First off, I'm officially Wandering Bean, ABD (All But Dissertation). The big event in the Fall of 2012 was studying for my PhD comprehensive exams, and subsequently passing them! It was exhausting, tear inducing and an experience I never have to go through every again.
This also means that I've started the dissertation writing phase of my career, and ohgoodness, is it way harder than I ever anticipated. It's just so much bigger than I could have ever pictured. It's also oddly enjoyable since I get to do two of my favorite things-reading and writing. And it's a very good thing that I like reading and writing because dissertating means you do both of those things. A lot. All the time.
I also got to teach my own course for my university for the first time. It was a course on travel literature, and it was a really fantastic experience. I am anxiety disorder ridden and when I first started teaching, couldn't even think of entering a classroom without medication. It is now second nature to me, and that never fails to surprise me.
I did a bunch of traveling as well with several trips to Florida to visit family, and a trip to Napa Valley to celebrate my birthday in March. I could happily live in either state.
Finally, I received two grants from my university for study and research so I'm going to be spending the next few months living in Florence, Italy and Moscow, Russia for my dissertation research. In fact, I leave in 12 days, which is shocking, overwhelming and scary. I have a ton to do before I leave. I'm really excited that I get to spend extended time in each place.