Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye, 2011

2011 was a busy year work-wise, and the first year in a long time that I did not leave the States for at least a month.  This will most definitely be remedied in 2012.  2011 marked our first full year in Baltimore, which was overall decent, but nothing fabulous.  My husband was able to renew his residency without any problems (but with a lot of stress on my part) and should be able to apply for citizenship this year, God and the government willing.  2011 was surviving a lifestyle that neither one of us likes, and wishing we were back in El Salvador or Colombia, depending on who you asked.  In the end, both of us realize that it's Baltimore for the time being, and that Maryland was actually a fabulous choice (thanks again, all you UMBC people who convinced me).

In addition to teaching at school, I also led a 18-week online course through the RELO office in Lima, and went to Peru to give workshops for several weeks in the summer.  This was a fabulous experience, but the next time I go to Peru I want it to be for vacation (or to live)!

On the El Sal side, we started the process of adopting our niece, only to lose her to violence in September.  The last couple months of 2011 were ones of mourning and readjusting our plans for the upcoming years.

And so 2012, here we go.  My resolutions....
  1.  Get my recertification classes out of the way so I can get on with my doctorate!
  2. Convince Cincinnati friends to move to the DC/Baltimore area.
  3. Reclaim my car so I can go exercise.  Walking to the rec is unsafe and somewhat unreliable.  Find yoga studio.  Go.
  4. Spend less time lesson planning.
  5. Save money to buy a house.
  6. Help husband study for citizenship test.
  7. Go to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and/or Nicaragua this summer.  Present at conferences, but don't get suckered into working. Find nice hamaca on a beach and stay there.
  8. Start volunteering someplace on a regular basis.f
  9. Find people to hang out with in Baltimore (2011 was boring in that respect).  Force husband to go to culture events, or go by myself.  
  10. Go back to Central Ohio to visit family and Cincy to see friends (see number 2).
  11. Get mother-in-law's tourist visa.
  12. Make a larger dent in student loans (this is where teaching was not such a great choice). 

And, the 11 favorites of 2011:
Hiking around Maryland

Wild ponies!  One childhood dream accomplished.

Erin learns Salvadorans are Salvadorans wherever they live, and
that Venezuelans are well-behaved.

Arequipa, Peru...simply delicious

My fabulous Peruvian teachers

Garden before it went peppers in 2012

Shaven gatita

Spring break in NY

More hiking around Maryland

Niagara Falls, frozen, after Justin and Lisa's wedding

TESOL in New Orleans.  I loved New Orleans!