Friday, January 1, 2010

I started writing a self-reflective blog post and then thought, screw it. Fare thee well, 2009!

To recap: 2009 started out pretty out baller, with a trip to Washington, D.C. for the annual March For Life. (Okay, fine, it actually started at an epic New Year's Eve party at Ohio State and then formal Rush, but that's another story.) Julia and I became inseparable after this trip, if Civil War first semester with Dr. Birzer had not already made us besties. Mass that morning at the Verizon Center with 30,000 fellow Catholics was especially amazing. The homily was beautiful too, with an interesting comparison between eating a hotdog to eating the Eucharist: when you eat a hotdog, it becomes part of you. When you eat the Eucharist, you become part of Jesus. I think it's a great analogy, but it did make Julia and I craved hotdogs for the rest of the trip. We're a bit bleary-eyed and completely sleep-deprived in this picture, but the pilgrimage was unforgettable.

CPAC 2009! I stayed with my friend Hunter (he goes to GWU) and got to meet a few of his friends. His friend Pat introduced us to Ron Paul, which was absolutely awesome. My dad and siblings were uber-jealous. My only regret about the trip was that I never made it to the zoo.

This past summer, I worked for The Washington Times in the Books section. It was the best job I ever held, ranked on the factors that 1) I loved my work, 2) I loved my boss and 3) I loved most of the people I worked with (I'm still in contact with a few of them). The other great thing about being in D.C. was that you couldn't turn a corner and not run into a fellow Hillsdalian. I was blessed to live with two Kappa sisters, Rachel and Katie, as well as a few streets away from my grandbig Geneva and her husband Neal, and was two metro stops away from Amanda. Matt and Will, two of my really close friends from school, worked close enough to meet up for drinks after work occasionally as well as hang out--I also got to know Zach and Dakota better, which continues wonderful. There were always a number of classmates to catch up with at Hillsdale events, including this one, where we had the opportunity to meet Justice Thomas. He is a phenomenal speaker and his worthiness to be on the Supreme Court is not lost on anyone who interacts with him.

Betsy and Amanda live across the hall from Heather and I. They are also from Cincinnati, as well as being Kappas. We like to prank and tease them, but they are two dear friends of ours. I can't imagine living in Kappa or 2009 without either of them. They help me represent the 5-1-3 well, and are womanly and true, not to mention hilarious.

Okay, so the fair comes to Hillsdale every fall. But not just any fair. The Most Popular Fair on Earth. I kid you not, this is what Hillsdale, MI natives call it. Out a complete lack of interest, I had never gone to the Hillsdale fair before this fall. I had been to the fair two summers ago when I worked for the Wilmington News Journal and covered the fair. (At the end of that very long week of my life, I wrote a op-ed called "Confessions of a City Slicker.") Kate (the girl in the middle) was flabbergasted when she heard this. I don't know why she was; Kate and I went to high school together. Nonetheless, she demanded I come with her and Marisa (girl on left) and I did, with a smile on my face and a promise that I would not be forced to eat any fair food. (See my "Confessions" if you wonder why.) It was a fun experience overall: we ran into my friend Will taking pictures for the school paper; rode the ferris wheel even though I am petrified of heights; ran into other friends from the college; got hit on by the European men working the fair; looked at the animals and exhibits. It's definitely a culture I am not well-versed it, but I enjoyed the experience.

Here's more of the best of 2009:
-American Order and Disorder with Dr. Birzer was hands down the best class I ever took, forever changing my perception of humanity and its relationship to the world. Also, sitting in the back row next to Kathryn and slipping into class with a minute to spare every M-W-F was a hoot. (Then, of course, I stayed in that same classroom for the next two hours--History of the American Identity and Colonial America--only moving to hop forward a row.)
-turning 21 and dancing to Jaimie Cullum's “Twenty-Something” with Heather and Lizzy at midnight while drinking mini-bottles of wine
-picking up my Little, Danielle
-being invited to debate on the future of conservatism for Fairfield Society and owning half the table in arguments (the other half agreed with me!).
-roadtripping to Laurel’s wedding with Kate and Heather (and, of course, the actual wedding and reception was lovely as well. Note to all: photobooths are always a great idea.)
-late night walks with Vivian around campus
-continuing to ride my bike through all seasons and weather throughout the semester (snow and ice not excluded)
-Fall Break in Cincinnati and the scavenger hunt downtown with the Betsy, Zach, Will, Ben and other Hillsdalians, etc.

2009 was a great year. I have not even touched on all the wonderful things that have happened throughout the past year in this blog post, mostly because most of them can't be fully explained. How does one explain friendships? Why would one tell of talk of ends? What can be said of inner change? I couldn't even begin to list everything I've read. Or of walking on the beach, which I did many, many times while in Florida: my feet on the sand, the salt water splashing around my ankles and calves, the sun on my face. I love taking walks, but on the beach is particular favorite. It is always in nature that I see tangible evidence of God’s goodness, which reassures me and my human ways. I like watching the sailboats and speedboats, the white caps and waves, and always the birds. The birds as they stand, as they fly and swoop, as they race up to the water’s edge and then back when the wave comes pouring in over the sand. I like how the sandpipers’ legs move so fast, the lone pelican dive bombing into the water, and how seagulls will stand on one foot, looking like a peg leg, but they really just have the other leg tucked up underneath.

It always seems like one appreciates things best at the end of an epoch. I feel old at 21 (less than 3 months to 22!), but I know life is just on the cusp of really happening. What I’m feeling is my childhood ending, if it hasn’t already. I pay for my own schooling, I’m researching and applying for jobs outside Cincinnati and in a few months, I won’t be living with or around the people I’ve spent my most formative years with.

2010 will bring many things and I am excited at its potential. I feel a drive in me and know it may be time to finally try something a little more risky than going to college, like proving myself worth employing. This next week-ish till I go back to school, I’ll continue looking into grad schools, missionary opportunities, internships, fellowships and jobs. I’m starting to write my thesis. I’ll hang out with the siblings, talk to my parents and walk my dog. I’ve given up trying to sleep well, so I’ll do it when I can.

Happy Year of our Lord 2010! I hope you rang in the new year loudly and with joy in your heart :) I wish for all of you to be more content in 2010, and to realize how much you already have.

January 1st, by the way, is also the feast of Mary, the Mother of God, and J.D. Salinger’s birthday. If you’ve never read Nine Stories, a collection of nine fantastic Salinger short stories (mostly about the Glass family), I recommend you do so in this next coming year, especially “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” “For Esme, with Love and Squalor” and “Down at the Dinghy.”Oh, and tonight is the Sugar Bowl: GO UC BEARCATS!!

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