Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016...

It's been a weird year, hasn't it? Arguably one of the worst, though personally it wasn't too bad compared to past years. I guess this was the year I pulled away from this blog a lot. Not many posts, and that's okay by me. I'm cataloging what I want, and enjoying it all. And I know there are a lot of pictures of Dan and me, but it was just a pretty photogenic year okay?

So, without further ado:

- January started with my Mom still in the hospital. It was a tough time to have to come back to Arizona.

- Rachel adopted my lil buddy Claude! He is one of my favorites and they are a perfect pair. We also played a lot of clarinet choir in January.
- We went to Colorado for Dan's first professional audition (where he was one of four to pass pre-screening, just to brag for a sec).

- Over Spring Break we took our Masters comprehensive exams, two of my friends got married, it was Dan's birthday, and my cousin had a baby!!!

- I did my last Masters recital and my parents and Grandma came to see.
- In April I did some fun stuff with friends, in May Dan and I graduated with our Masters degrees,  I turned 24. I got a new tattoo thanks to the generosity of my friends!!

- I decided to stay at ASU to pursue a doctorate!
- This summer was extremely fun and extremely busy. First we went to Santa Fe with some friends.
- I took my baby cat to Florida to live with my sister. I miss that stupid cat every day. She was such a joy to have to come home to. I'm thankful to live with Dan, but I do miss that cat.

- I went to the National Music Festival in Chestertown, Maryland. I played some great repertoire and got to play Beethoven 9 in Philadelphia, which was awesome.

- Before going home, I spent a few days in DC with Logan, Stephen, and saw Rachel and Spencer. Walked so much. It was so fun, I love staying with Logan in DC.
- I had some lady friends over for a 4th of July party!

- I went to New York and stayed with Dan and his family for a weekend before going to my Grandma's for some family time. We were all together on my Mom's birthday! We had my Papa's unveiling ceremony, where you unveil the tombstone. It was hard to revisit, but we were all together.
- When I got back from New York, I went to Kansas with the clarinet studio for ClarinetFest! This picture pretty much sums it up. I also got to see my friends Leah and Tom!
- Wen and I drove out to California to see my friends Caleb and Boyce and to go to Disneyland! It was Wen's first time at Disney, and I think it was pretty magical. Thanks to their generosity, we had a really great short trip with Joanna, Mark, Caleb, and Boyce.
- Dan and I moved in together. Easily one of my favorite things to happen this year, and ever. I love living with him.

- Wen and I had fun in this video :) Then school started and it all went to shit, you guys.

- Best distraction from a rough semester: SOPHIE COMING TO VISIT!!!!! I'm terrible at keeping in touch but by god do I love my Sophie.

- Personal best Halloween costumes to date. I got a lot of the studio to dress up like our professors (in their typical purple shirt and black pants), and I dressed up as our friend Yeil. Trolololo.
- At some point we sweated our asses off at the State Fair, too.

- The election happened and it was crushing for a lot of us. A real "what the *%#$?" moment. And it hurt. Thankfully, November flew by. I played on Rachel's recital, I wrote two papers, I didn't die!
- My family came for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. We had a huge dinner with close friends and family. Dan and I cooked the whole meal. It was wonderful.

- Over this break, I got to take a little vacation with Dan to Flagstaff, go home to Florida, see friends and family, work a lot, and celebrate the holidays.
- Then...THEN, WE ADOPTED A PUPPY! His name is Cooper. He is a Besenji mix and he is the sweetest puppy ever, I'm convinced. He's already doing very well with training and although it's stressful, we love him so much already. Dan hates this picture of the three of us but I literally love it so much. Look at that frickin' smush.
Isn't he handsome?

So, although most people agree that 2016 sucked, it was pretty good for me. The lack of blog posts clearly didn't indicate a mellow year. I am always so busy!

This semester was the most challenging I've ever had (it was truly terrible), but I came out on the other side with straight A's and some money in the bank. I feel loved and love those around me. Sometimes I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but my life is fulfilling. I'm so grateful.

Past year's posts: 2015, 2014 (links to 2013 + 2012 can be found at the end of 2014). No resolutions this year because the ones I made for the past two years will always be applicable.

Happy New Year, peeps. You rock.
xx

Friday, December 23, 2016

Slices of Life

Right after I finished my last final, we drove up to Flagstaff for a quick trip. Dan had a gig at a fancy party. We went to the Lowell Observatory and the Riordan Mansion, drank local beer, saw some snow. It was a great trip.
Shortly thereafter I went home to Florida for about a week and I saw my family and my baby cat! I missed them so much! Especially my cat!!!!
We golfed with Dad, shopped, and I hung out with Rachel and Josh. I see them every December, apparently, which is awesome. We swung by me and Rachel's old high school, where we started 10 years ago. Shit's crazy. They planted some trees around there and it's way nicer.
Rachel and Josh also adopted this beautiful and super sweet cat and we totally bonded.

