1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Meet my new half-sister. Teach in a library context as the main part of my job. Go to a library conference. Get a residence permit with full working rights in the UK.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions were rather vague ones about trying to have an online experience that was more positive, more focused on celebrating friends' achievements and talking about things done well, rather than focusing on things done badly, people's deplorable behaviour, and more negative stuff. I had a vague intention to try and do more collaborative reviewing.
My semi-weekly linkposts were part of that attempt, and I also had the good fortune to be involved in Those Who Run With Wolves, a collaborative reviewing project set up by Aliette de Bodard with the aim of focusing on works by marginalised authors.
My resolutions for next year are more of the same: more collaboration, more conversation, and more discussion of things I love. More kindness, not fear, essentially.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin's wife had a baby son, and several of my friends had babies.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Jenny, a good friend of mine from Australia, and one of the few people who seemed to experience books and stories in the way I do, sadly died a few months ago. It was really sudden, and she left behind two small daughters, and it's just an awful thing to have happened.
5. What countries did you visit?
Norway with my mum, Germany with Matthias, and back to Australia to visit my family over the Christmas/New Year period.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
My British citizenship and Matthias' permanent residence sorted out.
7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
7th August, the date I received my work permit. Also 5th January, the first day at my new (fabulous) job.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
To be honest, probably the the work permit, although I'm also pleased that I did so well at my new job, and that I've continued to enjoy it.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't really think there was anything major. It's been a good year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing, other than the odd migraine and the usual bruises from bumping into furniture.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
The work permit application, and tickets to Australia.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Matthias, for his persistence, perseverance, hard work and enthusiasm for all things library-related, and his determination in doing all he can to get good work in that field. My mother, for her continued material and emotional support. Friends, near and far, online and off, for everything.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Take your pick of the conga line of horrors currently running my country of origin (Australia) and country of residence (the UK).
14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, and flights to Australia.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Australia. Getting my visa. Everything to do with my new job, and the various opportunities it's afforded me.
16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
'Make Them Gold' and 'Clearest Blue' by Chvrches, 'Open Doors' by Electric Lady Lab (not a song of 2015, but new to me), and 'Delirious' by Susanne Sundfør.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier, due to a much needed sense of stability and hope for the future.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Slightly better off.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Feeling upset and angry.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
I was back with my mother's side of the family, at my aunt's place, stuffing my face with delicious food, everyone talking over the top of each other at top volume, Sydney Harbour glittering outside the window, and the sun shining. Everything was right with the world. On Boxing Day, my mother, sister, Matthias and I visited my paternal relatives in Thirroul for lunch.
22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
I fell more in love with Matthias, and with our life together.
I think my answer for this hasn't changed in about four years...
23. Did your heart break in 2015?
It broke for other people, many, many times. My heart is soft, and full of feeling.
24. What was your favourite TV program?
I enjoyed the return of Peaky Blinders and Orange Is The New Black, and Sense8 was gloriously delirious, but really, nothing could top Jessica Jones, which was immensely satisfying to watch.
25. Where were you when 2015 began?
At Matthias' sister's place with her husband, guests from their wedding and various other family members. As is the custom in Germany, everyone let off fireworks and sparklers on the stroke of midnight.
26. Who were you with?
Matthias, his sister, her husband, and a bunch of his relatives and family friends.
27. Where will you be when 2015 ends?
On the rooftop of my mum's building, watching fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour.
28. Who will you be with when 2015 ends?
Matthias, my mother, various other guests, and all the other inhabitants of the block of flats and their guests.
29. What was the best book you read?
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Court of Fives and Black Wolves by Kate Elliott, and ultimately, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which was like a punch to the heart.
30. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Electric Lady Lab. Although they were not a new band, they were new to me.
31. What did you want and get?
A residence permit with full working rights.
32. What did you want and not get?
Slightly more economic stability.
33. What was your favourite film of this year?
While Star Wars gave a late tug at my heartstrings, there can really only be one winner: the shiny, chrome, glorious feminist car chase that was Mad Max: Fury Road.
34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Mum, Matthias and I returned to Sydney from a hiking trip in the Blue Mountains. In the evening, the three of us went out to dinner with my sister at this fantastic restaurant. I was thirty-one.
35. How many different states/cities did you travel to in 2015?
I can't remember exactly how many day-trips I made in the UK, although I know I went to London a few times. I also went to a workshop in Leicester, a conference in Sheffield, and weekends away in Exeter and north Norfolk. In Australia I mostly stayed in NSW, but visited South Australia for the first time.
I also went to Bergen and Oslo in Norway, Matthias' home town in Germany, and Hamburg for the first time.
36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
What is going to be comfortable when worn standing up and teaching for an entire day?
37. What kept you sane?
The kindness, empathy, and love of Matthias, friends and family.
38. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
My adoration of Shay Mitchell continues.
39. What political issue stirred you the most?
I think my answer from last year still stands, sadly: I am very concerned about the rise of far-right nationalism in Europe, and of anti-immigrant feeling more generally. I continue to focus most of my political energies on feminist issues.
40. How many concerts did you see in 2015?
Just one, Rebeka, a two-piece Polish electropop band, at a tiny gig in a cafe in Cambridge.
41. Did you have a favourite concert in 2015?
Clearly it has to be Rebeka!
42. Who was the best new person you met?
It was lovely to meet Kari Sperring and Athena Andreadis in person, and of course I was thrilled to meet Maud, my new sister, and my cousin's two-year-old daughter and other cousin's ten-month-old son.
43. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
44. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2015?
I'm not easily embarrassed.
45. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Pick your battles, conserve your energy.
46. What are your plans for 2016?
Get British citizenship sorted, as well as Matthias' residency and citizenship stuff.
47. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
We are made of all our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold
We are made of our smallest thoughts
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold
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