Well, 2011, you are essentially over. All I have left to do this year is eat supper with my family and watch the new Sherlock Holmes movie with my friends. And as I say every year, I cannot believe 2011 is over already. Suddenly, 2012 is upon us - the year I turn 25. But let's not rush things here. I am trying to reminisce.
What happened in 2011? hmm...
It wasn't until I broke this year down into little moments that I realized everything that happened this year. If I think of it in a 2011 clump all I get is a big blank. What did I do this year? I started it in Kansas, left, but then came back. That doesn't seem very monumental. But actually a lot more happened then I initially thought. (It must be an automatic reflex from years of answering "what did you do at school today" with "nothing." Anna, what did you do this year? nothing? That is hardly true...)
(Unfortunately, I did not start blogging until this summer and since my main journal from this year is in North Carolina, I find myself relying solely on my brain to try and remember all the good things 2011 brought me. Well, and my Facebook albums).
Here are the highlights.
1. I ran my very first 5k this spring. As a person who runs, but still does not enjoy it, it was a very big deal for me. I also broke my personal record that day (but will not share it because it still is not very good. ha).
2. In April my friend, Drea, got married. Not only was this a joyous occasion, but I also got to spend a few days with my Bluffton friends in Wooster. I also flew by myself for the first time in my life. (Well, on an airplane. I did not learn how to fly in 2011).
3. My friend Julie Lehman taught me how to build a raise bed for our garden. (Even though my strawberries did not survive the heat of the summer, the box remains - awaiting early spring weather and a new crop of magic. Probably peas).
4. In May, my friend, Kare, got married. Exciting? yes.
But this was a bigger moment in my life because this was the "launch" of my photography "business." Yes, it is hardly a business, but my friends took a chance on me, helped me to get an awesome camera and thus I discovered my love of photography. I wasn't really expecting anything to come out of this gig, but even without trying new opportunities have presented themselves. It's been a lot of fun and I am hoping that 2012 will be filled with even more photography jobs. Maybe I will even try this time...
5. Living in Kansas. (How is this a highlight? Right?) True on a lots of levels, but I have been grateful for the community I have been allowed to be a part of here. Even though I moved here in October of 2010, it wasn't really until 2011 that my relationships with people held more weight. I am grateful for every one of them.
6. Going along with that, 2011 brought about the beginning of our "small group" we formed with a family from Hesston Mennonite. After returning from South Africa, I was in pretty sorry shape. But thanks to Leah, Jeron and the Litwillers, I feel way more at peace in my faith that I did last year. I still have a lot to "get over" and, of course, a ton of growing to do, but lots of healing happened in 2011, even when I was unaware of it.
7. In the beginning of June, I said goodbye to Kansas and headed to Chicago to be the cook for DOOR. Wow, I had a ton of doubts about doing another VS thing, but I am so grateful that I did.
I learned a lot, fell in love with Chicago even more than I already was, and was a part of a great staff that I continue to miss on a weekly basis.
(I also ate very well this summer by trying out lots of new places).
Sticking to my convictions about not eating processed foods, I made a lot of our meals from scratch (sometimes even bread). This might've seemed crazy and was a lot of work. However, I am so glad I decided to do this. Not only was the food way more delicious, but I also save DOOR- Chicago a ton of money (not to brag here). I think the budget was about $20/person each week and on average we spent around $14-15. That is one giant high-five to the DIY movement.
Also, living with Krista and Jim was a huge blessing since I am sure if I would've had to live in the faith house, I would've left. (I believe in intentional communities, but was maybe not too prepare for that lifestyle again). I am grateful that these friends let me live with them and eat their food for an entire summer.
8. Living in a cool place brought a ton of my friends to the city to see me. Including my sister, my cousins, my high school friends, Kare, Tracy, and Alicia (who I hadn't seen since maybe a year after I graduated), my Kansas friends, Amanda and Janell, and Connie, my former Radical Journey teammate. (Connie is in the only teammate I've seen since coming back from South Africa. It was also great to have a buddy to explore the city with since she stayed for an entire week).
