Friday, December 30, 2011

Year In Review: 2011

I was trying to think what I could update this blog with today and nothing really came to mind. I had a busy and interesting Christmas weekend, but nothing particularly worth noting here. Then I realized what today is, the last day before New Year's Festivities begin, so I thought that I would sit down and reflect on what the previous year has meant for me. 

As I grow older, the years fly by more and more quickly (my niece noted as such on Christmas, and I had to break it to her that it only gets worse). The same was true of 2011, yet when I really think on everything that has happened, it's difficult to believe all of it really only happened in one year.

Without going into any details, I will simply state that the end of last year was pretty terrible. I very much enjoyed myself last New Year's Eve, however, with the help of some old friends who have happily re-entered my life, and new ones who still remain. I'd started making good friends at my new job, and was busy exploring my new city, Ann Arbor, and its surrounding area. Sometimes, coworkers really can be a blessing, and there is such a sense of camaraderie in these stores that I find refreshing. It's almost like a family, complete with the obnoxious cousin that you really wish would just be fired already.

At the end of last year, I had also just started messaging back and forth with this guy I'd met online. We were sending each other rather lengthy messages (by internet standards) multiple times a day. I often woke up to a message in the morning, sent off a reply, then came home to find another waiting for me. I'd never communicated thus with a stranger so quickly before! Nor as enthusiastically. I hadn't intended on meeting anyone beyond my little circles in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, but after a couple of weeks, I decided this guy was too good to pass up, and I asked him for coffee on January 27th.

About this time, the Toyota Corolla that I had inherited from my father suicided itself quite spectacularly on the side of I-94 almost exactly halfway between Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, smoking hood and all. I had Memphis with me, and it was cold. A tow truck was sent out from Kalamazoo where the car had just been retrieved from the mechanic's (it spent more time there than in my mother's driveway on my visits), and I called in to let work know that I might be a little late. Luckily, a state trooper stopped and took me and Memphis to the next exit where she dropped us off at a Ford dealership/garage. The guys inside were very friendly, made me fresh coffee, and even gave me a piece of someone's birthday cake. Sadly, there was nothing to cheer up poor little Memphis, especially not after he wet his carrier.

And so, not only was January 27th my first date with Greg, but also the first (and thus far last) time I rode Ann Arbor's public transportation. The Bay Area clearly spoiled me on this front, and I was somewhat bewildered by the total lack of stop warnings. If you don't know where you are going on the bus in Ann Arbor, good luck to you. I suggest memorizing a map before you set out, then pressing your face against the window and keeping a sharp eye out for familiar road signs.

By the time we were to have our second date in February, I had purchased my dream car, a 2010 Honda Fit (ma bichette) for a wickedly good deal. And I say "were to have" because a ridiculous blizzard swept through the area, and though Detroit roads were fine and mostly clear, Ann Arbor's roads were covered in three feet of snow. My apartment complex was quite on top of things and went through a few times clearing the parking lots. The city, however, was not so swift, and, in the effort to save money, did not plow the main roads until the next day, and did not get to the neighborhoods for another three days. There was also a pile of snow behind my car that went past the back bumper and halfway up the back window. I had to wait at least a week for my brother to come from Kalamazoo with a shovel so we could dig me out.

Since Greg left the next day for a vacation in Seattle, I didn't get that second date until the first week of March. He'd mentioned he was going to see Gaelic Storm perform in Ferndale. I was not really at all familiar with their music, though I knew that my parents loved them and had seen them in Ann Arbor the previous year, the last concert my father ever attended. So there was some history there. I don't think Greg realized that I was only vaguely familiar with the band when I said I wanted to go with him. I honestly bought the ticket just to see Greg again. 

It was the best $20 I've ever spent, and not because I enjoyed the show. The people in front of us were incredibly drunk and kept knocking into me, which I guess had the benefit of pushing me closer to Greg, though it certainly wasn't what I was consciously going for at the time. What I did take the initiative on, though, was after the show in the parking lot when Greg walked me to my car. We had our first kiss, and I was sad to bid him goodnight. I seem to recall him promising, as he walked away, to wear his leather pants on our next date, which he did not do and I was very disappointed.

From then on, we saw each other about every week, and I was soon invited to attend a weekly game night that he and some of his friends have. I believe the conversation went something like this:

Kati: Is that your pirate bag on the table?
Me: Yes.
Kati: Okay, she can stay.

And I've attended nearly every week since.

That spring also included my whirlwind trip across America when I flew out to join my beloved pumpkin Kimmy outside Los Angeles and we drove from there to Ann Arbor in four days (she'd been accepted into school here). Boy, did we see a lot! The canyons and mountains are gorgeous! I witnessed vistas I'd never known existed. I even visited Doc Holiday's grave! Or a memorial to him. They're not exactly sure where he was buried, just somewhere nearby. I climbed a steep, muddy trail in sandals and a skirt to reach the tiny mountaintop graveyard while it was snowing and the air was thin, and I feel proud. My only regret is that we didn't have more time to spend seeing more sites on our trip. 

My ensuing adventures with Kimmy and Greg are pretty much what this blog is made of since it was in July that I started writing it, so I guess this entry gives you the detailed backstory. There is a lot of stuff planned for 2012 already. Greg meets the rest of my family that he did not meet on Christmas on New Year's Day, and a lot more of my friends at a huge party in Kalamazoo on New Year's Eve. We hope to attend the Plymouth Ice Festival January 21st and have plans to visit Seattle in early March. We also simply must take a trip to Chicago since Kimmy has never been, and it has been far too long for me. 

Until the next adventure. I wish everyone a happy new year!

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