In his Christmas card, FIL congratulated us on a “fulminanten Start” to our life in Switzerland. It struck me as an interesting choice of words. However, auf Deutsch, fulminant apparently doesn’t quite mean what it does in English: think “tremendous” or “brilliant”, rather than explosive to the point of lethality.
I think I’ll keep it, though. It’s hard to think of an English word that fits. I’d have to go with: 2013 has been a hell of a year. Neither good nor bad, exactly; just… hard. I feel like I should be describing it as a fantastic year, because all the things in it were greatly to be desired and basically awesome… but hard. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Thing 1. New baby!
Shock factor: Very low. Nine months to get used to the idea, not counting previous preparations.
Desired? Very much.
Challenge factor: High. Have you met babies? High. Even though he’s remarkably unchallenging, as babies go (or was until we moved, which totally broke his sleep), that’s still high on any other scale.
Long-term outlook: Excellent. Espesh as he’s sleeping again.
Thing 2. Switzerland!
Shock factor: Moderate. Hoped for, but a long time coming, and not entirely expected to happen at last.
Desired? Very much, though with some ambivalence from at least one of the family (*ahem Armin ahem struggles with change ahem ahem*).
Challenge factor: Very, very, very high, certainly for the first few months (but getting easier). Mostly because of Thing 1, but also because language, and, well, stuff. Challenging.
Long-term outlook: Excellent, though still with some ambivalence, see above.
Thing 3. New job!
Shock factor: High. Absolutely did not expect to get a job so quickly, especially not such an interesting one.
Desired? Very much.
Challenge factor: Quite high. Childcare arrangements were complicated; steep on-the-job learning curve, also, but in the best way.
Long-term outlook: Well. See Thing 4.
Thing 4. Job disappeared!
Shock factor: Moderate. Closure of the magazine was more or less expected from the start, but it still happened a bit more suddenly than we’d hoped (right before Christmas).
Desired? Not at all.
Challenge factor: Moderately low. It’s really disappointing, but doesn’t imply too much damage in practical terms (ie salary vs childcare costs; and Elf will of course be thrilled to have me home full-time again). But… really disappointing.
Long-term outlook: Well, I’m in a stronger position now than I was before taking the job, skills-wise etc. But potential employers are a small and shrinking pool. So, not great.
See: only the last one can be said to be at all bad, and even that hardly counts as a thing because of the shakiness of Thing 3 from the start. Overall it’s all bloody excellent. But… it’s been a remarkably exhausting year.
Still. Foundations and all that. From here on things can only get better (with the possible exception of my career, but I was never exactly ambitious anyway). We are where we want to be, in more ways than one, and ready to climb further.
Maybe we’ll just rest a little tiny bit first. I wouldn’t mind a chance just to catch my breath. 2014, do you think you could manage to be just a tiny bit… boring?