Jan 8, 2013

Welcome, 2013!

Here's to a new year, and a new beginning! I know I'm a little late on the uptake, but heres wishing you a very happy 2013!

I took an unplanned break from blogging in October of 2012. Life was really crazy, and I was a little bit too busy living it to post about it! It was nice to take a break after two and a half years of blogging, and I think the time away really reminded me of what I really love about posting on Sandbox Romance. I'm excited to get started posting again in the New Year, but before I look forward, though, I want to lok back at 2012 to remember all that happened. It's been a big year!

In January I hosted a fancy holiday party for my friends at home and then headed off to London, England, to spend six months studying abroad at University College London! I spent January becoming closer with new and old friends (Hayley, Shiva, and Sheneka, I'm especially glad I got to know y'all better!) and exploring London's many wonderful sites: Regent's Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Camden Market, and many more. A few Emory students and I also took a trip to Canterbury at the end of the month! I also turned 21 on the 16th, and celebrated by enjoying tasty cider at a pub and not getting drunk.

Sheneka and I kicked off February by taking a (bus!) trip to Paris, where we braved the cold weather (and even colder hostel showers!) and sore feet to see the Eiffel Tower, eat crepes, and visit the Musee d'Orsay. I also experienced snow in London and got to see a professional football (aka soccer) match! In the middle of the month Hayley, Shiva, and I took an amazing trip to Barcelona, Spain, one of my all time favorite places I went while abroad! I also got to see Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at the National Theater in London, and Hayley and I took a day trip to Cambridge!

In March my friend Yilong and I took a trip to Oxford, England, Hayley and I visited the Tower of London, and I took a trip to Greenwich. Hayley and I also took an amazing trip to Marrakesh, Morocco, where we explored the amazing city and visited the Atlas Mountains. Hayley and I also took a fun trip to Amsterdam at the end of the month!

During the month of April UCL has a month long "reading" period before finals. Instead of studying (like we probably should have...), Hayley and I went on a backpacking trip in Italy! We started out in Nice, France, and then took the train to Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples (to visit Pompeii). We also spent a few days at the end of the trip in Palermo, Sicily (hopefully I'll get those pictures up on here one of these days!). In between my four crazy exams (for "Restoration and Management of Freshwater Ecosystems", "The Life of Plants", "Fertility, Sex, and Reproduction", and "Behavioral Ecology". Whew!) I also got to visit Kew Gardens for class and take a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare!

May was probably one of my favorite months the be in London. The weather was beautiful, and the spring flowers were all coming out in Regent's Park, my favorite place in the city. During exams my parents also came to visit me in London for a few days! We had fun exploring the city (The British Museum, Oxford Street and the West End, St. Paul's and Borough Market, and Regent's Park.We also got high tea, saw Billy Elliot (which was wonderful), and took a trip to Brussels and Brugge in Belgium. After they left Hayley and I explored Notting Hill, Hampton Court PalaceBrighton, and a ton of other sites in the city of London, and Yilong and I explored Windsor Castle together!

The start of June was bittersweet because it marked my final days in London. Hayley and I went to Sweden and Denmark, I got to see the Diamond Jubilee, and Hayley and I said goodbye to some of our favorite places in the city (and explored a few new ones!). Hayley's sister, Blair, came to visit and we all went to Edinburgh, Scotland together, which was a lot of fun, despite all the rain! We also took a day trip to Loch Ness, which was super cool. After coming home for a few days and going to Philly Pride I headed out to Phoenix, Arizona for my cousin Kelsey's wedding! When I got back home I took a day trip into Philadelphia with my friend Emily, where we did fun touristy things like see the Liberty Bell and cool our feet off in LOVE Park fountain. I spent time with my friend back home for a few weeks before taking a road trip to Georgia to move into my apartment!

In July my parents helped me move into my apartment in Atlanta, which I'm sharing with Hayley! We killed lots of cockroaches, saw the fireworks on the 4th of July, and made a Georgia peach pie. I got a job working for the Emory Telefund, made some money giving school tours, and interned for the non-profit LiveThrive. I also took a trip to the Chattahoochee River with a few friends.

I spent most of August working and catching up with a few people who were already in Atlanta. I also met and started seeing my girlfriend, Hannah. I seriously couldn't have gotten luckier or found someone more perfect! At the end of the month I started my last year at Emory University, which was super surreal and crazy. I quit the Emory running club and joined the women's rugby team on top of field hockey. I'm so glad I joined rugby; the team is awesome, and it's a ton of fun (even though I'm awful!).

My September  October, and November were mostly filled to the brim with school work, date nights with Hannah, sports games, and club commitments. Hannah and I took a camping trip to Amicalola Falls State Park in September and Kennesaw Mountain in November, and went to Atlanta Pride together. My mom came to Atlanta to visit on the first of November, and we visited the Chattahoochee River, she watched me play Rugby and met Hannah, we helped out at the Gamma Phi Beta Color Run at Emory, spent time with my cousin Anna and my cousin-in-law, Spencer, and saw some of the sites in Atlanta. I went home to New Jersey for Thanksgiving, and my friend Allie (whom I met in London) came for the holiday, making it a very vegan Thanksgiving. A bunch of friends and I went to a fancy prohibition bar in Atlanta (where I drank on the house!), and on November 29th I took Hannah to my sorority semi-formal, where we had a total blast getting all dressed up and going out.

In December I braved my finals, and Hannah and I went on a tripple date with a few girls from rugby. On the 20th Hannah flew home with me to New Jersey, and we spent Thursday exploring Grounds for Sculpture! On Friday we took the train into New York City, where we saw Ground Zero, caught up with Hannah's childhood friend Marlow, and checked out the major sites of NYC! On Saturday we took the train to Washington, DC, where we saw the Capital and the White House, visited a few museums, and ate a delicious lunch at Founding Farmers. On Sunday we wrapped up our East Coast tour with a visit to Philadelphia, where we saw the Liberty Bell, got yummy food at the Reading Terminal Market, and toured Independence Hall. Hannah headed back home on Monday, and on Tuesday my family, my grandma, and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my mom's side celebrated Christmas! We spent the next week exploring Pennsylvania and New Jersey together, and I rung in the New Year at a friend's.

It's hard to believe so much has happened in the last twelve months! Looking back, I'm so grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and the wonderful people in my life. 2013 will be a year of change--with graduation, moving (somewhere!), and a whole future ahead of me. And while I might be terrified, I'm also pretty darn excited. Bring it on, 2013!