In honor of the changing years, it’s time to say goodbye to 2013.
If you recall, 2013 was not predicted to be a great year for me, both by the “normal” zodiac and by the Chinese calendar. I was offered this advice: “Embrace neutral!” “Be patient and wait for 2014!” “You may have a couple of good months in the summer, but otherwise things will be difficult!”
Much to my mother’s dismay*, it was surprisingly accurate.
*she would have you know that horoscopes are evil.
That’s not to say I didn’t have some wonderful moments in 2013, because I did, but it certainly was a trying time filled with extreme uncertainty and various forms of loss: I uprooted myself, changed careers—from something solid and respectable to something unsteady and “menial,” I said goodbye to friends, went months without seeing my family, and was forced to let go of a relationship I’ve held onto for years.
However! At the other end of all of that personal difficulty (and let’s be honest, I’m not battling war crimes or starvation, so it’s not like I have much going on on the grand scale of “challenges”), I came out as a stronger and better person. Like gold! I started out in the bed of a river, was sifted out through a pile of muck, thrown into a furnace and melted, and now I’m a nice piece of jewelry**.
**my expert analysis of gold refinement
Here’s a look at the highlights of 2013: Thirteen Pictures from 2013
1. January: My dear friend Caroline and I started the New Year in Colorado. I forgot my New Year’s Eve dress and had to create an outfit using Caroline’s clothes and Ana’s closet. We explored Denver, visited Boulder (pictured below), and drove to Vail, eating amazing food and hot chocolate along the way. We met up with Ryan, and his memorable friend who flipped Caroline off and parted with the words, “I’d say this has been fun, but it hasn’t,” and saw the Elusive Gitae (who took this picture). I then contracted a high fever, ruining our plans of the brewery tour, but I powered through to watch the A&M game and take honorary kick-off tequila shots.
2. February: My dad gave me the best possible Valentine’s Day gift, a year’s supply of my favorite flavor of gum. You can read about the tragic day when I realized this flavor was discontinued, The Gum Crisis (and my governmental conspiracy theory), and because of that blog, my dad found and bought out an entire grocery store’s remaining stock.
It has successfully lasted me a year (though there will be a memorial, a blog, and many shed tears when I open my last pack).
3. March- I created my own “Roswell Death March,” in which I walked 26 miles to commemorate the Bataan Death March, a memorial marathon I’ve wanted to participate in for years but for which I missed the sign-up date. Granted, the route I created passed by my parents’ house four times to maximize food consumption and bathroom breaks, but I still battled a dust storm and pain and experienced anguish for my hips and feet.
I took this picture on the last mile of my journey. It seemed promising: buds of new life, the color white, sunlight streaming through the branches. Beauty beheld through pain.
4. April– I not only have a thing about horoscopes, I also have a thing about daily devotional calendars. I believe they offer pertinent motivational quotes and sound advice. This one (below) was new, I believe it was also a Valentine’s Day gift, but I didn’t start reading it until April. That was the month I was in serious deliberation and confusion about my life, and I wasn’t sure if I should plan a last-minute trip to Rhode Island to “feel it out.”
The day after I booked my plane tickets, I found this:
5. May: The end of the school year. It was bittersweet because I had survived a year at the Institution, which also happened to be my first year as a full-time teacher, and my first year teaching English, but it was also my last year teaching (at least for now). During the final week of classes, I made all of my students take a picture with me (except the college kids, mostly because I got distracted with writing poems), and I love and miss them. Even Spencer, who wrote depressing stories about orphans and who insisted on making a face of disgust while being photographed. Whenever they find me on Facebook and write me notes, it makes my heart happy.
6. June- As predicted by my horoscope, around June or July I would “take a trip” and that would offer me my “two good months” of the year. I most certainly took a trip, and it began with my driving tour across America and then flying to London, where I ran into this familiar friend. He gave me the best Pre-Valentine’s Day when I was in New Zealand, and we met again in his home country. He said things like “rubbish” and “wanker” and he took me to meet his family, who made me my first-ever Boxing Day Dinner (which is something we ironically talked about on the day before Valentine’s Day in New Zealand.) Life is a circle, eh?
