Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Years Resolutions

So maybe I'm a bit late with the New Years resolutions post. But if you consider that New Year by the old calendar was January 14, I'm really not that late at all! Besides, I'm a bit of a year-round goal-setter anyway; New Years is just a convenient time to reflect and evaluate what my priorities are for the near future.

Before going on to tell you all about my goals for this year, I want to take a moment to look back at all the neat stuff I did in 2009:

1. I completed a rigorous study abroad program in Russia.
2. I tested at 3+ (professional+) in speaking and reading in Russian.
3. I converted to Orthodoxy.
4. I got married!
5. I successfully figured out how to cable-knit and knitted a scarf for my hubby in just under a week.
6. I rode for 8 hours over unpaved mountain roads in fog to get to an 11th century cave city.
7. I spent more than 24 hours in the transit lounge of the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul (thankfully, not consecutively).
8. I started a new job as a translator and copy editor at International Life magazine.

Not bad for one year, eh? Still, there are lots of things I'd like to get done (or at least make progress toward) in 2010. They say you'll have more luck if you don't try to change too many things at once, so here's my short-list, my top three goals for 2010:

1. Get back in shape. Original, I know. But I miss muscly Alli and the energy working out gives me. So I'm aiming for 3-6 hours of activity a week, including cardio, strength, and flexibility training. I've already gotten started with some strength exercises and yoga, but I'd like to add in some more vigorous cardio. I was looking at getting back into running (without over-training and killing my shins like last time) by following the Couch to 5K running schedule. If I can start getting my buns out of bed early enough to run during the “socially acceptable running hours,” I'll be doing 5Ks by mid-March!

2. Learn Georgian. At least a little. More than the 30 or so random words I know now, including chipi (bellybutton), bibilo (earlobe), and zazuna (hamster), all of which are fun to say but not that useful in day-to-day conversation. I know hello and goodbye, I can tell when I'm being toasted, I can say thank you, and understand from context when someone asks, “Oh, she is your spouse?” ("spouse" being one of those words in Georgian that I understand when I hear but can't pronounce myself). I also know a few swear words. but I can't follow most conversation, let alone participate, and it's starting to get embarrassing that people are STILL having to switch to Russian on my behalf. The longer I'm here, the more disrespectful it feels not to know the local language. I have a textbook, but it turns out I'm crap at sticking to a study schedule without somebody asking for my homework every day. So even though it's hopeful we'll only be in Georgia another 2-3 months, I'm again on the hunt for a Georgian teacher.

3. Become a part of the Orthodox community. I converted last summer and I've done some reading, but I still have a lot to learn about living an Orthodox life – new traditions to take up, habits to form, and lots and lots of history to read and digest. I don't expect to become an expert on Orthodox theology in a year, but I'd like to be able to fluently explain why the filioque is a heresy or what theosis means or exactly what our views on the meaning of the Incarnation are when people say, “So, you're Orthodox now. What does that mean, exactly?”

Well, there you have it. Did you make New Years resolutions? How are they coming along? Or are you more of a year-round goal setter?


Abbie said...


I love that you started a blog! I's great to see your resolutions. I have yet to make any for myself...maybe I'll follow suit and start now. I'm also intrigued by your conversion to Orthodoxy, and am also wondering what this means exactly. I'd love to learn about it!

Thanks for sharing!
Abbie K.

Kerry said...

I have an awesome book for you about Orthodoxy that I'll give to you when you get back, by Kallistos (formerly Timothy) Ware, an English guy who converted to Orthodoxy when he was around your age. I read it as part of my Russian culture class last semester and I really learned a ton. It was especially nice to learn from the perspective of someone who, although he is a believer, didn't grow up in the religion and can provide something of an outsider's perspective.

Alli said...

Abbie: Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to chat more about my conversion sometime, either via the interwebs or in person when I get home!

Kerry: Ooh, thanks, that'd be great! The book doesn't happen to be "The Orthodox Church"? I'm reading that right now (I found the full text online). This is really the best intro-to-Orthodoxy book I've found. He lays out all the history extremely succinctly, yet thoroughly, so it's understandable without getting bogged down in too much history or theology all at once. But Bishop Ware has written quite a few books about Orthodoxy, so maybe you read a different one?

Kerry said...

It is indeed The Orthodox Church (albeit the New Edition)--isn't it great? I wish I'd read it back when I was taking Old Russian Lit--it totally would have enriched my understanding of all the old texts we read.