Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012: A Year in Review

2012. Whew!  What a year.  Here are some highlights, month by month!

January:  I took the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in order to get into grad school.  The test only took half the day, but then I spent the other half having fun visiting some friends in the Bay Area.  I finished rewriting and editing an essay on Vampires (don't judge me please, it wasn't any of that Twilight trash, but real Dracula and Carmella type vampires), and turned in my application to University of Colorado at Denver.  *Crossed my fingers and prayed HARD.

February:  Found out I got into grad school and cried.  It was a combination of sheer happiness and complete fear.  I was moving to Denver!  I also threw a half-birthday party since I knew that I wouldn't be in California for my real birthday in August.  My mother had bought me a Pie Contest in a Box set for Christmas, and this was the perfect time to take it out.  My parents and sisters even came up for it, and guess who won--my wonderful Mama!

                                          My Pie Contest Judges--James, Laurel, and Ashley

March:  I started telling people that I actually was moving.  It was both liberating and terrifying.  I also started cleaning out my closet like a madwoman--my sister Kate sent me a link to The Twenty Pieces Project.  I was hooked.  But I knew that I couldn't do only 20 pieces if I moved to Denver, so as of the moment I have 5 items or less of each piece (I think I have about 50 altogether now).  I
reconnected with an old friend from college via the Twenty Pieces Project, where she had written a post about giving up all her clothes.  What a neat connection that I hadn't anticipated! 

                                                                      Goodbye clothes!

April:  I went for a long weekend visit to Seattle to visit some dear friends, Brian & Danielle.  Dani & I had roomed together all of college, and then she and Brian got hitched just after we graduated.  Lucky us, we were blessed with the only sunny weekend the entire month.  If Seattle were sunny year-round, I would be sorely tempted to move.  I also fulfilled something on my bucket list--I was in a parade!  The Apple Blossom Festival Parade of Sebastopol, CA.  Our church had a float for the Vacation Bible School happening in June, and I had the privilege of walking alongside it dressed as a hiker (the theme was National Parks) and handing out fliers and candy.  So fun!

                                         Danielle & Jennifer dropping me off at the airport.

May:  I had my last day as a staff member at Sebastopol Christian Church.  I never thought I would be so sad about leaving a job as I was leaving that church.  It was so full of love, grace, Christ, and hugs.  I still miss it and constantly use it as a standard of what churches should be.

June:  The packing begins.  I'm sure the tears started here, too.  It's almost as if nothing significant happened this month, as I am unable to recall anything....

                                           Ah, here is something!  My sister Megan and our
                                          dad met me at Sol Food in San Rafael--some of the
                                            best Puerto Rican food you will ever eat.

July:  My last day of work at my full-time job was on July 19th.  Never before had I been so thankful to leave a job.  An absolutely crazy boss (not in a fun way, but a I-will-yell-at-you-for-breathing sort of way), but who did teach me to have a thicker skin and stand up for myself when I got yelled at and didn't like it.  My roommates threw me a goodbye party, at which I cried almost the entire time.  My dad came that Friday to have last minute festivities with my roommates at The Ito and to go see Batman.  The next day, I left Sonoma County, spent two days in Sacramento County, and began my journey East to Denver.  Arrived in Englewood, CO, on July 25th.

                                      All my worldly belongings shoved into a small space.

August:  My month of prayer, applications and interviews.  I must have applied to close to a zillion jobs, had over 12 interviews, and 2 job offers within a month.  I turned down the first one like a crazy person--I'm sure the recruiter I was working with thought I was an idiot.  But for some reason or another, there was a funny feeling that I just couldn't ignore.  So I said no.  But thankfully, a week and a half later, a better offer (more money, better hours, closer to home, and a more interesting position) came along and I happily took it.  My dear, sweet roommates (Matt & Amber) also graciously threw me a Welcome to Colorado party AND a birthday party two weeks later with all their friends.  I was like, "Oh-hi-I'm-Tamsen-and-I-have-no-friends-yet.  Wanna ride bikes?"  I'm so thankful for the ways that the Lord has provided a job, friends, and a church.  Oh, and I also adopted a dog!  Meet Pavlov. 

                                                               Isn't he so cute?!

September:  This was the month that I started feeling ever so slightly acclimated to living at a mile high.  **Translation:  Tamsen didn't need a nap every day.  September was also the month I decided to commit to the little church in my neighborhood that I could walk to.  Also full of love, grace, Christ, and hugs.  But much closer to my apartment in Englewood than the distance from my home in Cotati to Sebastopol.

October:  I hiked my first 14er (Quandary Peak, elevation 14,271 ft)!  My new friend Randi asked me to come along with her and to go visit some friends who live near Saint Isabel National Forrest.  We spent the night with the Chelfs in Salida and went for a tour of the Aspens the next day. Absolutely breathtaking.  Never before had I been so amazed at creation.  Aspens are quite a change from the redwoods and oaks of Northern California!

November:  I had my first visitor--Jennifer from San Diego.  Right after she left, I had my first bout of the flu that I could remember.  No fun at all, but I was over it in time for my second-favorite holiday--Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving served as a marker for my first big holiday away from my family.  But what a Thanksgiving it was!  I baked for 3 days straight (3 pies, bread, and home-made stuffing), went for a bike ride with two friends in downtown Denver in the afternoon, and then invited myself over to a late holiday dinner at a friend's house from church.  On Black Friday there were more Thanksgiving festivities to be had, and 20 of us got together for round two.

                                       And, of course, Pavlov and I got in some great hiking.

December:  December 1st rolled around and I sat in shock when I realized how much happened in the past 11 months.  I experienced my first "real" snowstorm and told my boss that I was going to snowshoe to work the next morning (I wish.  8 miles may be a bit too long for my showshoes' maiden voyage).  It seems like I spent the entire month in anticipation of going home for Christmas--looking forward to all the silly Wright family traditions and seeing all of my sisters together for the first time since March.  Kate had left for the Peace Corps (affectionately know as the Posh Corps for her, being placed in Jamaica), and then Megan and I followed her lead in July to go to Colorado and Texas, respectively.  But Sarah and David are happily holding down the fort (and our parent's sanity, I'm sure) in Sacramento.  Lazing about on the couch, experiencing rain again (something that Denver does not have a lot of), going to the Christmas Tree farm, the Wright Family Holiday Catalog Count, etc.  You can read more about the silly traditions here.  Oh yes, and I finished my first graduate level class with an A-.

                                          Footage of the Catalog Count, Christmas Evening.

And here's to a great 2013, full of adventure and love.