2011 was for me, a year of huge hurdles and triumphs. I entered into the year, dependent, close minded, and scared of my own shadow- and I emerged from the fire and flames, an independent woman.
The year began with the wedding of the best friend of my preschool to elementary school years. It was lovely to see her in her beautiful dress, and how the groom did silly slow motion dances with his mom on the dance floor. It was sort of a hard moment in retrospect, because in a way, it was saying goodbye to a childhood of pushing one another off slides, playing Animorphs and X-Men, and welcoming the beginning of our adult lives.
Then Adventure Struck as my friend from the theatre days, Shelly, took me to the SF Valentines Day Pillow Fight! In a failing relationship with a soldier at the time, I took out my aggression on the huge flash mob that took up an entire plaza and warranted media coverage. It was so much fun to just hit people in the face with my pillow, and in a one on one duel with a huge older guy- I emerged the victor! It was a rainy, adrenaline filled night, and Shells and I came home with feathers in our wet hair and clothes.
Aside from new boys entering in and out of the picture, things continued on in a pretty slow and steady pace. I got to do some fun things with friends, like visiting the SF Symphony and seeing Next To Normal (Got to See the Original Leading Lady Alice Ripley), with my bestie Tyree, who got his credit card stolen.
Unfortunately we lost my Oma- the most inspirational and wonderful woman in my life. She passed away on May 23 in her hospital bed, with the family holding her hands. Oma was the best grandmother that a girl could ever ask for. She had the most loving sense of humor, was always laughing, and cheerful. As a young girl, she survived a war and crawled through a battle field with her little brother in Indonesia, left her boyfriend to start an independent life for herself in Holland, and then started over again with my grandfather when they came to America with two baby girls. I want to be just like her. Brave, loving, compassionate, and loved by everyone who's ever met her.
Losing Oma was one of the hardest things I'd ever been through, and I still can't write this without crying. I miss her a lot. But Oma was never one to shy away from adventures, and she always encouraged me to go on them. The summer after she passed away, I did just that. Had as many adventures as I possibly could.
I went to the beach in SF and had a bonfire right after school let out. My friends decided it would be a bonfire to get rid of bad memories, and so we brought old school work, old mementos from ex boyfriends, and work stuff- and we threw them all into the flames.
Next My Oldest Best friends and I took off to Carmel, on a mission to watch the sun set over the beach to welcome the summer. It was a little bit too foggy to see any sort of sunshine over the beach, but it was still a beautiful day of hiking, playing in the water, and making bonfires.
Probably the most Important day in 2011, was June 20th. I gave my life to Jesus that summer day on the way to work, driving through the hills in the dry summer heat. I'd been taking a few months to look into things, make sure my faith was real, and I grew so close to God that I literally couldn't look at a sunset without real thankfulness and threatening tears. So I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I went up to Coloma on the American River, and was baptized.
I can't imagine where I'd be, if He was never there to rescue me.
As if SF bonfires, Carmel, and tubing down the American River weren't enough water for me, I still had to hit SF again and walk barefoot across the Golden Gate. I made some new friends from camp, and we went on a nice long adventure in the city.
Then of course we had to hit Santa Cruz. No summer is complete until you've hit the beach there, cruised the Boardwalk, and then grabbed some pizza. We walked through two beaches, under a cliff, got our clothes relatively wet, and then rode a roller coaster.
By Far the greatest adventure though- was SKYDIVING for my friend's college going away party!
That's right, I got my wimpy little self to hop out of a plane.
Now if you know me well, you know that I get super car sick really easily, and I can't manage to keep my stomach on swing sets. But I took it like a trooper and with my instructor's help, we even did some really neat spins in the air. Aside from the part when I first jumped, and completely forgot his instructions and flipped us upside down, it was amazing.
The adrenaline rush alone was worth it, let alone the gorgeous scenery, and the feeling of actually flying.
Now Naturally 2011 had to have some surprise up its sleeve- and an old face came back around. I was surprised to find that my last serious committed boyfriend (Anthony), had slipped back into my life with a surprising ease despite the havoc I'd reeked on our relationship a year prior. He too had a spiritual reawakening, so we began to hang out and do church things together, which was a welcome and wonderful change.
Of course, my favorite holiday of all is Halloween, so this Halloween the thing to do was go to Great America and experience Fright Fest! Okay, let it be known that I am a huge horror film buff. I love being scared. But I am also easily terrified, and when I'm terrified I nervous laugh, which makes me nervous cry. Needless to say, I was clinging to Ant's arm the entire time, sniveling like a baby, and throwing him at all of the scary men in masks.
He and I also visited the Winchester Mystery house for the first time, for their Halloween Night tour. There was a huge maze in the Gardens and across the side of the house, with people who shot at you, and strange and creepy sets. Winchester itself was intriguing, and it was an experience. We both agreed however, that while the vibe was more intense by flashlight, it would be worth it to come back and truly examine the details of the place in full daylight.
Anthony and I went to the tree lighting at Union Square in SF a couple of weeks later (Which was Beautiful), and briefly reignited our relationship, before coming to the conclusion that we were no longer right for one another and parting ways.
That didn't put a damper on my holiday spirits however, as the Christmas season is always so busy I barely have time to think. As an alumni Music Master, I had the reunion to go to, and had fun seeing old friends again. Then as tradition states, my best friends from Music Masters and I, set out to do our Annual Grand Island Mansion Brunch. We all take the opportunity to dress up, eat extremely expensive and wildly fancy meals, and cheer on the new team of Music Masters. This year was lovely as usual, and we were able to explore the upper floor of the mansion, which is usually off limits unless you're with a wedding party. It was just nice to be with friends.
The year ended with a traveling Christmas and Birthday celebration (My brother Jordan was born on Christmas), from one family member's house to another. He enjoyed a really chill Birthday, and we spent our morning watching Home Alone as per tradition, and opening presents with Diggles the Christmas Cat.
The day after Christmas, my ex roomate and closest girlfriend Michelle, took me to the Christmas House in Martinez. It's just an average house, that is literally dripping Christmas decorations and playing music. It's breathtaking.
We met the sweet elderly gentleman responsible for the loveliness, and signed his guest book. It was his 29th year.
New Years we spent at home, counting down the minutes and playing our old school Super Nintendo's Mario Cart.
2011 was made of ups and downs, but there were a prevailing amount of ups. From dating a soldier at the beginning of the year, to getting a second chance to be with Anthony who I was still very much in love with. From being relationship dependent, to gaining my freedom and independence. I lost a lot of important and influential people, but I became a stronger person and found my faith.
And I was so blessed to be able to enjoy the beach with friends, sky diving, Winchester, Great America- and all of these beautiful things that many other people aren't as fortunate to experience.
God's hand was on 2011.
I can't wait to see what this new year brings.