2013 Musings

Oh hey, remember this blog? Various reasons are accountable for my decline in posting. Most obviously, I do not live in China anymore and do not travel so much anymore and therefore do not have as much to say anymore. But sometimes interesting things do happen! So, since I have oodles of time (what with being one of a very few people remaining in DC this Christmas week, alone, in the rain snow), let me give you a brief update on my doings. Also, I’m going to try to use this time-oodle to finally get around to writing a travel post about my August trip to Israel–look for that next! First, though, let’s reflect on 2012 and 2013.

On geography. I’m coming up on my nine month-mark in DC–it’s been a good time, and I definitely love lots of aspects of living in this city. But just like I felt torn between DC and CA when I was applying for jobs last year, so too do I now feel pulled westward by people/things/my Calornian identity. Also slightly ridiculous: in nine months, I will have made five trips to CA. Expect to see more of me in 2013, you golden state, you.

See, lipstick

See, lipstick

On resolutions. In 2012, my major resolution was to wear more jewelry. I am happy to report great success at this resolution. I’ve also done better at 2010 and 2011 resolutions to wear more lipstick and heels. Not yet picked a resolution for 2013: any suggestions? Behavior-based personal “improvement” resolutions are clearly favored.

On friendships. In addition to my success at my official 2012 resolution, one other thing I’m most proud about in 2012 is how I’ve kept up or rekindled various friendships. When you do something like the Peace Corps, it’s easy to become close with people preternaturally quickly, as if you’re all in a war zone together, but it’s not easy to imagine what will happen to those relationships after returning to the “real world.” Delightfully, though, many of my Peace Corps friendships have transferred easily to America. Being able to visit with friends here and do normal things like shopping and eating non-Chinese food for the first time in the history of a friendship has sometimes felt slightly surreal, but is excellent.

In addition, it’s been lovely to reconnect with CA friends through various visits and special events, as well as my DC friends. It was somewhat strange when I first arrived in DC, feeling that so much time had passed and so much change had happened from when I lived in DC two years prior, but finding that life  in DC has been continuing unobstructed for others. But falling back into normal life and resuming relationships in DC was smooth. By mid-2013, it’s likely that virtually 100% of my closest DC friends will have left DC (mostly for grad school), though, so interesting changes ahead.

On travels. 2012 kicked off with a sprawling, shoestring trip to Southeast Asia. 2013 kicks off with the most opposite kind of vacation imaginable: Walt Disney World! That’s right: Marissa, Matthew, and Roberta are headed to Orlando after 5 years absence, ready to take in both Universal parks and three of the parks of WDW.

This trip was planned rather quickly, but fortunately I still have enjoyed plenty of time to make my dining reservations and my minute-by-minute ride schedules. This time around I’m assisted not only by the bible of guidebooks (The Unofficial Guide to Disney World, whose praises I sang in the Stanford Daily the last time I visited the World), but also by a wait time mapping technology heretofore unavailable on previous trips. This means that our plans for each day at the park are not just ride-by-ride itineraries  but are now minute by minute! (Actual sample: 9:56am, arrive at Space Mountain. Wait 3 mins, ride duration 3 mins. Walk 5 mins to Swiss Family Treehouse, arriving 10:07 am. Wait 0 mins, attraction duration 13 mins. Walk 1 min to Jungle cruise….) Remember that at age not-quite-11 I hand-wrote a multi-page ride-by-ride schedule for my family’s first trip to Disney World; Pre-Teen Marissa would be pleased to see how my interests endure and how technology assists.

Also, after spending a fair amount of time last week fooling around with my plans for Epcot, two nights in a row I had horrible nightmares involving finding myself at Epcot at 11am with no idea where I was, what I’d been doing all morning, or what I was supposed to be doing next. Shudder.

In any case, I’m not sure what other travels 2013 will bring, but I suppose that’s part of the fun. Up first, pre-WDW: I’ll be ringing in 2013 in Chicago with Peace Corps friends! I’ll report back.



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