We’ve settled comfortably into 2020, and that means a new decade is kicking off. It’s been ridiculously busy so far, as I’m juggling two jobs and a life home in Los Angeles. I’m just finding the time to write this post, and I reckon that I’ll be struggling to keep this up consistently; I’m aiming to post at least once a week, so I’ll keep going with that!
In any case, I would like to talk about this previous decade, the 2010’s. It’s pretty incredible just how those 10 years have flown by: I was a high-school senior then, and I ended the decade in my mid-twenties. I can say that I’ve definitely changed since my teenage years, but at the same time, I still recognize myself from back then: while I consider myself more confident, brave, and more knowledgeable, I still remain a shy and introverted person. I’ve definitely become more comfortable with myself and what I want out of life, and I’m glad that the 2010’s shaped me into the person I am today.
I’m dedicating this post to the 2010’s, as means of seeing my evolution from start to finish. I’ll be doing a year-by-year breakdown of what I’d done, and I also hope that it’ll serve as inspiration to what the 2020’s will bring. Here’s Part 1 of the 2010’s. Let’s go! 🙂
2010’s: A Review (Part 2)
I had a calm final semester in college before graduating in June. Four years at UCLA, and I finally received my Bachelor’s degree. I’d been accepted into the TAPIF program for teaching English in France, and I had a relaxed summer in LA before I headed off with my family to Paris to sight-see for a week, and then I moved to Normandy to get settled in and start teaching.
My hours as an English teaching assistant were incredibly flexible: while I didn’t enjoy teaching very much, I was glad that I was able to get so many paid vacation days off, and I spent the fall and winter breaks traveling Europe on my own, from Belgium to the Czech Republic to the UK and Ireland. I also did smaller trips in France, mostly within the Normandy region. This year would be the start of extensive travel to come throughout the next four years, which was really exciting for me.
2016 marked one of the two most-extensive travel years of the decade. There wasn’t a month in which I wasn’t out of town. At least while in France, I did a weekend getaway to Lyon and Annecy in January, Spain and Portugal in February, the south of France and Brittany in March, the Netherlands and countries along the Danube (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary) in April, and just before returning to LA for the summer, I did a week in the Cinque Terre in May.
I returned to LA for the summer to see family and friends, as well as went with family to Japan and Taiwan in June/July. It was my first time in Japan, and it was a solid nine days spent visiting the country. Absolutely beautiful temples, delicious food, and excellent customer service– I would go back!
After some issues with my paperwork, I was accepted for a second year as a teaching assistant in France. I stayed in the Normandy region, but moved to another (larger) city, where I roomed with eight other assistants of various nationalities (US, UK, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Canada…), and we had a blast living together. I also started my Master’s online and took up a freelancing gig for some extra cash, so I wasn’t as able to travel as freely as the previous year. All the same, I still got to visit more of Normandy, see the fête des Lumières in Lyon for the first time, and visit a different part of Spain with family during Christmas.
I found this year to be pretty calm. I continued with my Master’s degree and teaching in France while finding time to get out of town whenever possible. I did plenty of trips to Paris, as well as a few days in Marseille in February. Celebrated my birthday in Dijon, and ventured to Poland and Morocco for the first time in April and May, respectively.
Soon enough, I completed my second year as a teaching assistant, and I looked into other jobs abroad for the upcoming year. I actually got accepted to be a university lecturer in the Lyon region, which I was ecstatic about. I returned home for the summer, and I went with my family on a short, week-long road trip to the Pacific Northwest, particularly for Portland and Seattle. Beautiful spots and one of my favorite spots in my home country (heck, even the world!).
I moved to the Lyon region in August, found an apartment with roommates, and started my first year teaching as a lectrice. It was a rough couple of months getting adjusted to it all, as well as having some roommate drama (which resulted in some of them moving out in November) and struggling to teach university students. All the same, I found solace in traveling, exploring more of the Lyon region during the fall break and seeing the Christmas markets in Germany following the end of my fall semester. My family also came over in December, and we spent the Christmas holidays taking a cruise around Italy and Spain.
