Reminiscing My 30s: The 36th 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 Picture

Another birthday – my 35th – and another move. In June, I was extremely busy with packing everything up so that we could leave Boston with a U-Haul on the 30th. Finally, we were going to move together (again). And I could leave Boston, a city that never really won my heart. I stayed for a few days at Rich’s aunt’s and uncle’s house in Connecticut until we could move into our new apartment. I had never met them, and they were not there at the time. But I left a great first impression when I backed up the U-Haul … right into their garage wall and left a dent. The rest of the move went remarkably smooth.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 36th Year of My Life | janavar

And finally Rich, Canavar and I lived together in Midtown Manhattan. I had a whole free summer before starting my new job. I explored the City and in August we went to England to attend the European Juggling Convention. Nothing I had even heard of before meeting Rich, who is an avid juggler. We slept in a tent (the things we do for love as I hate camping about as much as I hate hiking, i.e. a lot!), visited a few towns, participated in juggler workshops, watched juggling shows, and I discovered poi for myself. When we were back at home, the school year soon started. I now had quite the commute: I walked to Grand Central, took the commuter rail out to White Plains, walked to the garage where my car stood, and drove the last bit to school. One way took almost 1.5 hours. But I loved my new job. A few less working hours, a significantly better pay.

And two old afterschool ladies who would very regularly during lunch ask me if Rich had already proposed to me? We were all aware that my J1 visa would expire and couldn’t be renewed after 6 years, i.e. in 2021. My only chance to stay in the U.S. was through marriage and obtaining a Green Card. Already back then, processing times were long. Only Rich did not propose. Interestingly enough, nobody ever seemed to ask him about his timeline. That question seems to be reserved for women.

Well, fall break came, and we flew to Europe again. This time, we visited Rich’s best friend from college in Paris. Then we continued to see my parents. Rich met them for the first time and saw the tiny village I grew up in. I think he hadn’t been aware before why I always insisted on calling it “really a village, not a town at all”. From there, we went to Copenhagen before flying home.

Finally, in January 2020, Rich proposed. He had taken me out to a very fancy dinner and asked the question in German. He gave me a diamond, and a day later we went to pick out a ring and style for said diamond. Unfortunately, it took about 6 weeks to have the ring made … so I didn’t have anything to show, and everybody asked to see the ring. By the time I got the ring, it was late February 2020

Reminiscing My 30s: The 36th Year of My Life | janavar

One of my favorite photos of Canavar ever: we were in Connecticut waiting to continue our journey to Manhattan

And talking of March 2020: I had already in January read a news note about that weird virus in China killing people. When I asked Rich as a doctor about it, he said there wasn’t anything for us to worry about. I think for a while I even believed the American president that it wasn’t going to effect us. Only it did. Suddenly, everything closed down. I started teaching via Zoom from home. Rich was one of the few people still going into work. That is how he got infected with the Covid virus and brought it home. I got properly sick and spent most of April 2020 in bed sick. Canavar was the best friend ever and sat on my legs or snuggled up next to me almost all of the time.

Having Covid also meant to postpone our wedding. Again. First, we postponed it when everything shut down. Then we thought we would still get married. Anyway, all best things come in threes. Here is a long blog post about our wedding struggles.

My Firsts

This was another year with so many firsts: I lived in Manhattan for the first time. The U.S. women’s soccer team won the world championship, and I went to their ticker tape parade. I went to England and a juggling convention. I learned to practice poi. I went to several blogger events. I introduced Rich to my family. We hosted our first Thanksgiving and invited Rich’s family. For Christmas, I went with Rich to his family in Connecticut (and finally apologized in person for driving into their wall). We got engaged and planned our wedding. I had Covid – and I had never been as sick in my whole life.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 36th Year of My Life | janavar

Canavar was so amazing and didn’t leave my side when I was sick with Covid

What I Learned

Overall, that was the year when I finally felt fully like being home. I lived together with Canavar and Rich, i.e. my two favorite people ever, and I loved the City. But mostly it is true that “home is where your heart is”. Everything worked out well for us because we wanted it to. Sometimes that means compromises because, very obviously, I would never sleep in a tent on my own. I am also glad I discovered poi and learned a few tricks. That actually reminds me to take them out and practice more again.

Covid was such an important world event that I think we all learned a lot from it. I realized how important health is – esp. when I was knocked out for weeks. And that people lied when they said Covid was harmless. I had never been as sick – and I wasn’t even so sick that I had to be hospitalized. I was also glad that, just before the virus spread in the U.S., I got to go to Washington D.C. for a professional development and stayed a day longer to be with my friends.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 36th Year of My Life | janavar

Manhattan was empty, and still we would only leave our apartment with masks on

My Travels

1. European Juggling Convention (EJC) in England

2. Paris, Germany & Copenhagen

3. Boston

4. Catskills

Reminiscing My 30s: The 36th Year of My Life | janavar

We left the City to go Upstate for Martin Luther King Day Weekend in January 2020

5. Washington D.C.

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