25 years and still going strong

It might be hard to believe, but it seems like I made it through another year in this world, and, as tradition nowadays dictates, I’m going to write about what has happened since last time I celebrated this annual anniversary. It seems to be the case every year, but this one also brought a lot of important changes to my life and more than ever I’m on my way somewhere. I might not have a clearly defined goal in life, but I’m on my way there anyway and I feel like I’m going in the right direction (if not geographically, then in a more abstract meaning of the word).

As I predicted last year, this time it will be much easier for English-speaking people to follow what’s happened, because it’s all in English instead of a confusing blend of two languages. Below, I’ve roughly sorted what’s happened into a few categories, but within each category, chronology should be consistent.To get a more detailed overview, please check the following monthly reports:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
January

Personal
On the personal front, a lot of things has happened. The beginning of the year mostly progressed in a predictable manner, except for the lurking possibility of going abroad to study Chinese, which I also did last September (see my Taiwan category for more text than anybody could possible be interested in reading). It’s hard to tell what kinds of effects this has on my personality, but it’s definitely humbling to be a foreigner in another country and immerse myself in an ancient culture completely different from what I’m used to. Here, I also met Vanessa, who means a lot to me and who has affected my way of thinking about many different aspects of life.

My moving to Taiwan has also brought a lot into focus at home, especially the importance of family and friends. I’m not actively missing home, but with thousands of kilometres between myself and my home in Sweden, I realise how much certain people mean to me. For the most part, this is a good thing, though, and I’ve never regretted going to Taiwan. If I planned to stay here forever, then it might be a bit sad, but I’ve no plans to do that yet.

Physical
To be honest, for the most part, my physical activities remain the same, although I was forced to stop diving for almost five months due to the lack of a diving pool where I lived last semester (this has changed, though). I have continued exploring the world of bodyweight exercises and hand-balancing, and even though I think I’m fitter now than ever, I can feel no qualitative changes. I’m very satisfied with this part of my life now and intend to continue in such a spirit.

I’ve also added a few new hobbies, such as unicycling, juggling and volleyball, even if all three of them can be considered to be put on ice at the moment.

Education
It’s still Chinese and not much else on the menu. Of ourse, I always try to educate myself whenever possible, but more than last year, language studies have been in focus. Through a series of proficiency reports (1, 2, 3, 4) I’ve tried to describe my gradual learning of Chinese, and even though I still have a long way to go, I’ve reached a level where I can talk with people here about most things I find interesting, albeit in a somewhat limited fashion.

Apart from that, I continue using English, which is useful for my future career in many ways. Not only am I now used to writing in English, but I’ve also had the opportunity to teach English both privately and in a small class. The biggest advantage with this is that it proves yet again that teacher of some sort is what I want to be, because I really enjoy it!

Creativity
Although a lot happened last year, I produced little in way of creative writing. Sure, I have my novel going and Magneter och mirakel is much closer to completion than it was a year ago, but I’m still far from done with any of these projects. However, seeing three projects in print still makes me proud, even though they were mainly the result of work put in earlier.

In addition to this, Antioch has officially been shut down, and since it’s been a great channel for creative output over the years, I anticipate some sort of building up of energy that I plan to use on the projects mentioned above.

Media
I looked back on last year’s reviews and found, to my surprise, that no books and no films managed to acquire the highest grade of five snails (last year I listed four books). Out of 53 books and 29 films reviewed, this seems a bit odd, although I’ve come across quite a few works that have been close to earning five snails. All these are highly recommended, although it pains me a little that none reaches all the way.

For books: The Cat in the Hat, Three Men in a Boat, Look to Windward, Oryx and Crake, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and, finally, Snow.

For films:  Citizen Kane, Memento, The Manchurian Candidate and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Apart from this, I’ve also listened to every issue of The Economist since May last year, mostly in order to educate myself about the world and to improve my English. I spend roughly five hours on this every week and so far I think it’s worth it; it’s become an integral part of my weekly routine.