We took some family photos before I left :)

It was a great time at home, but it's always nice to be back. Looking forward to celebrating the holidays this weekend.

And for good measure, Dan hiking this week, because I love this photo that Wen took of him.
(Hope the photo qualities aren't too bad, hard for me to tell on my end. Everything always looks blurry.)

Happy Holidays!
xx

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Hey strangers! Better late than never, eh? My Mom, Grandma, and Rebecca came out to Tempe for Thanksgiving this year and it was actually pretty awesome.
We had a pretty big group and Dan and I made the entire meal by ourselves and it was amazing and triumphant. Turkey, mashed potatoes, baked carrots, stuffing, gravy, croissants, and asparagus. Everything was so delicious, no joke it was the tastiest and most rewarding Thanksgiving meal I've ever had. Probably because we made it all and shared it with some of my favorite people, but who knows ;)
Best Thanksgiving ever? I think so. I love these people.
xx

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Slices of Life

In no particular order: lately...

For Halloweekend I dressed up as our friend Yeil. It was a perfectly executed costume, if I do say so myself. 

I then convinced the majority of our studio to dress up in purple and black for studio class on actual Halloween, like our professors. (tiny pic in the top right corner of the collage)

When will those Pillsbury slice-and-bake cookies (which Dan had never had?????) stop being addicting and adorable? Never? I'm okay with that.

We went to the driving range weekly for a few weeks there before I was drowning in school.

We saw The Dear Hunter kill it live (me for the fourth time!!)

We went to the state fair, ate some fried food, sweated our asses off. I went two years ago after first moving here, can't believe how that feels both like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

The weather finally turned and with it, my mood. I can see the end of the tunnel of death that was this semester. I can not tell you how glad I am that it's almost over. 

Next week Rebecca, Mom, and Grandma ALL come out for Thanksgiving and we're hosting dinner in our tiny one bedroom apartment, just send us all the good vibes you have that it will work out okay, yeeeeesh. I'm practically useless in the kitchen, so really it's good luck for Dan ;) I can't wait to see my family. I can almost taste the freedom! And turkey!
xx

Monday, November 14, 2016

But,

It's been a hard week for a lot of people. It's been a sad week. This past week was the anniversary of both my Grandma Lillian's and my Papa's passing. This week our country had a rude awakening. This week I was scared and confused and exhausted from the weight of "what have we done?"


But, I had a great weekend. I took time to bond with my boyfriend. I tried to avoid the anxiety that has been building all semester. I succeeded, for these past few days. I'm more optimistic now than I imagined I could be before. It feels good.

I know there are good people in the world, because I personally have so many of them in my life. You name the type of person, and I know a good one. I'm lucky.

But, I wish we were all so lucky.

It's hard to be optimistic. But,

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 
– Barack Obama

I don't know what to do, or what I am going to do. But, I have loved ones whom I would do anything to protect. So, I will. I will fill my world with hope. And you should too.
xx

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Me at 24

Eating two cookies at once on a day where the weight of my to-do list and being a doctoral student felt almost unbearable. One of my best friends made me dinner and was so helpful and kind, and I got everything done for that day. Thanks, Wenny.
xx

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fall "Break"

My fall break wasn't much of a break at all but it didn't even matter because Sophie was in town. Reunited after two and a half years. I don't know how we went so long without seeing each other (thank goodness for FaceTime), but I am more grateful than ever to have a friend like Sophie.
We spend a lot of our conversation, and always have, discussing health. Friends and family whom I don't regularly see always ask about my health. How I'm doing, if things have improved, you know the usual. I tell most people that I'm doing really well, they don't want the whole spiel, but I don't have to cushion it with Sophie.

This time around I found myself word-vomiting about how I'm better, but then again not really, because it's still an almost constant presence, but it's not inhibiting so I should just be complacent with it. But should I? Am I doomed to just be "complacent" with chronic pain, exhaustion, and occasional embarrassment? Somehow, lately, it's not enough to just be grateful that I'm no longer too sick to go to class or practice or hang out with my friends (though I am so grateful, of course).

It's been a less-than-stellar semester, so far, physically and emotionally and then physically again. It just got me thinking about people in general, and invisible illness in general. My sister wrote this great article about it, actually.

I'm not looking for pity. Just a space to write down my thoughts and express my gratitude to my Sophie. My heart swells when I think of the support system that I have in my friends, family, and boyfriend.

'til next time,
xx
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