The hour is almost here (on my side of the globe, at least): 2014 is slowly making way for the new calendar year. 2015, you ready?
But first, let’s cut 2014 up into gloopy pieces and see what it was made of for me. What made it go? What brought it to a halt? What helped, and what hindered. And, most importantly, where am I going next?Back in January 2014, I made a list of 8 resolutions, plus some Lesser Goals, for the year.

So… how did I do?
I should say that I’ve never before followed-up my resolutions like this. I’ve really enjoyed the time spent mulling over and reflecting on what I did and didn’t do to make these goals come to life as I sit down to write – there’s often a deadline on traveling, which makes it nice for setting practical goals and provides a good incentive to follow through, or at least thinking of following through – there’s sometimes no ‘next year’ to restart and re-evaluate your chosen goals. Do it now, while the doin’s good!
In thinking about my goals for 2015, I wanted to quickly review what I accomplished, and didn’t, in 2014… and in my creative life! Some of it worked… some of it didn’t. Entire projects fell to flooding, rust, and sun, and it was a helluva time finding and using new materials (including bamboo!) All of it was sweaty, dirty fun, and most of it didn’t give me minor electrical shocks! But hey, that’s how I roll.
Let’s see, shall we?
This year I discovered what kinds of crafts and construction projects survived in the tropics… and what didn’t.
This is an installation I put in on our fifth floor, viewed from the fourth floor.

My 8 Major goals for 2014 were:

1. Maintain myself like a real person

STATUS: Totally did this: you’re talking to a person that gets his hair cut once a week (let’s overlook the fact that this is only because my beard trimmer broke, and I can’t find another one, BUT STILL). Continuing to refine a schedule and goals into the new year.

2. Budget and a tighter grasp on my money plan

STATUS: Didn’t blog it, but I accomplished it. It’s not very interesting. The upshot is, if I continue in this vein, I’ll have no problems financially traveling as much as I like in 2015-16. Now to save for grad school!

3. Plan for the long term, live for the short term

STATUS: Count it. My god. Have you even seen where I’ve gone this year?? It’s been fantastic! I’ve seen so many friends and family, and so much of this wonderful country. Here’s to seeing the rest in the next 18 months!

4. Be able to basically communicate what I need in Vietnamese

STATUS: Barely… and that’s good enough for me, for now.

5. Make more mistakes… and learn from them

STATUS: Nailed it. Hoo boy.

6. Volunteer

STATUS: Ongoing! But I haven’t gotten around to finishing this post yet, so expect to hear more early 2015! Coming soon…

7. Delve into regional and national development and policy

STATUS: Sort of began this, but the posts I’ve written have been relatively outside of my actual area of interest (or maybe this is my way of telling myself that I need a new, more interesting area of interest?).

My posts on architecture, civic projects, English language learning, culture, and even my weird-ass book review were all policy- and development-adjacent, so to speak, but posts on transportation, pollution, and the new subway system never got off the ground. I’ll keep edging closer.

8. Maintain my blog and improve my writing

STATUS: Did I do this? I think I did… here’s to taking it to the next level in 2015.

A lamp I made for the rooftop. Even this has lasted almost 9 months!

Minor Goals in 2014 included:

1. Cambodia

DONE! If you missed my posts, please check them out: Phnom Phen, a motorboat ride, Siem Reap, Ankor Wat Day I and II, Siem Reap’s nightlife, Cambodian food, and the Circus!

2. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables

DONE. It’s easy. Fruit juice twice a day, veggies with every meal!

3. Get my CELTA certificate

NEVER MIND. Ugh. Life plans, amirite? eh?

4. North Vietnam

GOT A PREVIEW, more happening this year (including a motorbike trip around the northern mountainous provinces with my cousin, and Ha Long Bay with my sister)!

5. Buy shoes

DONE… BUT WHY WAS THIS SUCH A CHORE THAT IT LANDED ON A RESOLUTIONS LIST?? I mean, really, Ben. Get it together.

6. Paint the house

DONE! It’s less awful now, but it’s still very, very Vietnamese.

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do.
I did end up painting my own room… I was taking NO chances that the handymen would
just repaint my room another horrible shade of cat-tongue-pink. Got some decals too!
7. Make the living room not horrible

POINTLESS. PROJECT ABANDONED. Still soul-crushingly grim down there:

Eww. To think I was going to spend a significant
amount of time on this. Sorry, Terra Nova.
Guess you’ll have to pawn it off on some other sucker.

My one contribution was this motion-sensing lamp for the garage.

8. Trash Finding Nemo shade and install curtains

DONE! Damn, Gina, lookit that.

YEAHHHHHH! Grownup window dressings! Also, check out that lamp I made for my room!
(I was really into lamps this year, I guess…)
9. Enjoy the hell out of the rooftop during the dry season!

ENJOYED!

Things that DID survive the water and heat:
Electronics (being careful to unplug them when not in use!), custom bamboo shelves,
most of the wire installations, the BBQ shelves and light thing (mostly).
Things that did not survive:
All those adorable little xmas light balls, and most of the big plants. They got taken down to the lower terrace once it became clear that watering them required THREE trips up and down the terrace ladder daily. Wish I was joking – and wish we could pump directly from the reservoir up there!
It’s a pretty decent hangout spot! And we’re headed into the dry months, once again… time to get weeding, I suppose.
I’m just gonna go ahead and say it out loud – I’ve had a darn good year, in retrospect. I’m so please to have taken the time to articulate exactly what I want to do… it’s so useful when I go back months later and I’m all like, “‘scuse me, WTF did I say I was gonna do about that??”
Happy (Solar) New Year to you and your kin, and may you get your own resolutions off the ground and soaring in no time! As for myself… I’ll be posting my new 2015 resolutions soon.
How are you ringing in the New Year?