Way back when this blog of mine was a fledgling little thing and I had even less of a clue what I was doing with it, I posted a really brief little music review of Bastille's "Pompeii." And I'm still hooked on that song--particularly the refrain.
"But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing's changed at all?"
Well, kind of. 2013! What a year! Kind of a ridiculous, weird, transitional year, but sitting here at the end of it I have the weirdest feeling that nothing and everything has simultaneously changed (throw a little Taylor and Ed in for good measure why don't I?). So here I am, taking stock of everything I've done, seen, learned, regretted, and loved over the past year.
Appleton, Chicago (and its suburbs), and Owatonna for work with my Big 4 employer. Hilarity, boredom, stress, madness, and a whole lot of Candy Crush ensued. Airport confusion…opera house tours…a few really really memorable and delicious dinners…and, in Owatonna's case, a pretty great excuse to hang out with my parents and call my childhood home "home base" every time I spent time there.
Oxford and Cincinnati, Ohio. My little Minnesota ex-pat siblings are calling this goofy state in, as I've heard it called, "the armpit of the US" home for now, and I'm kind of falling for it. Cincinnati is a surprisingly fun city to spend time in, and Oxford is just about the most charming and adorable college town I could imagine.
Appleton (again) and South Bend for weddings. Let's talk about these weddings, because both of them were weddings for the record books. There's something great about how love is manifested in a wedding, and I can't get enough of them. We celebrated some great friends' days with them and couldn't have been happier for them (or more hungover after the madness ended).
South Bend (again) for a Notre Dame game. I've already covered this, but God, do I feel lucky every time I get to revisit my beautiful alma mater and celebrate four of the happiest years I've lived. Even better was getting to bring some of my favorite people with me. Notre Dame is such a special place and I love getting there every time I can.
Baltimore!, oh Baltimore!, for more quality time and best-friend bonding with my dearest Kaitlin. That city has my heart so hard, and I still don't really know if it's because she's there or because I genuinely think that it's just the greatest place. This time around, with Civil War battlefields, all-day concert festivals in the rain, lots of crab dishes, and cocktails galore, was one for the record books.
My 24th birthday, in style, with great friends, "The Book of Mormon," my family, Jon, and a phenomenal dinner. Birthdays are so great because everyone loves and celebrates someone just for being alive.
Emily's college graduation! Her four years at Miami University were so phenomenal and everything she accomplished was just insanely remarkable. Her success was recognized by her department at her ceremony, and I'm so proud of how awesome she is.
The life of my grandpa Leo, who passed away on Thanksgiving at 90. It's always a blessing when someone's suffering ends (in his case, after nearly 10 years), and it was so amazing to hear the stories of his life from everyone who loved him.
New careers for Jon and myself! Within six weeks of each other, we left our public accounting jobs and started work at an international P&C insurance company based in St. Paul. What a fantastic change for the better it's been so far!
Vikings game--I witnessed one of the Vikings' few victories this season against the Redskins during the Metrodome's last season.
Music festival--FreeFest, in Baltimore, blew my mind in every way, shape and form.
Time cohabiting--Jon and I moved in together in my old place this May, and relocated to our brand-new, beautiful apartment in the Warehouse District this August. It's been a beautiful adventure so far.
Book club--I'm in two now, and it's so fun to read and drink wine and chat with people on a semi-organized, usually monthly basis.
Lazy summer days on the boat…watching little brother Jonathan waterski, jamming to Jimmy Buffett and 70s funk classics, and soaking up sunshine.
Sunday dinners with my parents and Jon…delicious food, great conversations, plenty of wine and kicking the week off right.
Giving career and professional advice to my little brother as he navigates the world of business major life for the first time. Getting career and professional advice from my dad, who has been where I am before and has so much insight to share.
Road tripping with my parents--twice--to Ohio. Stopping for beef jerky, remembering every rest stop, and driving through a tornado.
Spending lots of time with my sweet cousins Emma and Sophie! Trips to the zoo, afternoons on the lake, dance recitals, and celebrating their 12th and 10th birthdays. They are so grown up and so wonderful!
Getting to know Jon's family better with trips to St. Cloud to see his sister, Wadena to spend time with his parents, and lots of fun visits, phone calls and meals.
This doesn't even scratch the surface of a year in which I have grown up and changed SO much…a lot of the experiences I've had are so significant they'd take an entire novel to share, and others are so seemingly insignificant I've forgotten them already. Still--2013 has been a year for the record books, and I'm getting even more excited to see what 2014 holds after this look-back. Check out the video below, my year in Instagram, for a tiny peek into even more of why this year was great.