Monday, February 01, 2016


Well, it's literally the end of January already, sort of rather actually quite late for a year's end reflection, right? But a fantastic trip to Oaxaca that straddled the entry to 2016 – plus loads and loads of work – made it impossible to write about 2015 before the year ended or even shortly after that. But... Chinese New Year is coming (February 8th), so I've still got one fair last chance for a year's end reflection! Otherwise, I'll have to wait until Rosh Hashana in October? Nope.

Anyhow, I really like these yearly exercises, a looking back, putting some order in what in my mind is usually a chaotic mix of memories and experiences, appreciating what the year offered, processing the more difficult lessons... Though this blog started as – and remains – a way of sharing with friends and family spread world-wide, this is one of the few posts I write mostly for myself. So if you're not into this, feel free to stop reading right HERE.


Still seeing the world!

I made three trips with the habib, and it's no exaggeration to say that all three of them were impossibly good. I got to see Mexico under a very different, indigenous-heavy, culinarily-surprising, tradition-rich light both in Yucatán and Oaxaca. Like, truly eye-opening! And on top of that we visited South America! My first trip ever down there! And to Rio de Janeiro no less! That was one of our best anniversaries ever, for sure! We also visited the town of Cuernavaca, the kind of experience that is enlightening through its ugliness (though we definitely spent some quality family time there).

And then, because of work, I got to visit Seoul once more! And I think I actually had an even better time than the first time. Love that place. And if that weren't enough, I managed to spend some fantastic hours in San Francisco with a dear friend. 

And I even got to spend a romantic weekend with the motek in San Miguel de Allende and Atotonilco, and one in Mexico City (our version of "Acapulco en la azotea" or "Khul baaretz", a staycation). Both showed me more of Mexico, through a new set of eyes.

So I guess I would have to be out of my mind to have any complaints on the travel front, right? Sure, no amount of travel is ever going to be enough, but 2015 was really outstanding in the diversity of experiences I had. Pretty cool.

And it was also a year of exploring and experiencing aplenty in this immense megalopolis called Mexico City. We visited former little towns now engulfed by the city and saw very peculiar traditions, like the Día de la Candelaria. We visited the neighbourhood where my dad grew up, and enjoyed some Russian culture while there. We discovered what was to become our favourite ruins in the city - Tlatelolco! We discovered fantastic vegan places for brunch and milkshakes, awesome and authentic Korean, Japanese and Lebanese food. We kept finding precious gems hidden in the historic centre, like squares where people dance on weekends.

Also, on a kinkier vein, I had my first Pride ever in Mexico City! And it was a lot of fun! Though a bit disorganized, it was amazing to see such a diverse and young crowd marching on the streets and partying in the historic centre. Very, very cool. And a feminist porn festival in a former convent? Superb! And on a Jewish-y note, I think I saw all the Israeli-Jewish dance I needed at a couple of festivals, and of course there was also film, which sort of linked me back to Canada, not just because that's where we first started going to Jewish Film festivals, but also one of the movies was set in Toronto! Sure, the pace of our exploring has diminished a bit, we've sort of found the places we enjoy the most and keep going back to them. But it was indeed one good year of getting to know this city better.

It was a year of friendship, too. Two very dear friends from Canada visited, and spent a couple of weekends with us. And we did our best to show them our city. And I think we did great, and enjoyed their visit immensely! And a friend from Russia (living in the US) also visited! After not seeing each other for who-knows how many years! It feels so good when you can sit down with a friend, after such a long time, and carry on as if no time had passed. So good. And we became real good friends with some neighbours! A first for us, by the way. Hell, such a good friendship we were even invited for New Year to Juchitán (that amazing trip to Oaxaca I mentioned before).


I had the amazing experience of seeing indigenous languages actually used on a daily basis in Yucatán and Oaxaca, something I cherish immensely. I even managed to learn the odd word in Maya (thanks to a colleague of mine) and Zapotec (through the friend that invited us to Juchitán). But that was it pretty much for 2015 – too much work, too little free time. But still, the indigenous language experience was so unique!

Happy everything!

2015 was one year full of celebrations! I don't think we've ever tried to do so much! Christmas, Hannukah, Rosh Hashana, Chinese Spring Festival, Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival... And lest you think we don't honour our stay in Lebanon with some specific celebration, please remember we put Lebanese Christmas songs for Christmas, OK? And like few times before, we celebrated most of these with friends. Home. We're becoming better at being hosts! Yay!

Work! Work? Work...

What learning I may not have done language-wise, I made up for in many other areas. Like work, where I keep learning tons. Tons. I guess the highlights would be a successful – despite numerous unexpected circumstances – big event we organized in September, plus being entrusted to be the one and only representative of my team in Seoul in November.

On the other hand, near the end of the year I had some epic professional stumble that left me wondering whether I wasn't in the wrong job. Which forced me to sit down and reflect. And of the 5 most important things I reasoned I wanted from my job, I concluded I am indeed getting each of them but one (due to the "hiccup"). Overall, it's been one intense learning marathon.

Some crazy surprises

I might have mentioned a family research project I have. It's something that's taken me some 10 years, because information was scarce, scattered, fragmented, and in old versions of other languages. But a chat with a historian friend of mine, plus a sympathetic public officer that found my story interesting, led me to discover some files I was not aware existed, a wealth of fascinating new information, plus some fact-changing details regarding my mom and my grandfather. The links of my family to "the tribe" – and to the circus! LOL – keep getting stronger and stronger.


Now, 2015 was one wonderful, rough, exhilarating, painful and reaffirming year love-wise.

With my habib, a relationship I've been in for almost 15 years, things were sort of roller-coaster-y for a few months. We had amazing trips. I mean, truly wonderful ones! And we've explored so many nooks and crannies of this city, tried all sorts of food, got closer to friends and family... But... But in those 15 years the habib hadn't seen me develop as long and as intense a relationship as the one I did with the motek. And that put my own relationship with the habib to the test. Apparently simple theory had to face the overwhelming reality of complex feelings and of specificities nobody could have foreseen. It was a rocky and difficult process, but we came through a better and more solid couple, and my habib proved himself, yet again, as one incredible, frank, mature, committed, steadfast, caring and loving partner.

And then, of course, the motek. I am thankful for having had in my life someone so giving, honest, fun, interesting and willing to give difficult me a chance. I owe quite a bit of my experiencing of this city and this country, in their crazy complexity and multiple layers, to the motek. Alas, like the Chinese say, 有緣無份 (yǒu yuán wú fèn) - there was fate, but no destiny. So there is no motek in 2016 no more. Painful. Very. But then again, almost a year and a half of a very good thing? The pain will ease away, and only good memories will remain.

There. I needed that. A very good year. Despite a couple of kick-balls-y things. Lots of learning. Loads of many good memories. Lots of learning.

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