Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life

A little blog post series: I am turning 40 next week, and I thought it would be fun to look back at my last decade before my birthday. So, every day for ten days, there will be a new blog post reminiscing about one year. Also, check out my Instagram for a few more photos and videos from these last ten years of my life.

The Big Pictures

Things were finally going well when I turned 33. I had a new roommate that I actually got on well with. I had a car to explore the region and even go on a road trip during summer vacation. I had friends. Our work conditions were slowly improving by a) overall less work hours and b) a salary increase.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

That July, I took a wonderful road trip from Boston to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York to the Niagara Falls to Toronto. And just like that I fell in love with Canada. To me, it felt a bit more relaxed, like the perfect mix between the U.S. and Europe. In fall, I took the train from New York City to Montreal and, because I loved Montreal that much, went back once more over Thanksgiving. Oh also, on that road trip I accidentally broke my DSLR camera, which really hurt. I bit the bullet and upgraded to an even better camera. Besides, my car almost broke down on the way home, but just about made it. It had had a broken converter. Ever since, unfortunately, I am a bit scared that the car will die right under me. Even though it has kept up very well over the years.

The school year didn’t start as well for me as I had an accident early on: using the paper cutting machine, I cut off the top of my right hand index finger … that was a very painful experience. I highly do not recommend it. That was how I learned that I am actually ambidextrous – I just used that simple cutting machine differently than right-handed people, and that is how my finger got caught.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

I really fell in love with Canada

For Christmas, I went to see my parents in Germany and flew back via Istanbul. That was the last time I visited my favorite city in the world. I spent New Year’s there – and realized that I didn’t know anyone there anymore. My friends had moved on. So I went to see “The Greatest Showman” (it has become one of my favorite movies), then took a walk to stay awake until midnight. And then it was 2018.

The year started with two things:

1) I realized that my taxes had been paid totally wrong for several months. I owed thousands of dollars. While I was seriously considering to just immediately leave the U.S. and already applied to jobs in Europe, I also learned that I wasn’t fully responsible for the error because, as an employee, I had not been able to change the system that way. Eventually, with a lot of support, things were righted, and I stayed.

2) I started dating my roommate. I never saw that coming. I mean everybody had made jokes about us eventually dating when he moved in. But I just laughed at the idea. On the other hand, Rich was my best roommate ever. We did a lot of things together and got closer. Together with his sister, I threw him a surprise party for his 30th birthday. Well, and the rest is history.

My Firsts

My first U.S. road trip. Finally, I had a car, and I really enjoyed just driving without planning too far ahead. The interstates in Upstate New York are pleasantly empty. I loved seeing the Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls.

Canada. Even though it was the closest other country, I didn’t visit before 2017. But then I immediately fell in love. Toronto in summer was beautiful. And so I decided to also see Montreal during fall break. It turned out that I liked Montreal even more. So I went again over Thanksgiving. I also went to my first ice hockey game there.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

My favorite houses in Montreal

It turned out that Rich was first amazing roommate in the U.S. (and I had had three before him). It took him a while, but eventually Canavar really loved him. And Canavar knew people and was picky. Also, Rich became my first U.S. American boyfriend.
Another first was that we went, together with a friend, to a shooting range. It was only there that I fully realized that I did not want to pull a trigger. Shooting guns is not for me.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

One of the first photos of us together

Oh, and a last first was a school trip to Washington D.C. Because it was required (just don’t ask), we had to stay in an Airbnb. Let me tell you that it is not easy to find one for over 20 people (two high school classes plus two teachers). It was a big pain to organize, but, once we there, we had a blast. I still remember a long night of playing Werewolf with everyone. That trip also meant that I finally had moved past the other school trips to the mountains. No more hiking! Yay!!!!!!

What I Learned

Besides that Canada is amazing, that is.

It was definitely the year where I finally learned to say no. That also meant to let go some friendships, but I didn’t feel they were worth as much if I wasn’t “allowed” to refuse requests. On the other hand, I had several great friends that I could fully rely on (within reason).

I learned a valuable lesson about taxes and U.S. laws. Basically, it is officially hardly ever an employer’s fault when mistakes are made. On the other hand, I found help when I didn’t even expect it. There, I also learned that you need to advocate for yourself and definitely fight back.
And what can I say about love? Well, it finds us when we least expect it. It even feels easy and good – when it just works out. No second guessing. No games.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

My Travels

1. Road trip from Boston to the Finger Lake Region in Upstate New York to the Niagara Falls to Toronto and back
2. New York City
3. Montreal in fall
4. Montreal again over Thanksgiving
5. Germany

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

Sadly, New Year’s 2018 was the last time I visited Istanbul

6. Istanbul
7. Washington D.C. in February for a school trip
8. Washington D.C. in April for a workshop

Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life | janavar

I went to Washington twice within a short time

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2 thoughts on “Reminiscing My 30s: The 34th Year of My Life”

  1. I love the photos of Canavar. I still remember that I liked the fact that you took him in and he even moved to the US with you. Sad that he’s already gone! However, in a way he lives on here on the blog. 🙂

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