The best night out of 2009 took place on the night of August 5. I had just returned from my PhD defense, which had taken place at Marburg university (approx. 5 hours south of Hamburg, where I live). I had travelled there like a deep sea diver on her slow, slow way up to the light, to the air. Five years of work had finally come to an end, I had achieved what oftentimes had seemed so utterly unachievable. And my husband, my love, had arranged for all of our close friends, the one’s I know will stick, the one’s we’ll share our whole lives with, to spend the night with me. To see those faces, the faces of people I love dearly, of people who have seen me laugh and cry and who have stood with me through thick and thin, knowing I had finally made it to the other end was simply breathtaking. It’s one of the most cherished memories of this year for me.