Monday, 7 December 2009

2009: A year in the life of Claire

1.What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

Went to America. (DC and NYC.) First longish-haul flight, first time I'd even wanted to go to the US. Loved it, in case you have missed that somehow.

Dangled my feet in the world of fan fiction. In fact, believe it or not, until this year I was not really aware that such a thing existed.

Started living by myself. It's wonderful.

Went to Rendez Vous, a Bible week in the South of France. Only one thing better than meeting wtih God - meeting with God in the sunshine and then spending the afternoons by the pool, drinking coffee and reading!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?

No, but I think I'm going to make the same one this year: to learn a new word every day. I did learn quite a few though! Most recently, "obdurate". I like that one.

3. Did anyone you know give birth?
Yes, but no one I'm especially close to. Next year will be fun though :)

4. Did anyone you know die?
No one I'm close to.

5. What countries did you visit?
USA, Holland, England, France, Ireland. Ooh, that's quite a lot!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
More discipline to actually get things done!
A few months off and lots of money to go on a big trip around the US!
I would not say no to an attractive man who was madly in love with me, looked a lot like Brad Whitford, and also happened to be passionate about God and Church planting.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
24th March. The day I moved back to Belgium, exactly 18 years after leaving.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Erm... finishing the West Wing?
Learning to play "we gather together" in E flat major on the oboe.
Maybe I should put "achieve something" on my to-do list for next year.
Oh, no, wait, I became a published writer this year with my articles in the Mag!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm not sure what it says about me that I can't think of anything!!
I gave up on learning Dutch - but I like to think of that as effective prioritising rather than failing as such.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
More fluey things than is normal for me. Belgian germs and American germs - pah! Also I have an enormous cavity in a wisdom tooth but I'm hoping that will just go away. (!)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A book called "So you think you can spell? Killer quizzes for the incurably competitive and overly confident." (Ahem.) Turns out my spelling is not all I thought it was.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I like that question, but can't think of anyone right now...

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Where is George Bush when you need him?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Holidays and bank charges. Also books.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Series 7, episode 13 of the West Wing ("the Cold"). I know, I need to get out more.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
The West Wing theme tune.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder, thinner or fatter, richer or poorer?
Happier, marginally fatter, perhaps slightly less poor.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing. But hey, you can always do more.
Meeting people. I'm turning into an introvert. It's freaking me out.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Faffing around hitting refresh on twitter and facebook - unbelievable how much time you can waste that way.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Wishing I was somewhere else!

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Not with any real people, no, which might explain the lack of heartache this year (hooray!).

With Josh Lyman, yes, with America, yes, and with the English language. (Aaron Sorkin is in large part reasonsible for all those things.)

24. What was your favourite TV program?
Is there anything else apart from the West Wing?

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Don't think so!

26. What was the best book you read?
Ooh I've read a lot this year, so it's hard to choose. Loved Obama's Dreams from my Father - the first biography I've ever read, and I did not expect it to be so interesting or so beautifully written.
"Then they come to the end" - I loved the style.
Currently reading "The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao" - also fantastic, as is "Reading like a Writer". I'll stop there, for now.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've started oboe lessons again, and that's quite fun.

28. What did you want and get?
A new start.
A trip to the US (though I didn't start wanting that till the summer!)

29. What did you want and not get?
A coffee with Janel Moloney in New York.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
500 days of Summer - loved it. It reminded me of Amélie - anyone else?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
31. Played a fab board game with some people I love very much and have known forever :)

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Finishing my novel. (but I'm doing okay considering!)
Doing some kind of course with the OU. I will definitely do that next year.

Okay, that's two things.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
You know what, now I'm in my thirties, my personal fashion concept is to wear what I like and what I feel comfotable in. I will never be one of those super-cool, super-stylish people. I've made my peace with that, mostly.

Though I've bought a lot of argyle lately, and I'm loving the current trend for purple.

34. What kept you sane?
My alternative universes: the West Wing, and thinking about the plot and characters in my novel.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
That's easy. Josh Lyman/Brad Whitford. I had a Sam Seaborn stage previously too but I saw the light.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I've now had two nightmares about the Conservatives winning the next election. Did you know that David Cameron has openly admitted to not even liking the West Wing? I know, it's shocking. You really want to entrust the future of the nation to such a man? Political lecture over.

37. Whom did you miss?
Fewer people than normal and less painfully than normal. But the usual suspects.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Difficult to choose, though a special mention must go to Isabel for rescuing me from my stalker and becoming my friend in the process!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
I don't know if this counts as life, but in writing - keep your hero and heroine apart as long as you possibly can - it keeps people hooked!!
Also, life is too short to read books that do not grab you.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
In a New York minute, everything can change...

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