Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A year of firsts

The end of 2013 is here, and like many, I like to look back and reflect on the year's main events and how I've changed.  (Why do you think I blog and journal so much?  I learn an enormous amount when I go back and read my thoughts months later, physical proof that I've changed or why I shouldn't have worried so much, etc.).

I started off 2013 with remnants of reverse culture shock, still feeling somewhat lonely and unexcited after moving back to Madison from Madrid earlier in the fall.  Also, it was the middle of a Wisconsin winter.

Now looking back, knowing how the year both started and ended, I think I did a good job of turning that feeling around.  Rather than thinking about where I wasn't, I took advantage of where I was and who was around at that particular period in time.  The result?  New friends, new experiences, and new knowledge: a year of many "firsts".

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I had my first ultrasound, though it was for a research study, not because I was preggers.


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I enjoyed Madison's Restaurant Week for the first time ever -- three times: The Bayou, Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, & Brocach on Monroe.

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I went to Frank Warren's Post Secret event at UW-Madison with my brothers, finally, after wanting to go to one for years!

Post Secret Madison WI 2013

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My joy of snail mailing became a full-blown hobby with some birthday goodies: stamps and washi tape.  I also discovered there are communities of letter-writers like me.  I joined the Letter Writers Association. did a post card exchange, and had a More Love Letters letter-writing birthday party.


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I went to my first American-Norwegian wedding in July when my dad's cousin got married (my first wedding since 2009).  I enjoyed seeing so many relatives that weekend!


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I went to Canada for the first time in a 2-week trip to Hudson, Quebec where I reunited with my close friends last seen in Madrid, Spain.  Firsts here included (but are not limited to): watching a regatta, eating a beavertail, going sailing, and going to Vermont!

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My German friend Max came to Madison as part of his big post-Master's degree Canada/U.S. summer trip -- my first international visitor!


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I went to Chad's cabin for the first time with the fab four in August.

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I played in my first ultimate frisbee tournament in the states, went to ultimate frisbee camp (Camp I Wanna Huck It) in Illinois, and was on a spring & summer MUFA league.


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I moved to South Korea and began working as an elementary school English teacher.  Living here I've experienced a pile of firsts since September.

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I need to learn from myself and do the same in 2014: take advantage of where I am and who I'm around now.  What else can I learn?  What experiences can I have?  What is unique to my current situation?

Lately, the eight months left on my teaching contract have seemed very long in my eyes, but I know when August arrives I'll wonder where the time went.  I need to shake up my routine a bit and keep progressing this year, especially making good use of the next eight months in Korea.

What were your best memories of 2013?  Did you have any firsts?  
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