Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009~ A look back

I would like to take a look back at a wonderful, emotional, intense, life-changing year of 2009. My sister sent me a new calendar for a Christmas present, and I always transfer my birthdays’ and special events to the new and upcoming calendar, while reflecting on the year passed. After taking a look through the past 12 months, I think I am a completely different person from where I was 365 days ago. I know that I am “jumping the gun” in terms of looking back at the previous year (seeing how it is not New Years yet), however, now is the time for reflection, so here I go:

To ring in the New Year of 2009…. I was in Australia with Amy (which I am proud to say we will be spending New Years together AGAIN in Dublin)! Although I had been to London and Paris by myself two summers ago, going to Australia was one of the first trips that I considered “independent” in terms of planning where we were going to stay and what we wanted to see. Going to Australia was definitely a trip of a lifetime, and I will remember it for years to come!

One year ago I was applying for Teach for America, 100% sure that if I was accepted, I was going to do it. It’s crazy how things change.

In February of 2009, it was officially my “last” first day of college. Senior Year. The memorable 2009 brought on a lot of lasts, and a lot of firsts.

In March of 2009, I “quit” RA. Unsuccessfully. However, in the grand scheme of things, I am glad I stuck with it. Even though people in res-life pissed me off to the max, it was my best of friends and cheery residents who kept me smiling. I am still so grateful I was an RA for 2 years, which is how I made some of my best memories!

In March, Benji passed away. I still cannot say his name without crying. He was part of the family, and will be in my heart forever.

In April, I got waitlisted (then accepted) for Teach for America, and simultaneously got a job offer to become an au-pair. You all know how that story ended…

In May of 2009, I graduated. When I walked off that stage, 4 years was over. It is now just one fond memory that I will keep forever.

In May of 2009 I was FINALLY able to live with my roomie: ZACH!!! We had been talking “marshmallow” for 2 years… aka our plan to be roommates, and it actually happened for the summer! He was so gracious to let me live with him!

In May of 2009 I also ran my first 26.2 miles. Running a marathon was on my bucket list, and Tasha was right there by my side for every step. I still defend that moment when saying it was one of the best feelings in the world to cross that finish line.

In May of 2009 I started saying goodbye. Friends were packing up, going to school, getting jobs, getting engaged, and moving on. Emotionally, May was the hardest month I have been through. The friends I made in college will be life-long, I have no doubt, but for now, I just miss everyone so very much.

In May of 2009 I also continued doing research with Dr. Wright, which was a hilarious and fun job, I worked with absolutely amazing people! I got the opportunity to see what it would be like to be a professor, which seems pretty sweet!

In June of 2009 I turned 22. My whole life I thought life after 21 years old just got boring. This was a huge shock for me… everyone (if they are lucky) gets older. That’s just life. I can only imagine one day when I am 40, to look back on this silly blog and wonder why the heck I ever thought 22 was old.

In June of 2009, I bought my first Mac Computer! One word: perfection.

In August of 2009, I moved to Belgium. I got off the plane without any friends in the whole country. Getting adjusted to living here has given me the confidence to put my best foot forward with all things that I do, and provided me with the hope and happiness that things will always work out. I am learning how to be reliable.

In September 2009 I joined a volleyball team and a French Class and took my first trip by myself to Paris. It was lonely, exciting, depressing, scary, thrilling, and wonderful all at the same time.

In October of 2009 I made international friends, and am absolutely thrilled! I love that I now have friends from all over the world! Go au-pairs!!!

In November and December, I missed the holidays with my family, as well as my mom and dads birthday. Some days I forget about being sad, but other days, I just cry and miss home so much. However, I know I will be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams!!! I will be leaving on the night of the 19th from Brussels, and will be traveling to Bratislava to meet up with my couchsurfing host, Petr, then will be going onto Vienna, up to Prague for Christmas with Dani, down to Budapest for a few days before I fly to London to meet up with Amy, then we are going to Dublin for New Years to celebrate 2010. We are then going to hit up Paris before returning back to the land of waffles and beer. I think it will be an eye-opening adventure, as well as a reminder of how much my family means to me and how much I will miss them.

I just enjoyed my first European snow fall today, just another small reminder of the holiday season approaching!

Well, this is my last blog until the new year, so I wish you the happiest of holiday cheer, and hope you have a fantastic December, and welcome in the new year with what matters most: family and friends! Love you and miss you all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1, 2009: Celebrating 100 Days – European Style!

Hi Friends! Well, today I have officially been living in Belgium for 100 days! I can’t believe how the time has flown by! I remember Skyping with my mom and dad the night I arrived, and I was almost in tears because I didn’t know what I was thinking, just picking up and moving away from all family and friends!!!

Well, I am now counting my blessings, and so very thankful that this really worked out! I am very happy here and have made some really fantastic international friends! All 3 children are super, and I am just embracing this opportunity to travel and gain some independence! Throughout these 100 days, I have been able to do some things I have really wanted to focus on, like photography, traveling, reading, trying new sports, and attempting to enjoy the weather and take in this totally new environment!

Here’s a brief look at the past 100 days:

The volleyball season has now ended (and we placed 1st), but my friend Louise and I all joined a rugby team! Its fun, intense, and a totally new experience! Carpe Diem!!!!

Joy has moved up 2 reading levels in school and she is still taking Disco Dance. She is in a school play ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and I am going to watch her in her final play on December 9th.

Kate has moved up 3 reading levels in school and got 40 out of 40 on her spelling test! She also takes disco dance and is involved in gymnastics, and every boy in school is in love with her!

John is still as energetic and loud as ever, but my gosh he is just as cute as can be! The whole family spoils him, but I can’t blame them, he just is a little angel (when he isn’t yelling or crying at the top of his lungs… hahaha).

Glory and Filip are the host parents, and they are super nice as well. Filip is really into sports and he showed me how to play squash. Glory is also very athletic and we have been to spin class together. Overall, it’s been a great fit so far!

Well, Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and I was not home with my family. I miss making peppermint bark, helping bake pumpkin pies, eating 4 plates of the world’s best turkey, and most importantly, sitting around the table with my mom, dad, and sister.

Two of my sorority sisters, Jessica and Vanessa, will be arriving this Friday for the weekend, and I am so excited to see them! It will be WONDERFUL!

Christmas will be rough too, but I officially have my plan for my holiday: Brussels to Bratislava, to Vienna, to Prague, to Budapest, to London, to Dublin, to possibly Paris, then back to Brussels. Of course, the one and only Amy Buchmann will be here to celebrate New Years with me! YAY! I can hardly contain my excitement!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, congratulations to Nickie for landing a fantastic job as a nurse in a brand new hospital in San Diego for the oncology unit! She is going to be the best nurse in the whole world!

As for the rest of my life here, the Christmas markets are WONDERFUL and I am taking full advantage of all the delicious food! On the whole: I am very happy and learning to just live in the moment.

I hope December greets you all happy and healthy, and I wish you a warm and cheery holiday season!

All my love,