Before the blog, I used to write long and witty (at least I thought so) emails to a selected group of friends and family. I started writing mostly out if loneliness when I lived in Japan and had no friends. The email chain waned when I moved back to the states and I wrote one last update when I lived in Germany. I stumbled across this final post this morning as I was in search of something else. And while I am now 33 years old, I think my 29-year old self was on to something. Hope you enjoy!

It’s been a strange year. I think I have written exactly one other email en masse and that was in March. I have been awful at keeping in touch this year (as have most of you!) but it doesn’t mean that I love you any less. I learned a new word that I think is a fitting description for my first year in
Deutschland: diapause.

A diapause can be applied to several anthropods but I will use it in relationship to caterpillars. According to Wikipedia, sometimes there are “unfavorable circumstances” that cause caterpillars to delay their Butterfly transformation. Sometimes caterpillars just aren’t ready to be butterflies, you know? What happens if your wings don’t match your hair? Or if your new wings are big and gangly and you have trouble steering them? I mean caterpillar to butterfly is a HUGE transition. Your whole point of view shifts, you see the world top down instead of bottom-up and you can fly.

But what happens if you are a caterpillar who is afraid of heights? Maybe you aren’t so sure about being a butterfly so you take a bit extra time before you start spinning a cocoon. I imagine a diapause is like taking a year off of college to “find yourself” except I haven’t really taken a year off. So maybe it’s more like refusing to throw away an old pair of sneakers. Your feet can still find the indentations that you have made so you have the illusion of the shoe fitting, but the shoes aren’t comfortable anymore. You have pronated and supernated the soles away from the shoe and they hurt to wear, but you keep lacing them on anyway because it’s such a pain to find a new pair. And once you find a new pair, you have to break them in and that causes inevitable pain to your feet. How about that for analogies galore? This has been and still is a year of remarkable transition.

I turn thirty this year. Did you know that? I don’t particularly fear aging (especially since the nurse asked me if I had parental consent in order to get
my flu shot this winter) but my life doesn’t look quite like I imagined it would. I thought that I would be a doctor somewhere in MD/DC and married to my doctor husband and contemplating the thought of (future Doctor) babies but that’s not reality. I am instead a ship driver/nuclear engineer and I live in Germany. There is no husband (doctor or otherwise) in sight and definitely no babies but I dance salsa four nights a week and travel like someone is paying me to do so and somewhere in the last five years, I realized that I don’t really like blood or broken things or pain and I am much better with neutrons than knives of any sort. It’s funny how God knows you much better than you know yourself.

I guess this email is an end-of-the-year/my twenties swan song of some sort. I look back over my twenties and it reminds me alot of this past year, Parts of it are horrifically messy-grotesque even. Like a 30-car pileup on a three lane highway. But other parts are
beautifully luminescent like first light or first snow or even first kisses! It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes (affixed to the stalker wall of
course) that comes from the movie Stardust when the main character, Tristan Thorn says “I could never have imagined an adventure this big to have wished for it.” And that’s what I feel my life is right now. A crazy, exciting, adventure! I am looking forward to what comes next.

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