Hi all and happy new year, it’s Katarina here. The way I figure it, we can say that throughout January, which is pretty much a dark, rubbish month, so why not start greetings with something cheerful? After all, we survived the first year of a terrible racist president in office. We can and will overcome, and we deserve our bit of hope.
2018 finds us cozy in our little flat in London, chilling with our cats. We’ve had a bit of a whirlwind end of the year. Things have been rough for various family-related reasons for me, so I’ve done a lot of reflecting about what’s important in my life and what I can look forward to in 2018 to get me excited. And nothing gets me excited like a list! Yup, it’s time for new year goals and resolutions!
First of all, let’s check back in from 2017’s goals. In case you don’t want to click over to that, I’ll add them here, as well as an update for how they went.
Our goals in 2017 were:
- Try new things in the kitchen. Honestly, this is a fantastic resolution. Colin and I had a lot of fun making a bunch of new recipes, and we loved doing more complicated things, too. Our highlight of the year was definitely making Paul Hollywood’s croissants from scratch (shout out to other GBBO fans!) this fall. We still need to make hand made pasta, but we haven’t forgotten about it! If you’re interested in some of our favorite recipes from last year, check out this post.
- Keep up my writing habits. Eh. 2017 was a bit crazy. We moved to London, started new jobs, and then had a chaotic end of the year. I didn’t get to write as much as I would like. However, I did complete National Novel Writing Month again, blowing my previous word count out of the water with 20,000 additional words! The routine of writing was a calm during the storm.
- Read diverse books. Yes! In the past month and a half, I’ve read 14 books and loved them all. Of course, I read throughout the rest of the year too, but it was great having some time to just deep dive into reading. Some favorites include American Street, The Wrath and the Dawn, Swing Time, Identical, The Nightingale, Girls Like Us, and Allegedly. Honestly, I found a few lists of recommendations from Buzzfeed of all places and hit up my library. These books are different for me, mostly because many have culturally diverse lead characters, but also because I read a lot in genres that I don’t normally seek out. I highly recommend it. Historical fiction and contemporary fiction are usually not my thing, but I loved them. Yes, I also revisited some favorite authors (if you’re not reading Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, DO IT).
- Finish a half marathon. Done! And I wrote a lot about it here.
- Upload my photos in a timely fashion. Mostly? I still need to upload pictures from Dublin, but you can find some of them here and here.
- Grow the blog and reach out to other bloggers. Nope. Didn’t really have time, and I don’t like begging friends to read my blog. If you do, you do (and I love you more! Shhh, don’t tell the others), if you don’t, I’m not going to be bothered about it.
Overall, not too shabby! As I said, I really like resolutions, and having them written out is helpful.
We also did some fabulous traveling! Highlights included a Mediterranean cruise with Colin’s parents (so much wonderful food and incredible company), riding around pretending to be Von Trapps in Salzburg, and even chilling at a dude ranch in a small town in Eastern Germany for a few days. You can read more about it, but we had a great time exploring more of this beautiful world.
Look, the midterm elections are coming and we didn’t elect a credibly accused child molester into our Senate. There is hope for America, and so I am feeling positive about 2018 in general. With that in mind, here are a few goals I have for 2018:
- Create less food waste. Colin and I plan our meals week by week (featuring a slow cooker recipe weekly, because I have a deep soup addiction), but sometimes we throw the meal plan away and order a pizza. Not a problem, we just need to make sure we’re doing it in way so that we don’t end up with veggies that have gone bad. We’re pretty good about this, but we can be more careful as we don’t have access to a good place to compost. Nothing starts my day on a bad foot like realizing my strawberries are white and fuzzy. No fuzzy strawberries 2017. Let’s do what we can to leave the earth a better place. Also, we’ll probably eat more vegetables. Always a good call.
- Find more time to be grateful. The world is a beautiful place, and I am so lucky to get to be a part of it. I have a wonderful family, incredible friends, and a great job. I need to take the time to reflect on that and thank people for being in my life.
- Engage in meaningful political action. 2017 was the year of calling your senators. My senators are probably tired of my voice mails. But, I mostly agree with my senators and representative. So in 2018, I want to do more. I want to make a difference in the community I live in by volunteering more and spending more time improving lives. We donated to Doug Jones, yes, but how can we find ways to be politically active from abroad? Well, I intend to find out, especially in the face of the midterm elections. I frequently feel frustrated, as Facebook seems like the only way I have of reaching people. You can’t have meaningful conversations with people who call you names or dismiss you as young and stupid. So I’m going to find new ways to make positive change.
- Explore more London museums. There are so many and so much of the year left. I love spending time in museums at my own pace, which usually includes a necessary mid-trip coffee break.
- Try new foods. Not just making them, but eating them! My palette has expanded a ton in the last few years, but I love trying specialties in every country we go to, including haggis or other good foods. You don’t know if you’ll love it till you try it!
- Enjoy British culture more. Mince pies? Done. Pondering why Guy Fawkes night exists? Done. What more can we soak in from British culture? We’ll see!
And for travel? It’s a pretty open book! We’re hoping to go with Croatia with my dad (lots of new food to try there!) and to Venice for a few days for my birthday (maybe we’ll pick up some pasta-making tips there). Otherwise, we’re figuring it out as we go!
So now, our questions for you:
- Where should we go? What should we do there?
- What are you resolved to do this year?
- What was a wonderful book you read this year that expanded your perspective?
- What was your favorite recipe this year?
That’s all for now! And once again, Happy New Year!