When 2008 came to an end, I was standing in my own apartment in a room full of people I didn't know. I was dressed as Parisian as I could pull off, thus as colorless as possible: black dress, black tights, black shoes. Due to some roommate tension, the night had not started off well. But I was moving out the next day, so I did my best to forget about it and enjoy myself. At midnight, there was champagne and kisses on the cheeks for everyone.
The last few months of 2008 had been tough. I had moved to Paris. I hadn't made many friends. I was getting ready to move for the third time. I still stumbled over my French. I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water in the classroom, even though I had been teaching since October. I felt sorry for myself a lot.
But a lot changed in 2009. I immediately hit it off with my new roommate. My French started improving, as did my teaching. I started writing and exploring and living Paris more. The last time I felt sorry for myself in Paris was when I knew I had to leave.
When 2009 came to an end, I was standing in a room full of people, most of whom I hardly knew. I was in America now, so I dressed it: my dress and shoes were red and gold. As Jake's cell phone ticked to midnight, he opened our $6 bottle of champagne. I clicked red Solo cups with the people around me. I gave someone his first high five of 2010.
The last few months of 2009 had not been particularly easy. I didn't have my own apartment yet. I missed Paris, and sometimes still dreamed in French, or accidentally started to speaking French when ordering at a restaurant. I was only keeping my head above water by freelancing and temping as I looked for a job.
I couldn't yet tell a lot would change in 2010. Maybe I would find a writing job and would be able to afford to explore and live Chicago more. Maybe it would be some more time before that happened. But at least one thing had changed dramatically since December 31, 2008. I only sometimes feel sorry for myself.