Like many of you, I received an email from WordPress today with a statistical review of my past year blogging. In 2012, my most popular post was my
rant reflection on the then recently-published book, The Manhattan Diet. In the running for almost-as-popular were my posts on how to cook juicy pork chops, how to choose a cutting board, and how to make crustless quiches.
Most visitors came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Absolutely no guests came from China. Not a single one.
This can only mean one of two things:
A) Either WordPress is blocked by Chinese censors for being a corruptive Western influence.
B) Or I have been shunned by the entire nation for being of Chinese descent and not knowing how to steam rice or use a wok.
Yeah. I bet it’s probably B too 😉
All these tallies have inspired me to do my own end-of-the-year wrap-up, especially given that 2012 was an eventful year for me.
First and foremost, I finally got my PhD after years of reading, writing, teaching, and kvetching. Finishing the dissertation marked the end of a seemingly endless road and the fulfillment of a long-held goal. This year, I don’t think that I have ever pushed myself harder. I also don’t recall being more miserable, scared, panicked, anxious, lonely, or queasy in my life.
At the same time, I never felt prouder, stronger, more independent, and confident.
Above all, I felt loved.
So as 2012 fades to black, in this post I would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you . . .
To my family.
Mom and Dad, even though 2012 has been a difficult year for you too, you never wavered in your support. Thank you for always believing in me. I love you both so much.
Grandpa, you were my rock. You saw me every Sunday for weekly dim sum. You kept me grounded and fed me dumplings. So many dumplings . . . You also gently reminded me that it’s not a given that a Baconbiscuit win her first Bacon Takedown. Thank you, Grandpa 🙂 I love you so much!
I am also thankful for my extended family of cousins, aunts, and uncles. You never failed to make me laugh at myself. For that, I am grateful. Much love to you all!
To my friends.
I reached my limit 36 hours before my dissertation defense. I was still writing. I was also delirious, going on about six weeks of minimal sleep and three weeks of no sleep. I was mentally, emotionally, and intellectually drained. I was hopped up on caffeine and nicotine too. Just when I was about to fall apart completely, Laura arrived at my door with this glorious pile of junk food.
She made me laugh out loud with this wacky assortment of things that must be part of a pregnant woman’s dream. I was so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the gesture that I burst into tears. Thank you, dearest Laura. You are so treasured!
Sharon and Joseph, how amazing are you for surprising me on my birthday with cupcakes, Italian cookies, and sparkling water? I don’t know how you maneuvered all those candles up my building’s stairs without setting off the fire alarms. You two made me cry too!
Maritess, you always picked up the phone when I called, even when it was a 4 in the morning. I love and miss you, Babe. You are the best Bestie!
Thank you to Tina and Bob MacCheyne from High Point Farms for your friendship and loving support. Your kindness fed me both spiritually and physically.
Giant hugs to Astrid, Ben, Banki, Beth, Birgit, Brie, Niki, Dave F., Oliver, Carol, Ron, Kerri, Anne, Dan, Chantale, Chris, Deb, Clarissa, Ipek, Darya, Jason, Dave C., Joyce, Dave L., Jenn, Dave M., Donna, Emma, Ted, Emmy, Eri, Eryn, Eve, Gideon, Deena, Guillaume, Laura P., Helen, Heather H., Hilary, Jamie, Jas, Preeti, Jennie, Jessica, Peter, Jill, Jimmy and the crew at Jimmy’s 43, John B., John M., John T., Kalay, Katherine, Kelly, Kie, Maggie, Manya, Pär, Margaret, Matt, Megan, Melanie, Melissa, Michelle, Steve, Mike, Nicole, Sebastian, Siobhan, Spencer, Susan, Sylvie, Tanya, Tomoko, Victoria, Zach, and Heather M.
I feel so fortunate to have met you. I would never have made it through 2012 without your friendship. Much love to you all!
Of course, I could never overlook all the wonderful people that I have met through blogging. Thank you for inviting me into your lives and your kitchens. Your stories sustained me as I ate vicariously through your photos. You were my other lifeline when I was living like a hermit in the library basement. Some of you even came through New York and lured me out of my cave 🙂 Thank you for checking up on me and for keeping me sane!