9. This summer also brought about the Yoder family reunion in Tennessee. I barely get to see my extended family, so being all together in an awesome place was so great. We went canoeing, ate great food, and generally just chilled. loved it.
10. In July, I took a "break" from DOOR and headed to Ohio to see my roommate from college, Jille, and her husband Lucas, who live in Bolivia but were back in the States for a visit. I was really grateful to get time-off so I could go and see them. The weekend was filled with hanging out with some of my dear Bluffton friends (who I can never possibly see enough), catching up with Jille, and going to Phil and Shannon's (more Bluffton beavers) wedding.
11. Following my Ohio trip, I headed down to South Carolina to go on my family's very first real vacation. (We only ever went to our grandparent's house in Iowa and PA, mostly doing nothing or helping out around the house aka, not really a vacation). It was so relaxing to hang out by the coast and drink in the south.
This was also the time I got to watch as newly hatched baby sea turtles made their way from their nest to the ocean. It was unreal and maybe one of the coolest things I've ever seen in real life.
12. After DOOR was over for the summer, I headed downstate to Morton, only to return the following weekend to help Austin with the first fall group. I didn't do very much but eat food and hang out with the fabulous DOOR women.
13. Living in Morton. After DOOR, I was unemployed. Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law invited me to come and "work" for them - taking care of the household and helping out at Janice's new bridal store. Also, I got the chance to live with my niece and nephew and be a part of their everyday life. That is maybe one of the coolest things ever. Seeing them go from being fairly shy when I first got there to running full force to greet me was such a gift.
14. Thanks to Janice and Adore, I was able to play around with graphic design stuff for the first time on a professional level. It was great. I also got the chance to travel up to Chicago with Adore for a wedding show. Awesome. Also, thanks to Adore, I got my first (and probably only) modeling gig. It was very last minute but was a ton of fun. Never done anything like that before, that is for sure.
15. I went out to Kansas in the fall to interview at Bethel, hang out with my family and friends, and go to a Needtobreathe concert. Oh my gosh. It was an unbelievable concert. worth all those miles on my car.
16. I made a point to get to Asheville this fall to spend time with my parents and my AMC community that has done so much for me (such as supported me in Chicago). This extended weekend included soaking in everything North Carolina and going on a beautiful hike with the 'rents. ah. I want to live there.
17. In October, I had any 2nd photography gig. At the last minute a friend from high school told me that her photographer couldn't make their wedding. So she asked me. I love taking photos so being a part of Katie and Edward's day was fantastic.
18. My baking skills have greatly improved, especially my bread making abilities.
19. I roasted my very first pumpkin this fall - which led to the roasting of 3 more. I also was able to do some canning even though I do not have a garden. This is my special shout out to all those who donated their abundance to me. I am still enjoying all of these delicious fruits and veggies.
20. After months of applying, I finally took a job... well two. At the end of October, I returned to the prairie to learn how to be a web editor for Bethel College and reassumed my baking job at Mojo's. Even though I still wish I could've come here and stayed at Adore in Morton and taken that baking gig in Nashville (which presented itself in mid-November), I am happy to be here. Even though being a web editor is not my professional goal, I am grateful for the skills I am learning and hope to use them somehow in the future.
21. This Thanksgiving I was able to see my grandparents again and eat Gram's delicious food. And for Christmas, I got to hang with my immediate family - just us, which is something that hasn't happened in a very long time.
22. I drank a significant amount of coffee, which was a highlight every single time.
23. I was able to go to the dermatologist and my skin cleared up for the first time in about 9 years. (It's not going to be very sustainable, but at least 2011 was the year of confidence boosting skin).
And those are the highlights. I am excited about the possibly of 2012 and all the things that I can accomplish if I stop watching tv and get on Facebook less. I really want to build a cold frame, grow peas, learn how to make cheese, read way more important works of fiction, launch some time of "official" looking website for my photography (if I can figure out how to do that..ha) and start writing again (double underline that). Those are the goals.
And this is the 2011 post signing off. Happy new year everyone!