7. June – It was a busy month, so it gets two pictures. I actually didn’t know which European picture to include because I wanted to pick one from Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands, but I decided to go with this one of Taryn and me on the Cliffs of Moher. During our whirlwind trip through Ireland (which you can read about here, here, and here), Taryn and I stopped at the iconic Cliffs of Moher and took a thousand photos, half of which involve us doing yoga poses near the edge. I instead chose this photo instead because I like my readers to note that I am a really big dork.
8. July– The month of my birth was an eventful one. I was stranded (but joyfully so) in New York City without my luggage for a week, and I got caught running in a monsoon in Central Park. I spent the 4th of July in New Hampshire (well, Norwich, VT, actually) wearing clothes I bought with American Airlines voucher money, and I spent my birthday avoiding the Craigs-list killer in RI and eating dinner at my favorite restaurant in Hanover. Because of my fruitful endeavor of finding a cat-sitting gig, I made the tentative move to Rhode Island. July was a busy month because I wasn’t sure if I’d be taking up permanent residency in RI, or if I’d be moving to Chicago and then heading overseas, or if I’d be working in Boston, so during a moment of “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING,” I decided to go down to Newport and hike the Cliff Walks. There are tons of mansions built along the sea, one of which boasts millions of dollars of imported Italian marble, but my favorite part of the walk is this bridge. It was like seeing an old friend, and it made me feel like Rhode Island was a place in which I would be happy to stay. “Love is Life.” How can you say no to that?
9. August– I decided to stay in Rhode Island, and I joined Match.com (for three days), Meetup.com, and harassed people I knew, however, remotely, in Rhode Island in an effort to make a friend network. I interviewed for jobs and, in the face of unemployment, visited the beach quite often. One of the things on my Rhode Island bucket list that I hadn’t checked off yet was visiting Block Island. On my first trip (pictured below), I met a great group of people, ate amazing gelato, and was offered my current job. It was one of my happiest days, so it gets a photo.
10. September– I started my job two days before I requested time off. I’m notorious for making a good first impression. The reason I needed time off, however, was because my friend offered to take me to the US Open, the Final Game, Nadal vs. Djokovic, and there was no way I was passing up the opportunity. Besides: New York City? Great food? Greek guys? The fake proposal plan? It turned out to be a memorable weekend.
11. October– Halloween is my second favorite holiday to Christmas. I never have good costume ideas, but I pair up with people who do, like this year when my friend Nuisha suggested we be Dia de Los Muertos people (Day of the Dead). I didn’t have to swear and scandalous outfit or heels, and I didn’t even have to look pretty–just dead–so I agreed. It turned out to be a great idea, and even though we showed up to the party an hour before it ended, it was totally worth it.
12. November– Living in Rhode Island has several advantages, one of which is attending concerts. I saw some of my favorite artists, like NeedtoBreathe and Big Daddy Weave (I didn’t say “artists everyone will recognize,” which is partly why I’m terrible at music trivia). A big crew of folks, many of whom I’d met on Block Island, went to the concert, but not many stayed afterwards to take pictures with the artists. I, however, was resolute in staying because 1. I’d bought merchandise, so I wasn’t leaving without signatures, and 2. I was determined to talk to Chris August, who woo’d me during his acoustic guitar playing and rendition of “A Whole New World.” I like to think that Chris and I hit it off, meaning he hasn’t yet blocked me from tagging him on Instagram and Twitter, and let’s be honest: this is just a really cute picture of us.
13. December– After my journey across American and the Atlantic Ocean, I was more than ready to go home for the holidays to visit Mom, Dad, Makai, and the new rodent-sized dog they acquired. It was so nice to be back where I received home-cooked meals and was pampered like the true adult I am. In addition, I ate a lot of Mexican food, saw friends I didn’t expect to see (including my BFF who now lives in Germany), and went skiing on a lovely sunny day. It was a wonderful end to a year that wasn’t supposed to be that wonderful, and I have to say: I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and found something to be thankful for this year. Cheers to being done with the Year of the Snake, and here’s to a great 2014.
Happy New Year!