If 2016 had been a busy year of traveling, 2018 was just as busy, too. I began the New Year with a visit to southwest France to see a friend, as well as explore the region. Then it was off to Budapest and Prague once more to party it up in the cold; it was a blast! I began my spring semester of teaching, which was rough as I was adding on classes with first-year students (i.e. challenging to handle). Had a depressing February holidays spent in my flat, although with the occasional hike around the Lyon region.
Things started looking up in late March: I celebrated my birthday in Avignon with a friend, and I went to Paris in April to see my parents, who were visiting at that time. After an arduous few months, I completed my spring semester and first year as a lectrice in May. I wasted no time taking advantage of the long summer break to travel all over Europe, from Iceland to the Balkans (Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia) to Venice. Also attended my first Pride Parade in Lyon before I headed home to the US for the summer.
I only had 48 hours back home before my family and I headed off to South America (a first for me). We visited Chile (Santiago and Easter Island) and Peru (Lima and Machu Picchu), and it was a solid two weeks spent experiencing a different part of the world. I’d like to go back some day! I also paid a visit to my best friend in Colorado in August, as well as checking out the beauty of the Rocky Mountains there. Returned to France later in the month to begin my second year as a lectrice.
Spent an extended weekend in the Grenoble region, along with Lyon and Paris for the fall break. Following the end of my fall semester of teaching, I went to Malta for a week before heading to Strasbourg/Alsace region to visit my friend and see the Christmas markets there. After my third (and final) fête des Lumières, I headed home for the holidays, a first for me since 2014. It was a pleasant time back in LA with family and friends, nonetheless.
My travels were concentrated exclusively in the first half of the year. After New Year’s, my family and I went on a two-week cruise to Mexico and Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama) and Colombia; it was great to check out a different part of the world and a great start to another year of adventure.
I returned to France afterwards for my spring (and final) semester of teaching. While it remained rough with the students at times, I felt much more confident in my teaching abilities to do a decent job at it. Admittedly, I did burn myself out with too much work, but I still found time to travel and enjoy myself: I went to Romania in February, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise, as it has become my number-one favorite European country I’ve visited. Went to Paris in March to celebrate my birthday, and Milan and Lake Como in April for the Easter holidays.
May arrived, and I completed my final semester (and year) of lectrice teaching. My contract technically wouldn’t be ending until August, so I was still getting paid even after teaching. I knew it would be my last year in France, so I traveled as much as I could for the next two-and-a-half months. I first went to Eastern Europe, with a brief stop in Warsaw before heading to Lithuania, Latvia, and then a week in Georgia (an incredibly-enriching experience).
Also spent 10 days in Turkey with a friend to enjoy the beautiful architecture, rock formations, and delicious food. Then headed to northern Spain (the Basque Country) before hopping back to southwest France to see my friend again, and then headed to the south of France for the lavender fields in Provence, which had been on my bucket list for the past four years: they were absolutely stunning, and I’m glad I was able to see them in the end.
I ended my four years in France with the beautiful 14 juillet fireworks in Paris. Sad as I was to leave, I knew my time was up, and that it was time to look into a more-stable career option, which would be a career change. I struggled for a couple of months in LA while unemployed; I had that awful MLM experience in August that nearly destroyed my faith in humanity before I landed my current (legit) job at the airport in October…and I’ve been here ever since then! Also took on a second (temp) job in the government in December, and I’m still doing that now; I’ve been super busy with both, but money’s coming in, and I hope to save up for future expenses (e.g. bills, gas, travel) until I can get full-time work.
…and that’s it! That concludes my 2010’s in review. Definitely a roller-coaster of the a ride through my late teens to mid-twenties, but I’m glad how it has changed me. The experiences have made me a person whom I’d admire as a kid, and I am hopeful to continue improving myself in this next decade. Thanks for reading, and more to come soon! 😀
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic