Year in Review

When I was thinking about how to make some sort of coherent sense of all that went down in 2k12, I came across this little gem, courtesy of the fine people at StoryPeople.

new year

Looking back, 2012 was simultaneously one of the best and worst years of my life. During January, I added a third job to my schedule, ran mile after mile around DC, and navigated the nuances of winter biking…in a pencil skirt. Let’s just say it required quick reflexes and no shame. February had me still working, running, and biking, and I was far less happy than I wanted to admit. Whenever someone asked me what I was doing around this time, I would snidely reply that I was “living the post-grad dream” in one of my favorite cities, but with a career that was going nowhere, and it was getting there pretty quickly.

Then came March. I got a Fulbright, ran a half marathon, and  made a pit stop in Wisconsin to met Genene and Behailu. The Month That Restored My Faith in 2012 Award officially goes to March.

fbright

half marathon

If March affirmed my faith in 2012, then April and May were where that sentiment went to first die and then get repeatedly run over and beaten with a stick. In April, I lied every single time I said I was happy or fine, and May started with an impossible work schedule and a constant stomachache and ended with me crying in places including, but definitely not limited to; a dentist chair, the National Mall, my boss’ office, and the bathroom of the P Street Whole Foods.

In June, I finally said sayonara to most of corporate America and got a little bit of my life back, played some kickball on the National Mall, ate my body’s weight in frozen yogurt with new and old friends alike, and was reminded that summer in the District of Columbia means discovering just how much each of one’s body parts is capable of sweating. I left DC in July after a whirlwind three weeks of storms, power outages, T-Ber quality time, and bed/couch-hopping around the city (far less scandalous than it sounds, I promise). Even after being put through the proverbial wringer for much of the previous six months, I did not want to leave the city. For all of the hellish moments, I really loved who I was when I was living in DC, and I wouldn’t trade 75% of my time there for anything.

After leaving DC, I got to spend a glorious long weekend in Iowa, reuniting with my friends from college as well as my favorite food from college. Being in Decorah always reminds me of who I want to be when I grow up, not career-wise, but person-wise. When I was at Luther, I operated with the determined mindset that I would do everything I could there so that I could go as far away as I wanted–but Nordic Fest made me think for a few seconds that I could maybe be just as happy if I end up somewhere similar to that special little corner of Northeast Iowa.

Downtown Decorah, from Google Images. Photographer: Richard Wong.

August got off to a rough start, but once I made it to Marburg, I had an incredible few weeks spent among fairy-tale architecture making new friends and getting reacquainted with Germany. One of the other highlights of August was getting to go back to Münster, and traveling to new parts of Germany with the program. I loved being back in an academic mindset, and my fellow Fulbrighters were a constant source of inspiration, amusement, and most importantly, camaraderie as we all set off on our different year-long adventures that all have somewhat of a common beginning in Marburg.

I rang in my 23rd year in Munich in September, and got a crash course in how to live in Bavaria throughout October. From the beginning, I had a rougher transition to Munich than I would have liked; I had forgotten how agonizing a new city can be. I hated that I didn’t know where my favorite grocery store or restaurant was, and I was frustrated that I didn’t have the subway map memorized or know the fastest way to get anywhere. In my haste to have everything figured out, I lost sight of how exciting a new city can be.

November and December were full of the holy trinity of family, friends, and…food. From visiting Bianca in Frankfurt to making the trek across the Atlantic to see many of my favorite people, these two months were a nice springboard into 2013, and definitely a nice confirmation that a year that starts badly does not always have to end badly.

So, what’s the final verdict on 2012? Intense, but with a lot of growth experiences.

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