About me

Hi! I am Asta! I am a philologist and a philocalist to the heart's core. Here I share things that I consider being aesthetic and fantastic!

31 Dec 2019

My 2019

Another year is almost over. There are already fireworks exploding outside and that means that Vilnius is ready to party. So it's time for the annual review, where I talk about what sort of year I had. And I can say in advance - 2019 was a fluffin' roller coaster. 

This year I finally completed my studies and defended my PhD thesis, and this is my greatest achievement this year. I posted some of my thoughts in here, so if you haven't read that - you can check it out. I am still trying to find the proper mode of existing after the defence, since there is much more free time and much less writing guilt, but just give it some time. Meanwhile, it's very pleasant to be able to binge-watch Netflix or play video games without feeling constantly guilty.

In 2019 I have visited three countries. In January me and my husband flew to Italy, where we have visited two charming cities - Milano and Bergamo. I wrote about our short trip here and here

In April, I have traveled to Spain, to Santiago de Compostela, where I have attended SIEF's International Congress. Although the trip was work related, I've found some time to explore the city and enjoy local delicacies. I wrote about my Spanish experiences here.  

Last trip was to my beloved city of Tartu in Estonia. It was also work related, but it felt like coming back home. I didn't write about it on my blog (there are only 10 posts this year because, well, life happened), but there are some pictures on my Instagram

We also had a short summer vacation in Šventoji. More on the Lithuanian seaside adventures can be found in this post. We also did some sightseeing in the surrounding area, and there explorations are described here

This year we still haven't moved into our house. There's still so much to do there, that I am no longer setting any deadlines, because construction and renovation is an unpredictable thing, where lots of things depend on hired workers, weather, your health and financial situation. My husband deserves a medal for doing lots of construction works by himself. Meanwhile I was working in our garden, trying to shape it according to the plan that I had in my head for a long time. We'll see how it will turn out in the future.

In 2019 I have participated in one wedding. It's always lovely to see people getting married and you just wish all the happiness and joy for them!

So far so good, right? Well here comes the sad part. In 2019 I have lost two very precious people. The first one to depart was my dear aunt, who was buried on the same day when I defended my thesis. It was heartbreaking for not being able to attend her funeral and I rushed back as soon as I could to pay my respects. My aunt was the sweetest person I have ever knew and now it's incredibly strange to perceive that I am not going to see her ever again. 
Less than two months after, I lost my grandma. Me and my family have been preparing for this for some time, since my grandma was sent to the hospital in May and her condition worsened little by little. Nevertheless, nothing can prepare you for the loss of the people you love and care about. I barely remember the days of the wake and the day of the funeral. My grandma spent 92 years on this earth, but it was (and still is) hard to let her go. My family, we dream about her, I see her photos in my laptop or phone and just tear up. For the 30 years of my life, she was almost always beside me, so naturally it will take some time to get used to the life without her.

This year have thought me one thing: never delay with telling other people that you love them. We have an illusion of things staying the way they are forever, but sooner or later they shift, the situations change, and there's no coming back, no second try. So I am learning to be sincere with my emotions, and I try to convey them to the people I care about. So, in a sense, 2019 were a year of self-discovery through painful lessons. 

Nevertheless, besides painful moments, 2019 brought me new people, new experiences, new opportunities. I tried to minimize the amount of tasks that bring me no joy, and focused on forming a healthy and as stress-free as possible environment for myself. Stress is my harshest enemy, that devoured quite a lot of my health, so now I am trying to find the balance, to get right back on track. So one of my wishes for 2020 would be to eliminate stress from my work and my personal life. Fingers crossed.

This year I saw lots of good movies, read some very interesting books. If I could make a quick recommendation, my TOP 5 movies (in random order) would be: And Then We Danced (directed by Levan Akin), Out Stealing Horses (directed by Hans Petter Moland), Shoplifters (directed by Hirokazu Koreeda), Burning (directed by Chang-dong Lee), and Roma (directed by Alfonso Cuarón). 
TOP 5 books would be (also in random order) Lie With Me by Philippe Besson, Circe by Madeline Miller, Flights by  Olga Tokarczuk, The Charioteer by Mary Renault, and Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena. 

May 2020s be a better decade, filled with discoveries instead of losses, with joy instead of regret. I wish that the upcoming 2020 would bring calmness, less "I must" and more "I would like to". 

See you next year!

Photos © aesthastic