Recap 2013 and the Year Ahead

Guys, I’ve been totally avoiding writing this post.

Well, not avoiding it exactly. But I definitely needed to get through it this weekend because I have to start blogging again for school next week, and I didn’t want to start blogging for school without updating the personal stuff first. Because I have arbitrary blogging standards and school stuff is probably more boring to the majority of people reading this blog, and that is the way it is.

So here we are. I’m doing it. This post. We’re off to a stellar start.

I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself. Here is what I did in 2013 that I am super proud of, in no particular order:

  1. Built a flipping WEBSITE
    That’s right. I built a website for RARE Gallery in 2013. Technically it launched this month, but that means it was built in 2013. I’m not going to pretend I am anything but proud of myself. However, neither am I going to pretend that I didn’t have a tremendous amount of help. I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out to my kickass library classmate, website guru, and all-around stand-up guy, Chad of Chad on Data, who supported me through the process. It was a good challenge and a rewarding experience overall. I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of it, but it’s nice to know I can do it. Go check it out!
  2. Saw several friends get married
    It was an honor to be there to see my friends, Andrés and Molly, marry each other in New Jersey in June,  and my friend Kirsten marry her wonderful husband Eigo in August.
  3.  Took real vacations
    In which I actually relaxed. And saw friends. And enjoyed good food. And hung out with family. Oren and I made a vacation of going to Portland for Kirsten’s wedding, and in December we went to the Dominican Republic with Oren’s entire U.S. side of the family for some quality time. More on that anon.
  4. Left my job
    It’s not small thing to leave familiar places behind, but that is what I did. I left my job at AFS Intercultural Programs, and also my commute to New York City, behind this summer and took a chance on something that I believed would suit me much better…
  5. Started graduate school (2.0)
    So far, library school is working out really well. Sure, I was immediately slammed and overwhelmed with work right at the start of this semester…and I’m actually thinking about all of that right now, even as I’m writing this post, but so far, taking a chance on Syracuse has been a great move. Not always easy, but easy and good are not always the same. It is certainly an upgrade from my last graduate experience.
  6. Made time for knitting and crafts
    This year I attempted, and actually finished several new project. I made my Icelandic Sweater and I actually wore it in sub-zero Syracuse the other day. I made four stuffed animals that I gifted to Oren’s little cousins in December. Started two new sweaters, one of which I just entirely ripped out because it was way too big and made me look like a tent, so I’m going to make something else. I started making the flowers for my wedding out of paper. I’m sure I’ll post more about that later. And I made several gifts for people, including a t-shirt quilt, some hats, some socks, and other things that I can’t remember. And I started to really hone my crochet skills. Crafting is something I enjoy, so I am proud that I work hard to make it a part of my life.

That’s pretty darn good. 2013 brought a lot of good change. A few things I would like to highlight a little more thoroughly…and add illustrations.

The end of the fall semester came pretty quickly. I was home for Thanksgiving and Oren took me to see Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s show on Broadway. I loved it. It also happened to be the same night as the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode, which we wouldn’t have watched because we don’t have a TV. However, there was plenty of Doctor Who goodness worked in. This happened (not my video):

…and Oren and I looked like this…

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Just for reference, recording and photos were ENCOURAGED at this show. Because, AFP!!

Also during Thanksgiving Break, the majority of the women in my family and Oren’s family came together for my bridal shower, expertly organized by my mom, Oren’s mom, and Emily — my bridesmaid-in-chief. It was so much fun, and we got this picture of me, the moms and the grandmas. It was very special:

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L to R: My mom, my grandma, me, Oren’s mom, Oren’s grandma

After Thanksgiving Break I went back to Syracuse for a week of finishing up classes and a choir concert. Also I found mice in my apartment. That wasn’t fun. The mice are gone now…as far as I know.

