This is going to be an introspective post, quite a bit different than my normal travel and points related offerings. As 2014 draws near, I've been reflecting back on my 2013 and all of the different things have occurred - both positive and negative. I'm grateful for the many travel opportunities I've had, and am thankful for continued good health that allows me to enjoy my travel and points hobby.
During 2013 I wrapped up my formal PhD study with a successful research trip and final dissertation defense. This was a culmination of many years of study, reading, paper-writing, joys, frustrations, and hoop-jumping. I continue to be thankful for the new friendships I've made as a result of my experiences at USD, and look forward to continuing my work with the Qatari students in Doha, Qatar. To Bob, Cheryl, and Cyndy - thank you for your guidance, support, and for being a committee that didn't hold back. My family was also very supportive, and there is no possible way I could repay everyone's graciousness during my study.
On a sadder note I had some family upheaval occur in the last 18 months, with my divorce being finalized. I'm not sure I could write up words that would capture the pain, anguish, and hurt that I've experienced during the process. For others who have had a spouse refuse to do counseling and leave your home, I can only share familiarity with the situation. It really made me reflect a lot on plans that had been prepared and my own role in the process, and I've come away very regretful and sad about what took place. I also experienced another level of pain and exasperation when I was abandoned by my church and church body during the process, something that I never thought would occur in such a difficult situation. Individuals that I called some of my closest friends left me by the wayside and offered no support, and despite that I harbor no ill will toward them. I remain confident in my faith but disappointed in how fickle people can be when they have a perceived agenda instead of a willingness to listen and help.
Through everything that has occurred, I continue to be hopeful for the future and realize that I've still got a number of things I want to do. Namely:
- One aspiration pre- and post-PhD was to start a family, and I'm hopeful for that sooner than later
- I also want to visit Australia, New Zealand, and Ushuaia if points and miles can get me there
- I'm looking forward to a spring trip to South Korea to visit my friend Jimmy (if schedules permit)
- Professionally I aspire to find an administrative position in Qatar, other countries in the Middle East, or another international school (preferably Zurich or Rome)
- I want to make a more concerted effort to be involved in my church
- I want to do a better job of reconnecting with current friends, and reaching out to make new
I'm hopeful for an amazing 2014, and one that fosters a lot of positive outcomes. Sometimes it's easy to get bogged down in the negatives that happen, but I remain positive and optimistic about what lies ahead.