Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Looking Back at 2011

Credit: Teguh Santosa
[This entry is more or less just for me but if you want to read go ahead...]

Truthfully, the thought of reviewing 2011 is a bit exhausting but I feel as though it is needed.  2011 will always be the year that changed my perspectives almost every aspect of life. Last year had many high highs and lows, often they came hand in hand. Not only were events a mixed bag but life was just insanely busy. I think it was a rough year for the world too, as a local news station marked 2011 as a "tumultuous year." Really, for me, I could sum it up as being the year of unexpectedness; so much that when something rather large, bad or crazy happened I would laugh and say "of course, because it is 2011."

To this end, 2011 did not start off well. As mentioned in a previous post, I had inklings that last year wouldn't be spectacular... I knew from the moment the "ball dropped," transitioning from 2010 to 'l1 that it was going to be another year, not one full of hope.

My intuition was correct and on January 10th, 2011 we had to put down our last kitty, one of the "Originals." While this may sound trivial to some, it was very devastating. I can't believe that it has been 365 days without Minnie. I think one of the hardest parts of that experience was having to feel the reality that life is temporary and what we love may be gone tomorrow. Perhaps this is a cliche -- it is often a reaction to losing something you love, but last January, it hit me hard. I think it is safe to say that the event itself shot me into a depression and I was numb for quite some time. I grieved over my loss and all others that I have lost in the past. 

While it was awful feeling the way that I did, purposefully, it opened my heart in other ways. It's true- endings do mean new beginnings. A few days after losing Minnie, I was working at Hallmark with a dear co-worker and a customer from Rainier, WA (or St. Helens?) came in to buy some items. Around that time a horrible tragedy had occurred in Washington that involved at least one police officer being killed. This poor lady also knew some other people who had recently passed away; she was clearly traumatized. My co-worker and I talked with her and allowed her to vent. I had so much empathy for that woman- I felt sad for her too. Meeting her was humbling as well, I needed to be reminded that I wasn't the only one who was struggling... and others have gone through so much worse.

(After contemplating this blog post, I thought it made more sense to make categories versus going month by month)

Unexpected Deaths
- Minnie in January
- A family friend from the beach died from a heart attack in February
- Another family friend, a lovely 90 year old lady died in the Spring
- In the world: Steve Jobs

Natural Disasters
- Awful tornado season in the U.S., particularly in Alabama and Joplin in Spring & Summer
- Huge wildfires in AZ
- In the world: Christchurch, NZ (Feb. 22nd), 6.3 earthquake that was very devastating to that city. Massive 9.1 earthquake in Japan (March 11th)- I will never forget those images of destruction...

- Oregon Ducks to the BCIS game on January 10th in which they lost... I was so numb that day.
- Green Bay packers won the Super Bowl on Feb. 6th!

Unexpected Romance
- On Valentine's Day I was asked out by a very kind gentleman, but unfortuantely he called and I answered the phone in front of lots of customers... I was very shocked and didn't know what to say. My boss ended up yelling at him for calling at that time and I felt mortified. Poor guy!
- A week later I decided to email him and apologize for the situation and that I was flattered he asked me out.
- After a month of talking we met for coffee on March 22nd... and we are still going out. Of course, at the time I thought it was onlycoffee. ;-)

New Furry Friends
- On President's Day, Feb. 21st, we decided we were ready for a cat! We wanted a totally different cat than our previous three... and boy, oh BOY did we get a different beast! Cheese Puff, a very rotund orange Tabby  came to live with us.
- On Armed Forces Day, May 21st, a black and white kitten was added to our family! We didn't know at the time that she would turn out to be quite the diva. She truly lives up to her name, Coco Chanel (originally Coco Puff- she is puffy when mad!).
-Of course, girl cat doesn't get along with boy so we have to keep them separate. We have come up with many different solutions but now have it figured out. She's the house gal and he is outside most of the time- for the most part it is peaceful here...until she, by our accident, sneaks her way to Puff and smacks him. haha World War III here sometimes!

- Enjoyed the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29th... Yes, I got up super early and watched the wedding live. It was great to have an uplifting occasion in the world!
- Granny turned 100 this year and we had a party for her on July 31st!
- Sarah's (now husband), D graduated from high school in June and we went to the ceremony to support him.
- D graduated from Basic Training in the Army in November.
- Sarah and D got married on December 31st. :)

Job Changes & Work
- At the end of May, I was given a tutoring position at Sylvan and I gladly accepted. This couldn't have happened at better time too. I formally quit Hallmark - though I will say, I still miss being with the cards! haha
- Continued to substitute! Had my longest consecutive sub job in December, for 4 days. I thoroughly enjoyed taking over the class for that week. It was a great experience!

Political Leaders Removed from their Positions
-May 1st: Osama bin Laden was killed
- October (not sure on date): Mommar Gadhafi was killed
- November (don't remember the date either- might've been close to the 11th): Kim Jong Il of North Korea died, so he was 'removed' through natural causes.

Bizarre News & Events
- Gabrielle Giffords was shot on January 8th in Tuscon... her story was closely followed all year. What a horrific thing to experience- amazingly enough she lived and is recovering very well through therapy. She has one heck of a story!
- Mom broke her wrist in June, which added to the nutty-ness of the year.
- Occupy Wall Street Movement spread across the nation and the world. Portland's Occupy protest started in October and lasted for quite awhile.
-- Plenty of other weird news but this was one of the main stories.

- 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Wow!

Family Change
- In June my parents separated -- my dad moved out to his own place. This has been a good change for everyone and it is something I intend to write about soon, but am still mulling over how to write about it appropriately.

Travel, Coming & Going
- I went out of the country for the first time to Costa Rica, August 10th to the 21st. That was a very life changing experience! I am so thankful for that opportunity.
- Mom went out of the country two times for work; Brazil end of July (for 4 days) and Singapore (for a week) in September.
- Our family friend from Costa Rica stayed with us twice this year. She stayed with us for about 2 weeks end of July to beginning of August, and then for approximately 2.5 weeks in October to early November.
- Sarah went to Georgia two times to see D; for Family Weekend and Graduation.

- Made more progress to completing my Master's. My degree plan changed this past summer because I had the option to add in a Reading endorsement instead of doing the typical Master's courses. :) Yay for a good change!
- Successfully completed my ESOL courses and practicum!

Ah... 2011 it was quite the year. I know I am forgetting plenty of things but I think this gives one a good idea that it was a year full of highs and lows. As I might have mentioned already, life was just non-stop busy busy BUSY!

2011 truly taught me how to go with the flow.... Oh did it ever!

I hope this year is much better :)

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