Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Retrospective (Part 1)

As the year wraps up, I am spending a lot of time reflecting on what this year has brought to my life. This is the first in a series of these posts.

This has been an interesting year.

I would never have imagined on 1/1/11 that I would be living in Los Angeles.

I embarked on this year as a fresh college graduate joining the ranks of everyone else, trying to find a job and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I spent about two months applying to jobs, interviewing for some, exploring post-graduate service programs and working on those applications. And a lot, a LOT of folklórico. I went to practice every day to have a concrete reason to get out of the house, and since I didn't really have much else to keep me from going. I also started going to zumba at St. Ed's pretty often (blending in with the students...). In January, I had started Weight Watchers, so the exercise went along with my eating better, and in the first half of 2011, I lost 15 lbs! (It has stagnated since then since I haven't been keeping up with as good exercise/eating habits, but I haven't gained it back either...)

Then came March, and I was hired as a temp at the IRS. One of the most interesting two months of my life. The job was... pretty boring. (I say that if my most boring job of my life is at age 21, then I'm doing pretty good). It was tedious work of opening envelopes, restapling, stamping, paperclipping and filing tax returns. That's what I did for 8 hours a day. And I also worked nights. But it paid well, and it was two blocks from my apartment so I could walk there. (David picked me up at night since it was 12:30 when I got off). And the people I worked with were really, really amazing. Don't miss the job itself, but I do miss those people.

In April, I also participated in the Relay for Life at St. Ed's, especially in honor of my friend Madeleine, whose seventh anniversary of her death passed on on April 28th.

The IRS job ended at the end of April, just in time for me to get in a few practices before all the Cinco de Mayo shows. One of the downsides of working nights is that I hadn't been able to come to folklórico practice for those two months. I'd stayed involved by serving as roadie on a couple weekend shows but I missed it. So I of course volunteered for all ten shows we had in a week. And it was hard and stressful and tiring. And amazing. By then I knew I was moving to LA, and I knew I'd be leaving the folklórico group behind. I wanted to give everything I had to my last Cinco de Mayo with them.

Also in May, I got a tattoo. I celebrated many of my friends graduating (had I not graduated a semester early I would have graduated May 2011). I packed up and went to Abigail's Lake House with her and her parents for a week, as our mini grad trip.

Then came June and I started one of my three short summer jobs at the Austin Children's Museum. 5 and a half weeks of my summer (One in June, 3 in July and 1/2 in August) were spent at the summer camps for 7-10 year olds in the hot Austin summer heat. I worked at two Engineering Camps, one Home-Grown Cooking Camp, one Up, Up & Away Camp and one Get a Clue Camp. They were all so fun, I worked with amazing other staff members and interns, and the kids were great. Many of them came to multiple camps, so there were a few I really got to know. Every day, we took a field trip to a different place in Austin related to the camp, then in the afternoons went back to the museum to do activities. It was definitely an exhausting job, though, being with kids constantly for  9 hours a day!

My second summer job was working at the Vacation Bible School/Creative Arts Camp at FBC Austin. You can read all about what we did here.

The next week, I headed back to the east coast for BPFNA Peace Camp. This was my third job this summer, which I did also in 2010 and enjoyed it so much, I signed up again. During the second hour of worship, the lead teacher and I led the kids out for playtime. I loved Peace Camp this year, as usual, and had meant to write a blog post about it but never got around to it. The theme this year was forgiveness, and there was an incredible speaker that challenged us to truly learn to forgive. As usual, I spent a lot of time with dear lifelong friends, as well as making new ones. I danced in more than one service (also, as usual). I have to say my favorite event this year was joint with AWAB, "Prom for All". I still want to write more about that, so look for a post about it at some point, but to summarize--so much dancing and silliness and fun.

We got back to NC for a day before I headed back to TX to keep working at the museum. That day was my 22nd birthday! I had a fabulous birthday week, and got to see most of my friends and family for. Will be planning birthday weeks from now on because they are awesome.

This concludes Part 1. Stay tuned for more 2011 in Retrospective posts coming soon!

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