My New Years Resolutions for 2023

Happy New Year everyone~

Just as I've finally gotten used to writing '2022' in my journal, another year comes to an end! 
One of my favorite parts of writing these kinds of posts is looking back on my previous resolution post and reading what I wanted to do and what I expected for the upcoming year, and comparing it to what I actually did. Usually, I tend to be conservative about how much can really be done in a year, but I have to say that I underestimated what 2022 had in store for me.

 BTW: If you're interested in reading my 6 month update from back in June where I re-focused my gaze towards my 2022 goals, you can read that post here, or scroll down to get a bit of a final summary!

2022 Resolution Review: 

 (What I did and didn't accomplish)

⚠️ A work in progress
⭕ Success!
❌ Fail

⭕ B2 in French

It feels surreal for me to put the circle emoji next to 'B2 in French', but I'm doing it! I've been deliberating on whether or not I can truly call myself B2, as I haven't taken the official French proficiency test (DELF) yet, however based on some recent experiences I've slowly become more accepting of the fact that I may very well be B2. 

I've been doing interviews with different companies in Paris (entirely in French) and this has really stretched the limits of my French. Last week, I had an interview with a Human Resources director who told me several times that my French was more than sufficient for the position and that "I think your level is very good, even C1!'. My mouth almost fell open in shock! I knew she was being far too kind, but to hear something like this really boosted my self confidence. I decided to take a few online evaluations to see what they thought of my listening and vocabulary skills, and lo and behold:

I also did a grammar test (which is easily my worst skill) and got a B1 result, so I think with a little more prep and hard work, I'll get a B2 result! All in all, I feel really happy about this goal and I can't wait to learn more French in 2023. 

⭕Visit 3 new countries

I am so happy that I made this resolution, because I not only accomplished it but I surpassed my original expectations! While I originally planned to go to three new countries, I actually went to 5! 
I made a little roundup of all the places I've been in 2022 on my Instagram account along with flags next to each photo location. (Note that I included New York since it was a new country for Guillaume!).

Guillaume said something kind of funny, which is that Europeans are so close to other countries that traveling to some place like Spain or Germany isn't really a big deal, but for me, being in Europe was like opening Pandoras box when it came to new and exciting travel destinations! While it might have cost me 700 USD previously to fly to London, I was able to arrive right in the heart of the city taking a train from Paris for less than 100 USD!

It would be impossible for me to say which country was the best, but impression wise Krakow, Poland has a place in my heart for truly surprising me with how incredible it was. Additionally, the time I spent in Jordan was unlike anything I've ever experienced and it truly touched me with how kind and wonderful everyone was. So at least for now, all of them are #1!

⭕Finish 2 Japanese textbooks

I did it!! I cut it a little bit close with this one, only having finished the second textbook today, but I got it done! In my 6th month roundup, this was the goal I was most worried about since I had stopped making headway on the book I was using, but I decided to buckle down and get to work. The two books I completed were:

An Intermediate Approach to Japanese (Textbook and Workbook) and Shin Nihongo 500 N3

I also read a ton of news articles from (not pictured), 3 volumes of Kitchen Princess (キッチンお姫様), one volume of Happy Cafe (幸福喫茶3丁目) and about half of the Try! N3 textbook.

All this practice has given me a few key takeaways:
1. Vocabulary and listening/speaking are still my strongest points, no change there
2. My weakest point is grammar, and frankly I haven't figured out a way to really "study" it 
3. Reading is so much more fun than drilling endless flashcards and I will continue reading manga as a study method going forward

What I like to do when reading is highlight any words I come across that I'm unsure of in red, and then after I've read the entire volume, go back and look up those words. Then, if I'm feeling up to it, I read the entire volume again!

Since I didn't end up studying in Japan, I did not take the JLPT N2 this year, but maybe next year I'll have the opportunity.

❌Exercise 3x a week

I'll be honest: I set myself up to fail with this one. 

If I said "once a week" I think I could have passed, but 3 times is far too much for someone who barely does any exercise outside of walking. If I'm being honest, I forgot that I set this as a goal shortly after I made it. Health wise, I've actually lost a good amount of weight since August (about 13+ pounds) from diet changes alone, and I'm curious what adding more exercise into the mix will change, but for now I'm not really in the habit of "working out". 

Time for my resolutions for this-coming year!  

My Moodboard for 2023

2023 Goals and Resolutions:

Read 3 French books

In 2023 I really want to solidify my French level and start reading more novels in French. I think this will really help to improve my grammar naturally, rather than trying to drill information via flashcard. Currently the first book on my 'to read' list is L'étranger by Albert Camus, which I've heard great things about. 

If you have any recommendation for books in French, please comment them below! 

Get an HR/Diversity related job

I'm set to present my thesis in April and my program requires me to do an internship directly after I finish my studies in order to 'validate' the term, which is a common thing in France. Luckily, this can take place anywhere in the world and in whatever field I choose, as long as it's related to my studies in some way. Since I'm doing my thesis on the topic of diversity and inclusion in France, I would love to work in France in that field. 

So far I've had a few interviews but nothing solid, so cross your fingers! 

Start building my dream wardrobe

For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for my 'look'. My most memorable era of fashion soul searching happened when I was 15 and obsessed with the Lolita fashion sub-culture from Japan, spending 60 dollars of my summer camp money on what I felt was the cutest skirt in history. However several different phases later (girly, casual goth, and the 'only dressing in fall colors' phase) I still haven't settled for a look that I feel totally comfortable with. I have some hints in my current wardrobe, but ever since I was a teenager I've loved the aesthetic of the 1940s to the early 1960s, and I'd love to build a wardrobe around these eras.

I've been afraid to jump in and suddenly go for this aesthetic but why not! :)

Become A2 in Swahili

I've been curious about Swahili for a while but haven't had the time to learn it due to school, but my program is wrapping up in the spring! I think it's such a beautiful and interesting language, in 2023 I want to become at least A2 in Swahili. I'll be using a mixture of different materials such as the Mango languages app, SwahiliPod101 and some textbooks I've managed to find online. 

Find a form of movement that brings me joy.

Last year I said I'd exercise 3x a week, which was definitely not realistic for me. I'd like to start a bit slower and first try discovering the kind of exercise that works for me. I want to experiment with different types of exercise to find what makes me happy and feels good to do! I really enjoy walking, but it would be nice to find an activity I can do on those rainy or cold days when I don't want to go outside. 

I wish you all a lovely 2023 and here's to accomplishing our goals!