Online
Apart from the shutting down of Antioch mentioned above, I’ve also withdrawn almost completely from Rollspel.nu, a Swedish role-playing site I was heavily involved with earlier. My online activities are nowadays mostly limited to chatting with friends, research and studying.

Regarding this website, nothing important has changed, although something is on the way. The site looks and functions roughly the same way now as it did a year ago. However, I have launched another blog to improve my Chinese writing ability. I have also written one fairly serious article entitled In the Country of the Blind, describing in detail my near blindness on one eye.

General
Arriving in Taiwan, it dawned on me that the 101-in-1001 list was impractical and stupid (the list itself isn’t bad, but the combination of a serious project and studying abroad is). I’m here to learn Chinese and a lot of things on the list would mean that I have to focus on something I might as well do in Sweden. The project is put on hold. I still completed a number of items, most importantly a spontaneous marathon, which I’m still proud of. To replace the 101-in-1001 list, I decided to create a project page, along with continuing the system of monthly reports.

Epilogue
My moving to Taiwan and all that this entails is by far the most important thing that has happened to me this year. Many other things have of course also had impact on my life, but compared to studying abroad, they are all minuscule in scale. It is as yet unclear what the future holds in this regard; only time can tell. Overall, it’s been a good year in almost every regard. I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Happy birthday to me…

…and there was much rejoicing!

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  1. Nick’s avatar

    ?????, Olle! Looking at your accomplishments, it’s surprising that you’re only 25.

    Reply

  2. Svante’s avatar

    Gratis hest! Hoppas nästa år blir lika bra som det här.

    Reply

  3. Xhakhal’s avatar

    Grattis hesten :D

    Reply

  4. Storebror med familj’s avatar

    Grattis på födelsedagen önskar fam Gunnarsson!
    Vi saknar dig och oavsett hur länge du blir kvar så hoppas vi att få se dig snart.

    Olle jag vill på din 25-årsdag passa på att säga att jag som din storebror är stolt över dig. Stolt över hur du är och hur du förverkligar dina mål i livet. Jag tänker på dig då och då dagligen men inte av oro utan mer vad du gör och hur din dag varit. Nora har pga din inspiration lärt sig att stå på händer (mot vägg) samt att hjula (på riktigt). Hon pratar om att hon ska visa dig när du kommer hem. Vi saknar dig!

    Storebror och familj

    Reply

  5. Olle Linge’s avatar

    Nick: Thanks, man. Good luck with your project!

    Svante: Det dröjer tyvärr till 2014 innan det är hestens år här, men man kan ju ändå hoppas att året blir bra i alla fall. :) Tack!

    Xhakhal: Tack!

    Storebror och familj: Åh, vad glad jag blir! Hälsa Nora att jag är stolt över henne. :) Jag saknar er också, speciellt de tillfällen då vi alla träffas när någon fyller år och så, men det finns förhoppningsvis tid för mycket sådant i framtiden! Kram!

    Reply

  6. Alva’s avatar

    Dags för Snigel att komma hem till Sverige tycker jag och fira sin födelsedag – ska vi inte återuppta traditionen att ordna megakalas ihop :) Det har ju varit asbra de senaste massor åren att göra så :) Och jag har inte haft party för vännerna än, bara familjen. I sommar kanske, vad sägs?

    /Alva som skolkar från att plugga lin.alg. till tentan imorn och läser på snigel.nu istället..

    Reply

  7. Olle Linge’s avatar

    Alva: Det tycker jag absolut! Jag hade en rätt bra födelsedag här, men det var egentligen bara Vanessa som gjorde någon grej av att jag fyllde år (jag klagar inte alltså, det var en riktigt bra födelsedag, men den var inte bra för att den var födelsedag, om du förstår vad jag menar). Att fira i sommar låter jättebra. :)

    Reply