14 February 2013

an anniversary

Four years ago today, I was in my last semester of college. I was writing my senior thesis - something about Kenneth Burke, mostly because he was/is one of my favorite theorists. I had joined the Peace Corps. I got my passport that Christmas and was just a few weeks away from finding out my assignment. I was really hoping for Mongolia or Cambodia. I was in Seussical and our performances started later that week. It was Saturday and I had a voicemail from my dad when I came out of rehearsal. I hopped on my bike and returned his call. I think strawberries were on sale at Foodland that weekend. I didn't stop riding while he talked to me and didn't stop crying for a long time. 

Within a couple a days, I had dropped classes, postponed graduation, dropped out of the Peace Corps (as I was no longer qualified because I would not be a college grad by my departure date, and also because when you experience a big life change or a close family death, they cancel your application and make you wait a year before reapplying), and flown back to Iowa. 
I spent the next week practically living at the hospice, mostly terrified of the woman who no longer looked our sounded like my grandmother. One week from Valentine's Day, I held my gram's hand as she died. 

I know everyone's grandmothers die. But mine was my babysitter, my neighbor, my teacher, my ride to and from school each day, my cheerleader at all my sports games and my concerts, my sweet tooth indulger, my Sunday night dinners, and my weeknight news. My fireplace, my warmest pillow, my most delicious book. 

Today was Travis and my's fourth Valentine's together. The past three, and this one, have all been full of a lot of my tears. Tonight he wiped them and reminded me that I carry memories and DNA in me, and that she is with me.

And I remembered how she always joked about me finding a Hawaiian boy and having a Hawaiian wedding with Hawaiian fruit punch. And I think about how Travis and I would have never happened if I had graduated that spring and gone away before the fall. And how life takes and gives, and fills you up with more than you ever thought was possible.  

01 January 2013


I got caught up in life this year and left blogging behind. I have still been doing a lot of blog reading, but not much blog writing. I figured I'd fill anyone still reading in on some big moments this year. I mean, a year-end post makes up for the rest of the year, right? 

In January, Travis and I celebrated his 24th birthday. We played in a laser maze and ate Japanese food. The laser maze was pretty much a Mission Impossible room full of lasers that you had to climb over and under. It was pretty amazing and made me feel like a super secret agent spy ninja kawaii girl.

I also began my internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in January. At that time I was commuting from Aurora and spent nearly equal time at the museum as on the train and bus. I interned four days a week, spending two days a week in Adult Programs and two days a week in Family programs.

February brought my first exhibition opening. This show was absolutely amazing and a pretty big deal.  As part of my internship, I created an audio tour playlist of songs chosen by artists in the show. I had to research the rights to the songs, find them, purchase them, and prepare them for the audio tour iPods.
Commuting was far too expensive and time consuming, so Travis and I moved into the city. We found the most amazing tiny place in Old Town, and enjoyed not having to pay for heat or hot water. Our apartment got so warm we even had the windows open all winter to let fresh air in. As much as I missed the space of the suburbs, the city has its own alluring vibe. Also, on our way out of town we went to the casino to use a chip we found and I won $750. 
In March we celebrated Ting's birthday. His friends organized a surprise party. We all held photos of Zooey Deschanel's face over our own faces when Ting came in. And Madonna music videos were playing and there was plenty of Dr. Pepper. All for you Ting!
Sean came to visit in March! We went to the planetarium and the Field Museum, the John Hancock Tower, and to the zoo. And we ate pizza and watch a Second City show. Sean stayed for about a month and a half.
Oh and we saw Portugal. The Man. Again. The guys in this band are some of the nicest ever. They recognized Travis from a Skype interview from summer 2011 and called him by name. We met up with them after both shows just to talk story. 
In April, the Magnificent Mile began to bloom.
And we spent a weekend in Iowa with my family to celebrate Sean and Nicole's birthdays. 
I also offically began working at the museum. I still spent two days a week interning in Family Programs, but began as the Education Programs Assistant part-time. 
May brought my 23rd birthday, sparkling pink lemonade, and a homemade cookie cake. Ting came over for a relaxing dinner, and Travis and I enjoyed a day at Navy Pier. 
Jane came to visit Chicago for a week! We went to the beach, did some shopping, ate A LOT of donuts and pizza, and enjoyed the parks and museums. It was so nice to see my Seoul sister. Noona!
In June I went home to Iowa to visit my dad for his birthday. We had the most delicious pork chops, salmon, corn on the cob, potatoes, and watermelon. It was my first time ever taking a train. Amtrak was horribly off schedule, but taking a train was far more relaxing than driving.
At the end of the month, we headed back to our Hawaii home! I had shave ice for breakfast almost every day, sort of got my tan back, saw some of my dear friends, spent time with family, and ate so much Asian food. 
We celebrated the lovely marriage of Kim and Pete! It was at my favorite beach and was one of the loveliest ceremonies I have seen.
Summer in the city was absolutely gorgeous, and completely magical at night.
I took another trip to Iowa in July to house sit for my parents while they visited my sister Nicole in Colorado. 
Then my dad took a train with me back to Chicago, and we enjoyed fireworks and rooftop dinners. 
And he made Travis stay up late watching sci-fi shows with him.
The first weekend in August was LOLLAPALOOZA!
I can't even say much...it deserves its own blog post.
In August, Sarah P came to visit for her 21st birthday. We ate cupcakes for breakfast, enjoyed a lunch picnic, and then explored Oz Park.
September brought goodbyes. I took a photo of my last day in my office at the museum.
And we flew back to Hawaii. 
When we arrived, we attended a dear friend's wedding and ate the most amazing luau food.

October was full of sunny skate park days.
And we grew mustaches.
I started a new job at Roberts Hawaii in November. 
We celebrated Christmas and spent lots of amazing times with friends in December.

Kelli made a surprise visit home for the holidays!

And we were all together for the first time since March 2011. And it was beautiful.

For the past few years, my friends and I have chosen a word for the year. Instead of New Years resolutions, we use this word to guide us and inspire us throughout the year.

This past year was full of changes and movement, and I'm sure that's how it will always be.

My word for 2013: