My Christmas Letter 2019

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I love receiving Christmas letters. My family didn’t send one out this year, but my boyfriend (the handsome bloke above) is sending one out, which inspired me to write up a little post as a reflection on my year. And what a year it has been. Here are some of the main events:

February: I took my finals and passed all my classes in my graduate program in Germany. The first semester was in the bag. However, it just didn’t feel right.

March: I decided to officially quit my grad program and move home in April. But first, some fun! Trey visited me for two weeks and we travelled to Paris, Madrid, and Soria, Spain. Then I visited my best friend Jessica in Israel.

April: My parents flew to Germany and helped me pack up. Then we went on a bike tour through the Netherlands! Afterwards, I flew home to Texas, where a very happy Trey greeted me 🙂

May-July: I spent the summer at my parent’s house, applying to jobs and working odd jobs here and to make some extra money. I also went to Michigan to visit my little brother during his internship, turned 24, and made some wonderful memories.

August: I started my new job in Waco, Texas.

September: Began settling into life in Waco and figuring out the city. Trey turned 26 and we went to my cousin’s wedding in Washington. It was a blast!

October: Establishing a routine, meeting new people, and trying to figure out the crazy weather.

November: Thanksgiving at my parents’ with the family. I loved having five days off to relax and unwind.

December: The year is wrapping up and I’m looking forward to 2020. Christmas will be low-key and cozy at my parents’ house. I can’t wait to sit around, watch TV, and eat too many cookies.

This year has been full of transitions. I’ve had some health problems and some low points emotionally. But overall, I am really proud of myself and everything I’ve accomplished. Thanks to all those who stand by me as I stumble walk through life 🙂

PS Drawing by yours truly!

The Joys and Dangers of Nostalgia

I am a four on the enneagram, if that tells you anything. I like to summarize the four personality type as “Emo”. I’ve always been a romantic– it’s what makes me a good writer, artist, and speaker. I love the way memory influences my short stories, blog posts, essays, and more. I have the memory of an elephant, that is, I rarely forget anything. This is a blessing, and I’m finding out, sometimes a bit of a curse.

Some of my favorite childhood memories include making home videos with Jessica and Michaela, boogie boarding with my brothers at the beach near our home, and playing Harry Potter with my friend Maddy (we were Harry’s twin sisters!). In college, I studied abroad in Germany for a year, and was plagued by non-stop nostalgia thereafter. I remembered everything through rose colored glasses (the cafes! the language! the architecture!) and forgot about all the frozen nights spent in foreign train stations waiting for a missed connection.

I think our brain’s power to white-wash our negative memories is beautiful, actually. It’s what makes us look back on our lives at the end think and think they were pretty great. But for me, white-washing my memories can also be a trap. I struggle through the current hardships in my life and yearn for times past when everything was simpler. But was it simpler, really? Usually the real answer is no, it wasn’t.

I can get caught up in dreaming about my past lives, or the people I used to be closed to and mourn that things are different now. But honestly, I like my life now very much! Why am I tainting it with memories of the past?

It’s important to remember that everything that happens to us shapes us, but that’s just it– we are constantly changing. Evolve or die, baby! I try to be okay with the fact that some friendships that were once ‘active’ friendships have now shifted into the category of ‘commemorative’ friendships. And that’s okay too– they still serve a powerful purpose. All those friendships are different than they once were, but equally important.

As we go into this holiday season, let’s try to remember the joys of nostalgia (tradition! family!) and also beware of the dangers of over indulging in it.

Cheers!

 

Photos from Washington

img_5156Two weekends ago my family flew to Washington for my cousin’s wedding. It was beautiful and so classy! I wanted to share a few photos from the trip with you today.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThe flowers at Pike’s Place Market were incredible.img_2545img_2540Grandkids with grandparents. We all grew up pretty nicely, if I do say so myself!img_2530img_2523Processed with VSCO with c1 presetimg_5090img_5089img_5088img_2546Handsome ladsimg_2552img_5096img_5095img_2517img_5087img_2515img_2510img_2507img_2502img_2498img_2496img_2492img_2482Sibsimg_2475img_2470img_2481img_2449Awwwwwwimg_2431Rehearsal dinner!img_5080Geez I love this picture almost as much as I loved the mimosas we drank at brunch!

Texas, why are you SO hot?

img_3829*I have passed away from heat exhaustion and am writing this from my grave, which is air conditioned.

Texas, why are you so hot? Why do you burn me when I try to touch the steering wheel of my car? And how come you never seem to dip below 80 degrees, even at night?

I would like to go outside for more than ten minutes this summer. I would like to walk from my car to my office without sweating through my shirt. I would like to leave things in my car without fear of them melting. Is that too much to ask?

Texas, you’re a hot mess. And now I am too.

End of rant. Roll credits.