December: 2011 in Review

I’ve tried really  hard to put a 2012 countdown ticker on this blog, but after exploring several options, I think my time will be better spent trying to beat the clock getting in my December update. By the time I figure out the whole ticker thing, it’ll probably be 2012 anyway…maybe next year.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little summary of 2011 for this month since it is a general theme in bloggers to do a year’s recap of what went on, but first. However, if you’ve been following, you’ll know about almost everything in the recap. So, first, here is what happened in this past month. It was a doozy of a month!

Probably the biggest thing that happened all month happened in the very beginning. Oren proposed to me on December 7, 2011. We’ve told the story about 500,000 times already, but why not immortalize it on the internet? This year, December 7 was a Wednesday, smack in the middle of a very hectic week. I had my choir concert the night before and a dress rehearsal the night before that. (I’m SO glad that is over…if you need to know which choir NOT to join in New York City, send me a message.) So anyway, we were sitting in our apartment enjoying the first calm moment to ourselves all week–we were just relaxing together, happy in each other’s company–and Oren decided that it was a special moment. So he sneakily extracted the ring out of its super-secret hiding place (inside a lamp…) and got down on one knee right there in our apartment.

I posted a picture of the ring on the blog already, but here it is again:

An example of Orens excellent taste

PS. I do not have a manicure in this picture–it’s the light…and also the amazing care I have been taking of my nails since I got two manicures and they started to disintegrate. Lame. No more nail polish for me. Toenail polish is a completely different story. Anyway…tangent over.

Oren and I have decided to take our time with planning the wedding, so we haven’t set a date yet. We’re just going to enjoy being engaged and finish up going to school. Oren will start working in Fall 2012 also, so it’d be great to let him get into the swing of working as a high school physics teacher without the logistics and general craziness of a wedding thrown into the mix (plus, another salary’s savings wouldn’t go amiss. Wedding are costly!!!)

Since the proposal, even though we haven’t been planning any wedding, it feels like we haven’t had a quiet moment. There were all the people to tell and celebrations to be had. Chanukah parties, family brunches, lots of congratulations, good lucks and mazel tov’s. The end of the year isn’t a calm time, generally, anyway, so I guess a busy state of affairs is also a normal one.

Our birthdays are also in December. Mine is on December 4th and Oren’s is the 12th. For mine, Oren took me to the Chocolate World Expo in Secaucus. It was more like a local trade show with lots of sellers of pastry, chocolate and other generally delicious things. For Oren’s birthday, we went into New York on what turned out to be the day of Santa Con–a day in which lots of people dress up as Santa Claus (or associates) and go bar hopping. An interesting concept. After an afternoon and evening of seeing friends, we went home tired but happy.

The rest 0f December I spent between the gym, which was an excellent decision, and seeing old friends who were in town for the holidays.

Now, the 2011 recap with a focus on travel…which is the point, after all. I’m going to include a picture or two for every month…but in the interest of getting this finished and spending the last couple hours of the year with my fiancé, I’ll put the pictures in later. Here we go:

| January |

Turkey was the main event of January. I went to take a graduate course in Intercultural Education. Like most learning experiences, the real-life aspect of it was more valuable than the classroom experience. I had two, wonderful, Turkish host families and got to know another country, albeit briefly.

| February |

February brought a trip to San Diego, California for a work conference, where I made some unforgettable friends. We were fortunate to reunite periodically over the year, but I’m sure we’ll never forget our precious hours biking/roller blading between conference sessions. Also, I got to spend time with my cousin, Chelsea and her devilishly handsome son, Kellen. It was wonderful to catch up–I only wish we’d had more time together.

Also in February, Oren and I were visited by my Aussie sister, Nicola. Nix found herself in California for an Architecture excursion with her university and made a special trip across the country. She and I ventured into New York and Philly, among other places.

 | March |

Another fascinating conference in March, this time in Washington DC, where I met colleagues and friends from all over the world! Among the countries represented were Ghana, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bahrain, and MANY more.

| April |

A trip Southward to Puerto Rico was on the menu in April. I was lucky to be able to go and visit family with  my parents. We ate some seriously delicious food and generally had a relaxing time without much Internet or cell phone reception. Dad found my iPhone to be useful on that trip in terms of making plans. It’s certainly proved its worth this year.

| May |

Moving Month! While I was in Puerto Rico, Oren found us our dream apartment! Well…it’s our dream apartment for this stage in our lives. It’s huge, cheaper than our own apartment, closer to New York and in a wonderfully walkable town. We had a group of nine people helping us move into our apartment. Andrés, Molly, Oren’s parents, his younger brother, and my parents all pitched in to drive cars, unload trucks and brave the four flights of stairs. Those stairs keep us fit, I tell you.

| June/July |

Major travels spanned June and July this year. I went first to Washington DC to help with an end-of-exchange orientation. Then I helped chaperone a group of Malaysian exchange students back to Malaysia at the end of their program. After that I stayed on in Malaysia for a homestay in Penang, where I learned all about Malaysian education, and then to Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with some US and Malaysian colleagues. It was one of the most interesting places ever…amazing food too!

| August |

Since August is one of the busiest months for work, it was all hands on deck for that time. Oren and I spent the sweltering days kind of getting our apartment in order…but more often than not, we were to be found retreating into the one air conditioned space in the apartment and doing everything there. Fourth floor means HOT summers since heat rises to the top. I spent some time running around to airports shepherding exchange students around to get them to their host families.

| September |

Oren started student teaching in September, marking the penultimate semester of his graduate studies. We attended a wonderful engagement party for John and Meaghan, who will be getting married next year. There seems to have been a lot of cooking in September, since all my pictures are of food. I joined a choir and made a friend, which made the whole, harrowing experience at least a little worthwhile. Also, Oren and I went to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette.

| October |

I’ll still summarize even though October is very well-documented. The end of the month found me jetting off to California for a vacation visiting old friends, then making a quick 180 to jet off to Italy for another work conference where I made lots of wonderful new friends and saw some old ones too.

| November |

I kicked off November with my first cold of the winter. Awesome. But the month turned itself around with a trip to Ohio to see my lovely friends from the conference in San Diego (remember February?), followed closely by Thanksgiving. Seeing the whole family, including the new family I have gained from my older brother’s marriage, was a real treat. I also started my first 365 Project, which has kept my blog active.

| December |

Birthday, engagement, birthday, Chanukah, Christmas & New Year’s Federal Holidays, hiking, and pictures, of course.

| Looking Ahead |

I don’t know that much about 2012 yet, but I do know there are some weddings lined up. At the end of summer, my cousin is getting married in San Diego, then a week later, my brother is having his wedding in France. Two weeks after that, John and Meaghan will tie the knot and then we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief. I’ll resume my graduate studies (long-distance) in mid-January and Oren and I will both finish in May. Then Oren will start working in September. That’s quite a year even without the unknown elements that will surely reveal themselves in due course.

Should be exciting. Be sure to check back here for pictures! Happy New Year, everyone!


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