28 December 2009

The Decade in Review

Barring some life-changing event in the next 4 days, I've been spending lots of time the last few days thinking back on the last 10 years -- because wow, it's been a helluva ride.  The following's not exhaustive by any means (in fact, it leaves out  a lot), but there have been some definite highlights and I've included some pictures of some of my favorite memories.

2000: Mum retired from teaching, which caused her to be home during the day, which was a change -- though she did not stay home and bake cookies.  Petra came to live with us -- the start of a beautiful friendship.  In August, we took off for Rome and I started high school at Marymount.  Over the course of the year, lots of our friends and family came to visit.

2001: Roma caput mundi.  I discovered Jack Kerouac and spent lots of time poking into interesting corners of Rome where tourists certainly don't go, spending time observing street people and taking pictures with my Pentax K1000.  I'd carry my camera and some lenses with me in my backpack.  The MMI girls basketball team ended up in the DoDDS European finals and so we went to Mannheim, Germany and slept in a middle school gym.  It was the period in which I gained my youthful fearlessness and an interest in radical politics was aroused.

2002: Further photoing, further fearlessness with trips to Athens and Berlin because I was becoming a museum geek -- without knowing it at the time, I was on a quest for the "aura of the original." Went to prom on the via Veneto like something out of La Dolce Vita. Unfortunately, my parents' marriage ended and we came back to the US on the QE2, where I began going to Vincentian.  It was like switching from the School of Athens to the School of Hard Knocks.

2003: Consolidated my reputation as one of the perhaps 5 left-leaning thinkers at my school during a very politically-charged period in which this iteration of the Iraq war began.  Went to Italy during spring break and to Slovakia for the first World Forum of Rusyn Youth! The good news was that I began doing excellent after-school activities at The Andy Warhol Museum, which introduced me to lots of people who supported me and my interests at a time when I was probably a bit vulnerable.  I registered to vote in September and in December, I took my driver's exam during a blizzard.

2004:  Protested with my mom, graduated high school, got my International Baccalaureate diploma, and started at Seton Hall.  Thus began 4 years of train rides back and forth from South Orange to Penn Station for lots of fun times.  Began a tradition (which could maybe continue again someday) of spending my birthday at the Festa di San Gennaro and having cannolis in lieu of birthday cake.

2005: Got as involved as I hope I ever do in a (extraparliamentary) political party.  Threw lots of great parties and made lots of excellent friends as a result of said bacchanals.  Went to Montreal in January, where I froze froze froze but had a great time, and Italy for spring break, where dad and I froze froze froze in Calabria but had a great time.  The second World Forum of Rusyn Youth was held in Krynica, Poland, but it was during that trip that we walked across the border to and from Ukraine at Uzhorod and went to Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv. 

2006:  Ended my involvement with active political organizing, happily.  More parties, trips to NYC museums, and the summer in Italy that caused the blog Maria in Italia -- and ubergeekdom about the Caravaggisti and lots of adventure and beer in San Demetrio Corone, Calabria.  Italy won the World Cup and I came home exhausted.  In the fall, I turned 21 and rather difficult seminars in Italian began and so I read more medieval and 19th century Italian texts than I ever thought I would, but I reveled in the scholarly pursuits and enjoyed my relatively frequent visits to the Gaslight in South Orange.

2007: The year started out with a bang in the form of me seeing Barry Manilow live at Madison Square Garden (thanks KC!) and it was such a fun time!  Went to Agape with Emily which was wonderfully renewing.  Spring break with mom in Catalonia was beyond fabulous even though it took me more than a week to actually enjoy being on a break and be able to rest, and then in May I was off on a wild solo trip across Europe from Paris to Sighet and back!  I came home exhausted and near the breaking point, and started my last two semesters in residence in South Orange. 

2008: Finished my residence in South Orange, interned at the ICP, spring breaked in Portland, had a uncharacteristic type of vacation in the Bahamas and took off for Slovakia, where by providence I found a job I ended up loving and begun research that is proving to be a gift that keeps on giving.  Going to Slovakia proved to be the right decision, right place at the right time.

2009: God, how time flies.  Rung in the New Year in Toronto, had my first experience skiing, went on some amazing hikes, taught some cool kids, and spent lots of time with some excellent people.  Professionally, and with lots of help, I organized the exhibit Dana Kyndrová: Podkarpatská Rus', which was well-received by the communities it was serving.  In the fall, I co-founded Slovo Translation Services, and now I'm finding myself in the position of gearing up for 2010 and keeping on keeping on.  My mom still has not stayed home and baked me cookies.

Large Scale
What word will define the 2000s? "Fierce."
What was the most significant political event of the 2000s? The election of Barack Obama.
What was the greatest TV series of the 2000s? Mad Men, the concepts of Top Chef and Project Runway, though not always in execution.
Greatest Tragedy of the 2000s
? The wars we're tied up in.
Most influential person of the decade? Dick Cheney

Of the ten years of the last decade, which one was your favourite?
2001 and 2009 -- bookends.
Which was your least-favourite?
2002, probably.
Was it a life changing decade for you? Absolutely -- things change all the time.
Highlight of the 2000s? In terms of sheer pluck and personal growth with a lot of fun, the summer of '06.
Lowlight of the 2000s?
The general reorganization of my nuclear family unit.
Are you happier or sadder? Since the decade began with me in the throes of puberty, I'd say I'm happier now.
What do you plan to tell your grandchildren about?
So many stories of adventures, with lots of well-planned exaggerations.

The Future
What is your greatest fear for the coming decade, on a global scale? Probably a growing lack of fresh water in the world.
What is your greatest fear on a national scale? Continued overextension of our military and Sarah Palin's continued presence on the national stage.
What is your greatest fear on a personal scale? To not have started something I plan to do now.
What is your greatest hope for the coming decade, on a global scale? Some kind of revolution -- political, financial, social, cultural, artistic -- the word can mean a wide range of many things and it need not be violent.
What is your greatest hope on a national scale?
Universal healthcare.
What is your greatest hope on a personal scale?
Financial stability.