I neglected to mention something didn't I? I know what you all really want to know...
What happened to the tree, right?
Did we ever get the Christmas tree lit?
Story short: yes, we did. Thanks to giving in and buying overpriced lights from a local hardware store (I am convinced they bought out all the Walmart lights and charged double, y'know, in the spirit of American entrepreneurialism and according to laws of supply and demand) and Sister-in-Law-to-be's partner's gift of a few strings, Christmas was saved and the day was light. Everyone loved their gifts.
Of course I said yes.
This changes everything. I felt a bit awkward about outlining such a personal story, but it would be anticlimactic to say "I got engaged, so now my career plans have changed." It would also be incorrect. But along with falling head over heels, the rest of my life has also been turned upside down, so the most romantic moment of my life must be post-scripted by notions of a more pragmatic nature. Boo.
Coming back after Christmas has been hard, so much harder than when we parted in September after the end of our studies. The overly seasonable weather hasn't helped, and I found myself snowed in, with an extra few days off work, and much to consider. For the first time in a while I found myself frustrated with my situation, which sounds rather ungrateful for a girl who just got engaged!
We have the kinds of obstacles that are not present in some other relationships. We have jobs to find, visas to apply for, and money to raise. For those who have no experience of this, the spouse visa process is a stranger and more bewildering realm than I could have imagined. It seems to be a slow-moving bureaucratic cruise through oceans of paperwork... Visa Journey is not a tourist site or a travel brochure.
So the wedding will not take place for a while. As for 2010, my short-term plans remain the same, although I now have more to consider as I pursue my goals. We. We have more to consider as we pursue our goals!
As soon as the snow melts I will start driving. I will then start applying for internships and jobs. However, as I now have weddings and visas and travel costs to think about, money is going to become a greater concern... for both of us. We are both from families of modest means. Doing long stints of unpaid interning in an expensive city (be it Brussels, London, DC...), even after my time living rent-free with my parents and working and saving, may not be as feasible an option while I save for other items. But we will wait and see.
This new decade has begun with 2010 as a huge turning point in my life script. I feel that from hereon in, nothing is going to be quite the same again. It's going to be interesting, and probably exciting, but also potentially a mundane struggle. January feels like a limbo month, where I have all the information I need to take the next steps, but I have to sit and wait for further instruction on where to go and how to get there.
For now I'm working a seven day week, making up for my time abroad and allowing my manager to take some much-needed time off before it all gets busy again, and saving my wee pennies for future plans and pipe dreams.
Yet there is something else I haven't mentioned. Fiance(!) and I are waiting for news that could potentially change everything yet again. But that is another story for another day...