19th-century French leather-bound books and a single, perfect rose.
So goodbye 2013 and not a minute too soon! Because you have knocked us for six. You've brought scary challenges we never wanted and required strength beyond measure. You've put ugly obstacles in our paths and scuppered our best-laid plans. You've caused anger and resentment and chaos and exposed worry and dread. Many of our best and brightest are gone too soon. You've made us re-examine our dreams and question the reasons for optimism.
Still, I personally should thank you for all the super-annoying lessons: for the ambulance-lights-flashing wake-up calls and being forced to improvise, time and time again. For traversing complicated bureaucracy in two languages (one which I don't yet speak). For the reminder that when confronted with conniving charlatans - who steal my work and threaten my livelihood - I can fight back. (And right is might). For requiring a laser-like focus on priorities of good health, family and friends. For the proof that no matter the challenge and accompanying uncertainty, we can rely on limitless reserves of inner strength. Love is stronger than fear.
For these important lessons, I salute you, 2013. Now go away and leave us in peace!