Things I Did in 2019 that Surprised Me

This won’t be the typical end-of-year roundup blog post. I’m not going to talk about all the things I accomplished or all the things I wanted to accomplish but didn’t. Instead, I’m going to focus on the things I did in 2019 that – when the year started – I had no idea I would be doing.

First – the things I did professionally…

1. Was interviewed on six podcasts.

This surprised me because I actually stepped out of my comfort zone this year to reach out to podcast hosts to pitch myself as a guest. The mere fact that I actually did it surprised me and has encouraged me to continue to pitch myself to podcasts in 2020.

2. Taught groups of college students.

For many years, I’ve focused on leading workshops for adults. This year, I co-taught a seminar to a group of journalism students in Hamburg, and I was a guest lecturer on the topic of online branding for a group of college students in Berlin. And it was fun!

3. Led my first full-day workshop on-site at a client’s office.

As I mentioned, I’ve had many years of experience leading workshops for groups. This year, I led my first 1-on-1 workshop with a client about the text and branding for her business websites. It was very exciting to go through the process of planning the workshop with her and then to spend an entire day working with her on the textual branding elements that should be included.

4. Traveled internationally for business.

Many years ago, when I was Director of Marketing and Outreach for a trade association in Washington, DC, international travel was fairly common for me. Then I left my 9-to-5 job to be a work-at-home-mom for several years, which is when I started my freelancing business. Here I am, 14 years later, and in my part-time job as Head of Communications for Hostwriter, I was able to travel not only around Germany, but also to Italy and Poland. I don’t think I want to go back to the same schedule I had when I worked in DC, but now I am remembering that traveling for work can actually be fun.

Next – the things I did in my non-work life…

5. Drank Guinness in Dublin.

A family trip brought me to Ireland for the first time in my life, and I had the chance to see the actual Guinness brewery and to drink a pint (or two) in some of the great pubs in Dublin.

6. Recorded an audio essay for a Berlin radio station.

I’ve written poetry since I was in my twenties, but over the past few years, I’ve been writing more essays and fiction. This year, I was very excited to have one of my essays accepted for broadcasting on KCRW – the National Public Radio affiliate in Berlin. It was the first time I was on the radio since my days as a college DJ back in the ’80s.

7. Spent 4 days driving (well, passenger-ing) in the Alps with my family.

I never expected to be on a car trip that involved driving through the Alps for 4 white-knuckled days! But despite all the acrophobia, the breathtaking views and jaw-dropping snow-capped peaks were definitely worth it. As was the amazing Thai restaurant we had dinner at in Liechtenstein.

8. Watched my daughter play an international hockey tournament in France.

At the end of the above-mentioned car trip, my daughter played on the Germany Selects ice hockey team at the World Selects Invitational in Chamonix, France. This was definitely something we had hoped she would be selected for, but we did not find out until after the year had started that she was actually going to play in the tournament.

9. Visiting the birthplace of some of my ancestors in Poland with my parents.

My mother and father came to Berlin for a visit over the summer, and we took a few days to drive to the town of Borzęcin, in Poland. My father had found records specifying this town as the place of the baptisms of his own ancestors on his father’s side. While we were unable to talk to anyone at the church to fill in some of the missing information on the family tree, it was an amazing experience to be able to locate and walk around the town.

Who knows what experiences await me in 2020! Some of the experiences will be ones I create for myself, some will be complete surprises. One thing is for sure, I am looking forward to the 365-day journey.