Special blog shout-outs to Ruby and Wheaky, Emmy Cooks, Ugly Food Tastes Better, Sybaritica, Humble Feast, Cauldrons and Cupcakes, Expat Edna, Amy Glaze’s Pommes d’Amour, Unbrave Girl, Southern Food Scrounge, Gourmandistan, Live2EatEat2Live, Happiness Stan Lives Here, Susan Eats London, Garden Correspondent, Frugal Feeding, Cooking in Sens, Kolpona Cuisine, Bunny. Eats. Design., Paintbox Kitchen, Mon chat m’a ramené un chipmunk!, Belle Grove Plantation, Mixer Upper, Going Dutch, In Her Chucks, 17 Bites, Inherit the Spoon, Mama Miyuki Easy Pantsy, Rabbit Can Cook, The Hungry Egghead, testerfoodblog, and Back Road Journal.
To the kind bloggers who nominated me for awards.
When I first started blogging, Adele at Artistry by Adele nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award. I was flattered and very touched by the nomination. Unfortunately, the follow-up post to Adele’s languished in WordPress limbo (aka Draft Status). Why the paralysis? At the time, when faced with the prospect of nominating 15 bloggers in turn, I realized that I didn’t know 15 bloggers!
Since then, Tanya at Humble Feast has nominated me for the Liebster Award, Nicole at Cauldrons and Cupcakes and Mixer Upper have nominated me for the Sunshine Award, and Tahmina at Kolpona Cuisine has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award again! I got picked for the Versatile Blogger Award by John at Sybaritica and Cendriani for the third and fourth times. Mama Miyuki nominated me for the Family Bloggers Award, and Rabbit Can Cook reached out and awarded me with the Inspiring Blog Award.
All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel so honored and touched that you thought of me and my blog. Thank you so much!
Now, after two and a half years of blogging, I can certifiably say that I know more than 15 bloggers 🙂 However, I have to admit that being tasked with having to nominate bloggers in return is rather intimidating. I quite honestly don’t know where to begin; there are just too many deserving writers out there.
Therefore, I am going to deviate a little bit from the norm. If I gave you a shout out in this post, I am nominating and re-nominating ALL of you for ALL of these wonderful awards 🙂 If I have left anyone out, please know that it was not intentional.
Thank you for your support and congratulations to you all!
As per the rules of some of these awards, here are:
Seven things about me:
1. I learned how to carve wooden sculptures when I studied abroad in West Africa. You know the ones you see in stores or on the street? Of abstract men and women? I can make those.
2. I was a vegetarian for almost 12 years. I didn’t do it for ethical or moral reasons. It was a dare that got out of control.
3. One of my most prized possessions is an autographed photo of Mr. T. He was doing an event with Mary Lou Retton at Planet Hollywood. His brass knuckles spelled 1-800 CLCT. It took him three tries to get my name right.
4. My favorite flower? I love peonies. They are just beautiful. I love daisies too 🙂
5. My favorite book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. No, it is not French literature 🙂
6. My favorite words in the English language are dumpling and ampersand.
Ampersand is actually quite fascinating. Did you know it was once the 27th letter of the alphabet?!
7. All the countries I would most like to visit start with the letter “I”: Israel, Iceland, India, and Indonesia. It wasn’t intentional!
To my fellow perfume lovers.
As some of you may know, I have a bad perfume habit that rivals my bacon addiction. I have always loved perfume, but it wasn’t until this summer that I gave what I wore as much thought as what I ate and drank.
I knew in the lead-up to last summer that I wasn’t going to have a vacation this year. Traveling, preferably abroad, is one of the things that I look forward to the most each year. It was too sad to think that I would be spending my time squirreled away in the sub-basement of my university library instead.
So, I thought, if I couldn’t physically travel, maybe I could travel through perfume. I dug out all the decants and samples that I have accumulated over years and wore them all this summer. I went to fragrant India, filled with incense and spices. I traveled to jungles bursting with lush foliage, coconuts, and hot, sweaty tropical flowers. I even went to space with more abstract and futuristic scents.
In the process, I learned so much and met so many wonderful perfume bloggers along the way.
A special thanks goes to Birgit at Olfactoria’s Travels, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin, Undina at Undina’s Looking Glass, The Candy Perfume Boy, The Black Narcissus, Freddie at Smellythoughts, Lucas at Chemist in a Bottle, Lanier at Scents Memory, Portia at Australian Perfume Junkies, The Alembicated Genie, The Scented Hound, and Ari at Scents of Self.
Thank you all for writing so well that I couldn’t help but join the conversation 🙂
As I am spending the new year back home with my parents and brothers in Indiana, it is only fitting to send off 2012 with Straight No Chaser‘s version of Auld Lang Syne.
Here’s to new adventures in 2013!