2016 in review: Settling in

2016 was about settling down, staying put, and going deeper, in our new home in Toronto, in my friendships, and in my now-not-so-new job at the Greater Good Science Center.

Apartments lived in: 3
Flights taken: 15
Articles written: 37
Weddings attended: 2
IKEA trips: 5

Silencing all the skeptics, we signed not a one- but a two-year lease at an apartment in downtown Toronto, a two-bedroom with great views of the city and the lake (and daily helicopter landings on the helipad at St. Mike’s). We mastered the art of IKEA furniture building (with a few mishaps, namely three stitches for me) and, after some intense deliberation about color schemes and cushion covers, settled on some kind of modern, bright style to complement our window-filled space.

view-from-apartment

couch-and-tree

My mother and brother promptly visited to take advantage of our cosy guest room, enjoy a relaxing day on Toronto Island, and (in Sean’s case) keep me in shape with lots of walking and weight lifting.

toronto-island

sean-at-gym

But before all the domesticity, we spent the first three months of 2016 in rainy Berkeley, California, so I could squeeze in some face-to-face time with my colleagues at the GGSC before becoming a remote employee. I commuted by bike, got up early to hit the YMCA before work, and shamefully didn’t visit any nearby scenic spots except for Las Vegas.

I returned to Berkeley twice more during the year, staying with my colleague Elise and her cute kitties, and celebrated my one-year work anniversary in October.

ggsc-team

me-and-ollie

One of my more personal articles of the year, about loneliness among modern nomads, caught the eye of Al-Jazeera English and landed me a spot on a one-hour discussion panel, my first TV appearance ever.

kira-newman-on-tv

My longtime wish to attend more weddings was granted this year. We headed to Austin in June to attend the playful, heartfelt, and altogether awesome wedding of Daniel and Faiza, whose highlight was a series of hilarious and touching toasts by close friends. In September, I saw my friend-of-two-decades Lindsay get hitched and read some poetic Victor Hugo during the ceremony.

daniel-and-faiza-wedding

lindsay-wedding

My New Year’s resolution last year was to love more: to focus on cultivating a better relationship with myself, with Fred, and with old and new friends. Although not the most concrete resolution in the world, it was something I focused on: Fred and I learned about the Four Tendencies and the Five Love Languages, two concepts that were incredibly illuminating for our relationship. I attended lots and lots of meetups and even tried out a new app that helps women to meet women friends. We hosted two Thanksgiving dinners, and I’m starting to feel more connected and rooted in Toronto.

jessyca

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving #1 (aka Canadian Thanksgiving)

sushi

Birthday noms with Irene

On the fitness front, I kicked myself into gear with measures that some might call extreme:  working out 4-5 days a week in Berkeley, doing a one-month “cleanse” that consisted mainly of chicken, rice, and a boatload of supplements, and finally settling into a strict slow-carb diet that prohibits grains, starches, sugar, and dairy six days of the week.

cleanse

I dare you to make something tasty with this stuff

gym-shoes

donut-cookies

What I eat on the seventh day

Besides my happiness and self-awareness education, which continues apace at work and outside of it, I started learning a few other things this year: Rock climbing, initially a birthday gift for Fred that I returned to repeatedly with my colleague Jesse; blues dancing, which Fred is finally giving me lessons in; and cooking (and how it can actually be fun), thanks to Irene’s fantastic work at HelloFresh.

In some ways, 2016 was about recalibrating and readjusting for me: Getting used to a future that doesn’t have a new city around every corner. Someone said I needed to take time for incubation, to let things marinate and soak in before figuring out exactly what this new life would look like. Now that 2017 is here, I’m looking forward to finding out.

happy-new-year

Happy New Year!

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