I looked through these apparent highlights - granted, leaving my job after 3 and a half years, graduating college, and starting 3 new jobs were all highlighted as well - and felt like they didn't really do much justice to 2013. Yeah, straight hair is exciting. My sarcasm, though obviously brilliant, isn't really anything new. Me being mistaken for about 8 years younger than I am is whatever. People do that everyday, I just don't usually get it to my face. Graduating college was a big highlight, but not really one that I have much to say about (other than YIPPEEEE). My jobs have been great experience and I could write a novel about them all, but I won't. That would be boring. And those experiences are really deeply personal - it's not really something that I would consider a "highlight", but rather a profoundly beautiful and life changing experience. Leaving my job - my work family - after nearly three and a half years was difficult. (I blogged about it here.) I still look back on that and wonder if I made the right decision. Instead, I want to share a few highlights that I have something to say about - something that when I think of 2013, this is what I will remember.
I studied abroad in Paris for May Term. I will not pretend that I loved the experience or anything. In fact, it was dreadful. I spent all of my savings on it and the program was terrible. The professor was awful. The place where we lived was out in the suburbs and inconvenient. Half of the girls on the trip turned on me like high school-ers over a boy that I wasn't even trying to get (I had a perfect boyfriend at home, thanks). I hated it. But, that being said, it isn't something that I would retract if I could. I made friends with two girls (one of them being the girl who actually was trying to get the boy) who I still hang out with back in America (not as much as I'd like to) and who are both really, truly amazing. It's strange that three people fit together that perfectly.
While in Paris I got to meet up with my old friend Alexandre, an exchange student that we hosted back in '09. It was surreal. We hadn't seen each other in 4 years, but we met up and it was like nothing had changed. We were both exactly the same and it was like being 16 again. After Paris, I went to Geneva and hung out with my friend Jojo for a few days. My family also hosted JoJo as an exchange student, back in '10. I had been able to see him when I backpacked Europe in '11, and it was great to see him again. He was so much more mature. With him, things were different. But we still acted like fools, exploring the mountains, whizzing around Geneva on his scooter, eating way too much ice cream.
After Geneva, I flew into London where I got to meet up with the lovely, beautiful Tori. She started commenting on my blog several months ago and when I mentioned that I was off to London, we joked about meeting up. And, in the end, it happened! We spent the day checking out flea markets, drinking tea, missing buses, and talking about, well, pretty much everything. Tori blogged about it here. (I'm the bad blogger who didn't blog about it or take photos.)
While I was in London, I bused out to the Norfolk to spend a few days in the countryside with my aunt and two of my cousins. I stayed up late watching bad British television shows with my cousin Dodie, I went shopping and to the movies with my cousin Millie, I took vodka shots at some bad house party with the both of them, I went to an old workhouse museum with my aunt and had elderberry pop (weird!). It was 4 days of bonding with family who I know very little of, who I've only met a few times before. It made me feel like the absolute luckiest girl in the world.
In March, I lost my best friend of the past 10 years. This was the hardest part of 2013, and it's not something that I look back on happily, but rather with heartbreak. I was in the park a couple of nights ago and a pug named Oscar was out for a walk with his owner. As I was talking to the owner and petting Oscar, I was overcome with this huge feeling of home. I realised it was because petting Oscar felt just like petting Moses. It felt like home. Home just isn't the same without Moses trotting around in the kitchen, huffing and puffing, licking everything up, falling over with excitement every time someone came through the door. I miss the little guy everyday. I blogged about him here.
I'll look back on 2013 as the year that I met Jesse, my boyfriend. Although he's very sick right now and I'm not sure how much longer he'll be in my life, I will look at 2013 and remember his love. This was the first time in my life that I was loved properly and the first time that I realised what it was like to be with someone who treats you with respect and cherishes all of your qualities, even the bad ones. I love him very much and I hope that 2014 will give him good health so that we can spend it together, going on more adventures and laughing together like we used to.
2013 has had its ups and its downs, maybe more so than other years. Usually I can look back on years and remember them as very happy times in my life, or very bad times in my life. 2013 is different. I look back on it and I have known the most heartbreak I've felt in years, but I also have known the deepest love that I've felt ever. I have high hopes of 2014 as being a year of firsts: my first real job, my first very own apartment, my first car, my first very own dog. I have no regrets in 2013, and hope that 2014 brings very few, also.