Here is a list of 13 things from 2008 that I didn’t write about.
1. Cancer and loneliness
At the end of 2007 my wife Tanja has been diagnosed with breast cancer. During 2008 she had two surgeries, the chemo therapy and the radio therapy. Thanks God, the latest results are now negative and she is doing well. To say that the past year was difficult — would be an understatement. Despite all of that, she was coping very well, just missing her friends and their support: they all are thousands of kilometers away (mainly in Ontario), and many times we were experiencing a bitter loneliness here in the middle of the Prairies. Nevertheless, her courage and determination to win was really admirable!
[I was reluctant to write about this, maybe because of coming from a different culture where, traditionally, you don't talk too much about personal difficulties or, maybe, because I just wasn't able to find the right words for it -- but then I discovered, almost by accident, that for example, my compatriot, the famous copywriter Michel Fortin has been through the same hardship together with his wife. Knowing that others are in a similar situation doesn't realy make it easier... but seeing how proudly one can praise a wife that battles with the cancer I felt that I have to do it.]
2. Year end in Cuba
To celebrate the finally good news about Tanja being free of cancer — we spent the New Year’s Eve (and a week around it) in Cuba, in Varadero. We booked a luxurious apartment in Paradisus Princesa del Mar and decided to get pampered a little bit… because we deserved it after all we went through during the year.
Cuba, especially our visit to Havana, was an exciting experience. I am still planning to write about it. It was one of my obsessions: to see Cuba before Castro dies. I am afraid after that it will be just a US colony… with all the hotel and fast food chains that are not there now.
3. Farewell from the WP forum
I am no more a moderator in the WordPress forums and I do not visit that site anymore to post anything. No more comment on that.
4. Internet Marketing (IM) adventures
On different new web sites I have started to experiment with some Internet Marketing stuff. Despite what all those guru websites say about “just click here and start earning money” — this is not an easy way to maintain a steady income from online sales (or affiliate sales). Still working on it, and if you want to find out more about my first big adventure, just download my Pension Report using the form at the top right.
5. Trip to Transylvania
At the end of October I visited my birth place, the legendary land of Transylvania. Years ago, in a chat room, somebody thought I was “joking” saying that I was born in Transylvania. It took me a while to explain that all the Dracula stuff is a big BS but the land itself — the land ‘beyond the forest’ (Latin: trans-sylvania; sylva=forest) does exist.
For those that missed the history lessons: Transylvania today is located in NW Romania, Eastern Europe.
6. Mom’s 80th birthday
The timing of my visit to my home town was around my mother’s 80th birthday on November 5. Considering her age and what you can statistically expect in those parts of the world, she is doing really well, although she had a small accident since I returned from there. Now a cousin of mine, one of her goddaughters is taking care of her.
7. My son visiting us
Even before my travel to Transylvania, my son Ivan visited us here in Winnipeg. He lives and works in North Carolina, and this was his first visit to the Prairies. Unfortunately, it happened to be a very rainy and windy weekend… but even if we couldn’t enjoy the outdoors in Winnipeg, we had a lot of time to sit together and talk. It was good. If you didn’t know, he is a programmer, and he introduced me to the world of the internet!
8. Tai Chi
Since the beginning of July we started to attend Tai Chi (more exactly, the Taoist Tai Chi). First it was just an “appetizer” summer course and it did the job: we really liked the taste of it, so after that we signed up for the structured beginner classes, and in January this year we both ‘graduated’ the course that teaches the 108 moves.
I have no words to describe my admiration for Tanja who was still in the midst of her chemotherapy when we started the courses… and she didn’t miss a class during her radiotherapy either! (And yes, except the short breaks for the surgeries, she has been working all the time!)
9. Buying a Mac
My good friend Joel went to teach English (ESL) in Japan and before leaving I bought his Mac computer. I upgraded it a little bit: added more memory and bigger HD. Still learning how to work with the Mac, but I like it. Next thing to change: get a wheel mouse for the Mac because I got so used to it on my PC that I can’t scroll anymore without a wheel…
An interesting event from January this year: on the same week I managed to crash both my PC and the Mac. Some would say it was a sign to reconsider working on/with computers…
10. Bought a video camcorder
In November I bought a cute little video recorder for my wife’s birthday, a JVC Everio. One day I might post even some videos on this blog, who knows.
11. Nikon D60 — the birthday gift
Before that, she bought me a Nikon D60 digital camera for my birthday. (Actually, I wrote about this in my Hungarian blog where I post sporadically…)
I should install a gallery script/plugin and show some of the really good pictures I have taken with this new camera.
12. The grass is not growing
Despite my own efforts duplicated by two different landscaping/gardening companies (or is that already “tripled”?) — the grass on the front yard and in the back yard didn’t want to grow as I expected. I was quite unhappy with the sloppy job these guys did but I didn’t want to write about it right away because I was too angry. I was afraid I would get myself in legal troubles for name-calling and similar sins, so… forget it.
13. Nabokov republished
I have translated Vladimir Nabokov’s The Defense from Russian into Hungarian — many years ago and it has been published in 1990. To my greatest surprise I discovered last summer that the book has been re-published for the “Week of the Books” in Budapest, with a new cover and some minor changes. Later I learned that the Europa Publishing House tried to find me to do the revision but nobody knew I was in Canada. Even bigger surprise: when I contacted them just to let them know I am alive… they immediately offered to pay the royalties. (Since it is a reprint, it wasn’t a big sum, so I told them to send it over to Transylvania.) [there is also a post about this in my Hungarian blog]
Why 13? — Maybe because I was born on the thirteenth.
Well, some of the items above might even explain why so few postings during the last year. Besides my innate laziness…
It’s not a promise but I will try to post more often in the future.