Year in Review – 2008

28 Dec

Now you know where I was all this time!

JANUARY: I moved in to my new apartment on December 30, 2008 and spent the weekend unpacking and getting comfortable in my new surroundings. I lived in a tiny studio for five and a half years but once the building was bought by a new company that wanted to sell the apartments, it was time to upgrade. I have been here a year now and I still enjoy the view everyday (roofs roofs roofs). It’s still a studio, but much more spacious and instead of having one tissue box reachable from every corner as I used to in my old apartment, I need THREE boxes strategically placed!

Once I was settled, it was time to travel! I went to Austria to visit my older sister and her family. I am going to sound like an old out-of-touch auntie, but boy do children grow fast! Thankfully my nephew and niece are not teenagers yet so they were eager play board games with me!

FEBRUARY: I hadn’t been back from Austria for very long, but had to take advantage of a long weekend to visit Virginie’s family in Kentucky. Once again, I was stunned at how fast children grow and her twin boys were fun to play with. I love toys, what can I say!

MARCH: The great great news at the beginning of the month was the opening of the first Target in Washington. It was love at first when I first discovered Target stores — so organized! Many stores have huge piles of stuff and it’s overwhelming. Target is spacious, well-lit and clean; plus they have great stuff. It’s become almost too hip for me, but I still hang out there. It could be dangerous for my wallet but since I walk (only 30 minutes) I need to control how much I buy: you buy it you carry it all the way down the hill!

The bad news: my US visa expired… no more traveling until I get a contract long enough to warrant a new visa. Rules are rules!

APRIL: Work work work. We organized a panel discussion and exhibition with an international organization called The White Ribbon for Safe Motherhood. A woman dies during a pregnancy or delivery every minute. It put into perspective the fact that I was officially dumped — not a surprise since that long-distance relationship had been nonexistent for several months.

MAY: Beautiful weather and a new job! I left the Africa Region’s communications team for the Middle East & North Africa Region’s social development team. I was hired to design a communications strategy and revamp their Web site. It was good to change after almost 20 months doing more or less the same things. My role there was getting even less interesting because the manager had changed and wasn’t interested in the Web.

The jazz concerts in the Sculpture Garden started again — every Friday at 5, from May to October, you can have a picnic while listening to a jazz band. The life!

JUNE: Nothing special happened that month, but my social life has been improving and the great weather helped. I have made a lot of new acquaintances and friends this past year — most of them Canadians. I was introduced to new places and one in particular, Le Pain quotidien, has become a favorite, a second home! It’s a Belgian chain with amazing breads and even better hot chocolates — brunch or light dinner; it’s perfect at all times!

JULY: I barely had time to settle in my new job that I got another one! There was no real dilemma since the new opportunity was a full-time position. I started as a consultant until the paperwork was done, but it was an intense month with tying loose ends at my old job and learning a lot of new things for the new one.

My new unit ( focuses on financing infrastructure projects and researching how partnerships with the private sector can help. PPIAF does a lot of publications and that is one aspect of communications that I hadn’t dealt with much. I learned the publishing business the hard way (trials and errors… and more errors!). Forget the quiet summer! But the good thing was that I could finally apply for a new visa!

AUGUST: Usually, heat waves after heat waves hit us and I am melting and whining. This year was unusually nice, warm but not hot hot hot! I treated myself to a musical, The Lion King, after all the hard work. After enjoying (a little bit too much) Restaurant Week [special deals in mostly unaffordable restaurants], I enrolled at the World Bank’s gym — a perk when you have a full-time job!

Bad news: the State Department denied my visa application, but the visa unit at the WB wouldn’t tell me why and said it would just take longer…

SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER are a complete blur. After an intense summer, I had a crazy fall. Beside organizing events and getting books & papers published, I had to revamp the Web site (still in the works!!); help other units we give funds too; and respond to a thousand and one requests.

Great news: the very last week of October, my passport returned with a brand new visa!!!!! Only three whole months…

NOVEMBER: How do you celebrate a new visa? You book a vacation of course! The only way I could survive the first two weeks of November, was by reminding myself that I would spend the last two in Ireland, which I did. I enjoyed every minute of it even if maybe the weather wasn’t great. I got to be with my family, eat, sleep, walk and RELAX! It was my first vacation and trip since February! Leaving was horribly hard.

Of course, November also saw a historic moment with Barrack Obama’s election. It was an exciting time to live in this country, but there is so much for him to do!! I’ll keep my job… not that he offered me any!

DECEMBER: Back to work on the 2nd, I was hoping it would be calmer. Well, it wasn’t and it’s been getting worse! January is looking very busy with 4 events to get ready for — two of them abroad so the logistics is already not simple and Obama’s inauguration in the middle of it doesn’t help! I am not complaining since we get that day off, and January 19th is a holiday (Martin Luther King’s Day) as well, but it’s hard to ship things to Africa when everything is closed!!

I escaped to New York on the 25 just because I could. I have been watching movies nominated for the Golden Globes, relaxing at home, writing Christmas Happy New Year cards… and waiting for my friends to come back to celebrate!

We’ll see what 2009 brings, hopefully more friends and good health to all of us.


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