It has been five years, shy 3 days, since I started Aesthetic Dalliances. I went back and read my first-post-ever, and laughed at how apt the description for my blog still is. Though lots of things have changed about me in five years, almost nothing has changed in terms of the random and varied nature of my blog. I have become, admittedly, a less prolific blogger, but then three international moves and two kids will do that to you. On the other hand, I still thoroughly enjoy the process of photographing and writing about the "generally uneventful and exciting (in my humble opinion) dalliances I indulge in."
It's interesting to me to ruminate on the multifarious (what a great word :)) nature of the past five years since I started writing Aesthetic Dalliances. Back when I started this blog, in the first post, I closed with a quotation that was a hope, a wish for myself - something I feel I hadn't been able to embrace entirely at that point, but which the past few years have brought more into perspective:
"Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always."
Rainer Maria Rilke
2009 was a high. The second half of my first and only successful pregnancy, a beautiful spring in Londontown, culminating in the birth of our first, and probably only, biological son. The winter of that year was filled with discovery, travel, and marination into the feeling of being a family of three - a thrill unparalleled and unrivaled by any other experience to date.
2010 marked another wonderful era of friendship and growth: between Roman learning to be a person, and the fact that we suddenly had more friends in London than we knew what to do with, I remember that Spring and Summer in London as probably the happiest time we spent in the UK. It came to a climactic halt as we dove into the Middle East, quite literally, and commenced the first half of the short but eventful 10 months we would spend in Abu Dhabi.
2011 was marked with equal parts sadness and joy with our goodbyes to the UAE and all the friends we'd made there, but a great hello as the USA welcomed us back into the fold and showed us the many splendors of Portland, ME, a place that, to this day, I am deeply in love with. No more Arab markets and five star holidays; just lobster shacks and trips to the Eastern promenade in the car with my sidekick Roman, and proximity to family - which felt like a breath of fresh air after more than four years abroad.
2012 was readjustment and reverse culture shock: loving Maine but suddenly feeling that we somehow didn't quite fit in with our American counterparts, looks from people wondering why we'd ever choose to live in the Middle East, questions about just-strange-enough diction and endless nostalgia for the life abroad we swore we were ready to end, but actually kind of missed. Halfway through the year we moved to Denver, and that half of the year flew by in a blur of readjustment and, finally (!), adoption paperwork.
2013 was particularly patchy. It was a tough, stressful year for us as we fully settled into yet another new city and hunkered down into the quietly-but-intensely difficult reality of waiting to adopt a child. On the other hand, we made wonderful friendships in Denver and found ourselves in perhaps the most hospitable neighborhood - Stapleton - we'd ever lived in. By November, two painful, failed adoption matches later, we'd decided to buy a house. And then, as fate would have it, Alexander came. And his adoption was finalized on the same day we signed on our house. All of this left precious little time or desire to blog although I still came back to it when my heart felt it needed a little something that was just mine.
As we start 2014 I have several goals - the first, with a newborn and 4-year-old, being survival in a happy, healthy kind of way. The second is to be more consistent in posting on Aesthetic Dalliances, and even slightly more thematic. I will be trying out lots of soup recipes on here, for one. I have also joined a couple of knitting groups in Denver and have completed some projects I want to share. Once the dust storm of my life has truly settled, maybe I'll even get back to watercoloring. Oh, and stay tuned for our grand return to Vacationland on our first-ever beach-cottage vacation as a family in August. :)
So, life is different, but not all that different. And, mostly, it is good in all the same and a couple of new-but-welcome ways. In the end, it's still just little old me with a little old blog.
As in 2009, I'll close with another quote by Rilke, one of my favorite poets, whose words do encapsulate one of my lifelong goals, and express a thought that seems particularly apt as we move into another exciting new year:
"The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things."
Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke
I sure hope so.