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New years, like birthdays, create that awful disconnected feeling of still being stuck in the last one and the world careering off into the future without you. It always takes me months to remember to write the correct year in the date (and by then I might as well start preparing for 2015!) and I hesitate before answering questions about my age for about three months of any year.

2013 was an interesting year. The British Royals welcomed Prince George of Cambridge; the American government shut down because the elected representatives behave like children who are unwilling to share their toys with their siblings; Snowden told us we were all being spied on (which, on some level, I feel like we already knew); somehow, the Cardinals were prevailed upon/tricked into? voting for a Pope that turned out to be 1. Way more liberal than they anticipated and 2. Way more popular than anyone anticipated (I’m not even Catholic/religious and I like him!); Miley twerked (yuck) and “selfie” was deemed the word of the year (also yuck). [Disclaimer: please do not take this as a definitive list of important things that happened in 2013. While Miley twerking did, at last, draw attention to the women’s rights atrocity that is Robin Thicke’s song, I am in no way under the impression that her grinding up on the guy was an important/world-changing event.]

Personally, 2013 was a mixed bag. I put my hard-work face on and decided to try my luck with some international fellowships, some overseas universities and plans for a cool PhD (with both successes and almost-successes that became soul- and self esteem-shattering failures). I was more single than I’ve ever been in my life (it’s a sliding scale. I’ve been actually single for years, but with some flirtations etc. This year was devoid of any/all interest after about March. Depressingly). I finally got my house to a point that made me happy – I have art on my walls, a comfy couch to curl up on and enough crockery to host ten people for dinner (tried and tested! I did have to acquire more cutlery for the occasion, though). I drank too much tea (not that I really believe in too much tea!) and almost enough wine. I tried out new recipes and had interviews and wrote Personal Statements (yuck). I won scholarships and lost The Scholarship (capitalized due to both its importance to me and its global prestige) in the final round. I cried. I laughed. I laughed so hard that I cried (probably at British Comedian Jon Richardson). In terms of 2013 as a whole, I can’t decide whether it’s farewell or good riddance, and I suppose that’s the best sort of feeling to have about a year.

That being said, 2014 is here, and I’m quite looking forward to it. I spent my [brief] Christmas/New Year break hanging around the city, reading books and watching too much British TV (there is now not a single season of Would I Lie To You that I haven’t watched, or a single episode of The Inbetweeners that I haven’t re-watched. I even watched all three seasons of Fresh Meat in three days. My holiday was WILD). The weather was awful, so curling up inside seemed like the only viable solution; with literally all of my friends out of town, convincing people to join me for a trip to one of the city’s many closed-for-the-holidays cafes had more than one logistical problem.

It never quite feels like the New Year properly until you’re back at work, though. And that’s where I am. Back at work. And answering questions (again) about when I’m starting my PhD and where I’m going. (Why does the office grapevine only work for things that you don’t want people to know? Why can’t the grapevine tell everyone that, yes, it’s THIS YEAR [a realization that I was shocked to come to] and no, I don’t know where I’m going yet. I won’t know that for over month at least [something that is beginning to freak me out. I’m one of those really organized people who struggles with any sort of uncertainty].)

It’s 2014. It’s actually here. I don’t make resolutions, but it’s going to be a really big, exciting, adventurous year for me (and the other AAWD girls). All the best for yours!

– Liv