon as the Covid booster became available for me, I got it – even though it knocked me out for a day.
  4. NYC slowly opened up again and I was happy to attend the Halloween parade. I also got to wear my favorite costume ever: I was the Grinch and Rich was my Max.
  5. I discovered the NYC recreational centers and we signed up for their inexpensive memberships. Then we went swimming quite a few times.
  6. Eventually, I noticed how much more relaxed I was not working as a teacher anymore. I didn’t even need my night guard anymore. So we decided that I would give up my teaching career.
  7. At the start of December my Green Card interview was finally scheduled. We were well prepared, but still nervous. The interviewer told us at the end that we had passed and I would receive my Green Card in the mail within a few days.
  8. My favorite memory from Christmas with Rich’s extended family: His cousin’s little daughter asked me secretively: “Are you going to have a baby?” – “Yes.” – “I knew it!”, and she walked away proudly.
  9. When Rich’s parents visited us at Christmas, we made potato dumplings, red cabbage and duck. I felt so German and so proud about making this traditional dish.
  10. Right after New Year’s I won tickets for “Six” in the Broadway Lottery. We got to sit in the first row and “Six” immediately became my favorite musical. I still regularly listen to its soundtrack.
Here's to 38! And 38 Points to Sum Up My Life That Year | janavar
  1. January felt like such an endlessly long month: I felt like being the size of a small killer whale and couldn’t do much.
  2. I finally made it to the Lunar New Year’s celebrations in Chinatown, which was a wonderful experience.
  3. Then February was all about Josephine. She was born via C-section and has ever since been our perfect baby.
  4. I was the most surprised myself when my recovery from the surgery went so much better and faster than expected.
  5. Even though I spend most of my time looking after Josephine, I have made a little time to take on some freelance content creation jobs. I enjoy them a lot.
  6. First I couldn’t travel internationally because of Covid. Then I didn’t have a travel permit. After that I was too pregnant. Then Josephine didn’t have any passport. – I was super quick in making passport appointments for my daughter.
  7. I got Covid for the second time in April, which was super devastating because I spent almost a week in bed. Again. And I could be with my baby only while breastfeeding her and wearing a big mask.
  8. I never thought I could find so much satisfaction in being a stay-at-home mother. But it is actually superduper.
  9. Overall, I do not think I have ever been as happy and relaxed as I am now.
Here's to 38! And 38 Points to Sum Up My Life That Year | janavar

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