Winter break was upon me before I knew it and it was PACKED. I’ll do a little gallery at the end for this one so this post doesn’t get completely monstrous. In sum, I completed my mandatory field work hours at my old high school and elementary school. The generous librarians who donated their time for these (100) hours were amazing. I learned so much from them. It was nice to be back on familiar territory and I saw many of my old teachers in the process. I also had the opportunity to attend my high school’s annual winter concert for which alumni are invited to come back and sing. I try to go every year that I’m here. I hung out with Andrés’s parents this time and saw a couple of old friends.

Between my field work gigs, I went with Oren’s family to the Dominican Republic. This was my first time on what can only be described as a luxury vacation…and I loved it. About 25 of us were in this huge house on the beach, and we spent it relaxing, reading, eating, knitting (only me) and swimming. The only minor hiccup was the fact that I didn’t get my suitcase until three days into the week-long vacation. However, everyone lent me clothing and helped me make the best of it. I came out of it feeling like I know Oren’s family a lot better. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience it.

I don’t have a lot of pictures of the last major thing that I did in 2013, but that is because I was having way too much fun. I had my bachelorette party, also expertly organized by Emily (she is the best). A bunch of friends came to New York City on New Year’s Eve and got massages. Than we hung out at Emily’s apartment until midnight, eating and watching awesome movies, until some of the boys, including Oren, joined us and we went to start 2014 by running 4 miles in Central Park! At midnight! There were fireworks and glasses of apple cider. It was freezing and my aunt was running also, though we quickly lost everyone in the crowd. It was a great way to start the year in which Oren and I will get married!

Oh also somewhere in the end of the year, Oren and I got the rest of our engagement photos! They came out great. here are some of my favorite shots:

Seriously, I cannot sing our photographer’s praises enough. That’s Jon of JC Lemon Photography. He was amazing during the shoot and he did a wonderful job processing the images. One of them was even featured in his favorites of 2013 blog post! He should be proud too because he scaled down the bank of a very steep ravine to get it. There are so many more amazing shots in the whole collection. If you would like to see them, and don’t already have the link, just comment below and we’ll talk.

As you have probably guessed from the title of this blog, I’ll end this post in a totally cliché and predictable fashion and talk about what I want out of 2014. I have a few goals that I’ve already started working toward, so why not write them down and get some crowd-sourced accountability?

  1. Run Races
    I would like to make sure to keep running races because that’s the only thing that motivates me to run regularly. I am already signed up for one in September (I know, but Electric Runs are popular so you have to sign up early). I won’t set a super tangible goal of, say, one race a month, but I’ll think about it.
  2. 365 Project 2.0
    I think the time is right for another photo-a-day project. I really liked doing this in 2011 – 2012, and while I’m glad I took 2013 off, I think it will help me focus on my surroundings as I end my time at Syracuse, get married and move back to a old/new life in New Jersey.
  3. Cook Creatively and Record It
    I’ve already started doing this because, thanks to inspiration from Oren, I’ve started following the guidelines of eating Paleo. This means no grains, no dairy, and eating as “naturally” and cleanly as possible. So far I’m LOVING it. It’s challenging me to think creatively about what I’m eating, and what is in my food. I’ve already tried out a bunch of really delicious recipes this year, and it’s only January. I’m hoping to post pictures and recipes on the blog to keep track of what I create
  4. Finish another sweater
    It’s flipping freezing in Syracuse, you guys. Seriously. I did finish one sweater, but I would like to finish at least one more before the winter is over. Luckily, winter in Syracuse might last until April, so I have time 😀 This will also mean focusing my time and getting my work done so I have time to knit. Online classes are eating my life right now.

So that is my 2014 wish list. There are also obvious goals like “do well in school” and “get married.” I have to do those things. They are not really questions or things that might not happen. The above goals are to better myself; they are not necessary to my life, but they have tangible deliverables and I really want to do them.

This semester I’ll be blogging for my Motivating 21st Century Learners class. I’ll be talking about teaching techniques and educational theorists. And lots more library stuff will probably sneak in here as well. So stay tuned.

Thanks for reading, guys. Happy 2014!

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