The other day, I made a “Chinese calendar,” where I named each year of my life based on what was most significant that year. In chronological order:
1978 – The Year of Me.
This is the year I was born, and I’m certain pretty much everything revolved around me for those around me.
1979 – The Year of Firsts.
First smile, first tooth, first bath, first tears, standing and walking for the first time.
1980 – The Year of Complete Sentences.
This is when my communications career began.
1981 – The Year of Singing.
Starting at age 2, I would sing along to songs on the radio, and my favorite was a song I then thought was written about my hometown, Kopparberg (Kopparbergsvisan).
1982 – The Year of Illnesses.
I was a very sick child. Around this year I had scarlet fever, measles and whooping cough.
I learned how to spell, and how to write.
1984 – The Year of Baking.
I used to get up early to bake with my grandfather every morning.
1985 – The Year of Starting School.
Big step for a little girl in Sweden.
1986 – The Year of Hot Water.
After moving in with my grandparents, social services demanded they install a hot water heater so I no longer had to take baths in a barrel on the kitchen floor.
1987 – The Year of Standing Up for Myself.
It was second grade. My friend was being bullied, sometimes I was, too. I put an end to it with some violence and some threatening. I was 9, but I was strong.
1988 – The Year of Skiing.
It was my first time on the slope. It was scary, but oh so exhilarating.
1989 – The Year of Family Vacations.
I remember going to Skara Sommarland, in the south, and Leksand Sommarland in the north (kind of like two old-fashioned Six Flags with water parks).
1990 – The Year of NKOTB.
Their music was my life.
1991 – The Year of Losses.
My grandfather, who was like a father to me, died unexpectedly. At the end of the year, my great grandmother – whom I had visited several days a week after school – died as well. Their deaths hit me hard.
1992 – The Year of Writing.
On my new travel typewriter, I wrote poems, short stories and detective novels. I also created a newspaper about cats with one of my friends. We had one subscriber (who has kept each and every issue she received)
1993 – The Year of Crushes.
From the crush on my homeroom teacher to almost every other tall, blonde kid in my school, this was as tough year. I was in love all the time, and – of course – it was all unreciprocated.
1994 – The Year of the Big Move.
I spent three months during the summer living with my boyfriend, then I packed up my things and officially moved away from home to the Big City, where I was starting a new school learning about media and communications.
1995 – The Year of Creativity and Certainty.
I knew I was in the right field. I knew I wanted to work with “something media.” I made drawings, created storefront displays, filmed videos, acted in plays, wrote articles, took photos and produced radio shows. And I knew I was fairly good at it, too.
1996 – The Year of Music and Love.
Parties every week, singing, playing, drinking… Plus, I was in the first real relationship of my life. I felt like a grown-up for the very first time.
1997 – The Year of Traveling.
I went to London for vacation, Germany to broadcast radio and Athens to be a translator for my then 8-year-old cousin when she met her father.
1998 – The Year of Leaving Things Behind.
I stepped on the plane and left for the United States to start my new life as an au-pair. As you all know, it was only supposed to be for a year...
1999 – The Year of the Au-Pair.
My life pretty much circulated around my host family, the boy and his father. But there were fun times with other au-pairs – traveling, partying, and sometimes just walking the beach.
2000 – The Year of Yonkers.
I moved out and started my own life in an apartment in Yonkers, N.Y. I took college classes and partied in Irish bars down the street with my Swedish roommate Sandra.
2001 – The Year of Newspapers.
During the spring, I ran the student newspaper at Westchester Community College. During the fall, I went to New Orleans for a newspaper convention, collected an award, and then went to Quinnipiac to be the Lifestyles Editor for their student newspaper.
2002 – The Year of New Friends.
My roommate Andrea and I became close friends, and I started hanging out with Kristen, Kristen, Lauren and John. Through them, I made several more friends along the way.
2003 – The Year of Starting a Job.
I graduated college and interviewed with many newspapers for a real job as a reporter. I finally became an assistant editor and started earning a real paycheck.
2004 – The Year of Visa Problems and Back Pain.
This year was a disaster. I was miserable every day, from February to August, and then again from September to December. The visa papers weren't getting approved, I wasn't allowed to work, I wasn't getting paid, my back started hurting like crazy and I racked up thousands of dollars in debt... It felt like the year would never end. Which, luckily, it did.
2005 – The Year of Albie.
We met in January when I started working in Torrington. We started dating a few months later.
2006 – The Year of the Broken Washer.
Living on a farm was great, but when our washing machine broke, it changed everything. All I can remember from this year (except for going sky diving in October with Albie) was dragging laundry to the barn, the barn apartment, to Vermont and to friends’ houses.
2007 – The Year of Babies.
We had ducklings living in our bath tub on the farm the year before, but this year we had ducklings in the pond outside my window and three new foals were born. One of them was Leo, a brown baby I had to help bottle feed during his first week when his mommy didn’t have any milk. And of course, Albie and I got Pip and Sophie in October - our new kittens.
2008 – The Year of the Condo.
We moved in during 2007, but this was the year we really started working on making our home look more beautiful.