I remember doing a New Year's blog post two years ago, sort of touching on the subject of being depressed when looking back at what had happened that particular year. It was the year I graduated and got my first real adult job, but also the year both my father and a dear friend died. Additionally, I was not hired on the PhD project I'd set my hopes on, and the first job I did get hired on was only part-time. My boyfriend and me still struggled from time to time to make ends meet, even though both of us had been looking forward to my graduation as the moment when things would be getting easier financially.
Life, it was not the best during 2012. But then I started doing research at the University of Antwerp in 2013 thanks to some awesome professors I impressed by being a know-it-all during class, and in September 2013 I was hired on a PhD project about children and media sexualization. As the cherry on top, I also ended up having awesome colleagues and a beautiful workplace in my favourite city: Antwerp.
my feet on my very first day at the new PhD job - office inside joke (translation: regrets are donkey shit) - beautiful Antwerp - Foucault love (even though he's a terrible writer at times)
This PhD project is a dream come true, but since the stakes were so high, also a major source of stress. 2014 was about finding confidence and earning my stripes at this new position, overcoming fears and insecurities. I traveled abroad on my own for the first time, visiting a conference in London and giving a presentation on my research.
a quick look at London from the taxi
the gorgeous conference venue
2014 challenged me to grow and mature. The stress of work, life and bills made me grow closer to my life partner, more keenly understanding him and his worries and frustrations. We learned to communicate better, and reached a major milestone: our first holiday abroad together. Throughout our 10+ years together, I can't count the instances when we were watching television or scrolling through our facebook feed, and happened on shots of beautiful vacation destinations. I'd ask my boyfriend "we'll go there one day, won't we?" so often it became sort of a running gag. "Someday", he'd assure me, but as I grew up in a household that didn't have money for family vacations, I'd sort of accepted my situation. After all, vacation is a luxury, not a right. No one NEEDS to experience the world. Holidays abroad are an immense privilege.
But this summer, we finally had the money, the time and the plan to make it. We drove all the way down through France until we reached the Ardèche-Drôme region, and experienced the most beautiful, relaxing, carefree couple of days in my life. I was so proud of the two of us reaching this point in our lives that I felt we'd been travelling towards since forever.
sunflowers - no fuss peaches on nutbread lunch - pitstop in the shade - goofing off
In 2014, we took steps to reach our ultimate goal of stability, prosperity, harmony. I sound like a Star Trek tagline, I know, but sometimes life comes together so beautifully that you can only describe it by being corny. Here's to another year of moving forward and up! And thanks for checking in with me :)