It's kind of hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since my last yearly review post. That doesn't seem that long ago.
And indeed, when I tried to look back and think about the events of the last year, instead of just the last month, a lot of what popped into my head I had to be like, "No, that was 2011." Really, this year went by fast.
Which is amazing when you consider in many ways this year was a year of waiting for me. Last year's post ended "I'm neither sad nor happy to see it go, but eager to see what you have in store for me and my loved ones in 2012... the year Ryan and I hope to marry in..." and of course, this year has ended with Ryan and I still engaged... though in person. A huge jump.
So let's get started.
Glancing back (and it's so cool I have a blog so I can literally do just that) I think the biggest event of January was the balloon release in memory of little Sadie Mae.
And like I said, the year was one of preparation. And indeed, paperwork. I started preparation Thursdays... which faded away to be replaced by Wedding Wednesdays, which honestly were probably "Preparation Wednesdays with some mention of my upcoming wedding thrown in" because I was planning more for the move than for the wedding. But whatever.
And of course there was the whole passport fiasco... which obviously turned out all right in the end, but caused much chaos and ranting when the US government didn't believe I was who I said I was...
Proved them wrong. ;)
And of course, I turned 26. Which was crazily hard. You would think 25 would have been the hard one but it wasn't. See, when I was 16 I was diagnosed with PCOS, which amongst other things is the leading cause of infertility in women. That doesn't mean I am infertile, but the doctor told my sixteen year old self "Don't worry, you'll probably be fertile until at least 25."
Which sent a timeline ticking in my head. Honestly I thought by 25 I'd be married for years and have at least one kid. Which isn't unrealistic considering that was the case for many of the people who graduated high school with me. But I didn't even meet Ryan until there were less than 9 months left of being 24, and oh yeah, he was 8,000 miles away. And so when 25 hit, it was hard but I'd met Ryan and who know what would happen in a year? Maybe by 26, I'd be married and pregnant.
Of course, I wasn't. And even bigger on the pile? I was unemployed and living with my parents... the same situation I was in when I'd graduated college just about four years prior. Four years, the same amount of time that college took to complete, and I was in the exact same place. Ouch, it hurts even saying it now.
But of course I knew I wasn't really the same girl. And that I had had jobs, that my relationship was better and healthier than the crappy one I was in when I graduated college. That God had taken and shaped me through the trials into a stronger woman of God...
But I still sunk into a several week slump.
Then a huge thing happened for Ryan: He got a new job! We'd been searching since August 2011 when he felt called to leave his old job. And really, that was why we were waiting to get married. With both of us unemployed, it was impossible. He'd had job offers but they weren't enough because we had to consider what salary could we both live on, since when I moved to India I'd be ineligible to work for over a year (which is where I am now).
Let's see what else? Oh right! You know how last year I highlighted weddings I'd been to? Well I only went to one in 2012, the wedding of Heather and Rick. Heather is my sister's fiance's sister, and also an alumna of the same college I graduated from, though we didn't attend at the same time.
Another even that transpired was my best friend Tabitha's son's first birthday party. It was pretty crazy that he was one... and that she was already pregnant with twin girls!
Then let's see. Well, in the spring last year I really started throwing myself into growing this blog. That's when I saw the ad selling blog I mentioned in my last post and began having a vision for the future. It's also true that it's through blogs you often find other blogs, and I had *finally* found blogs similar to my own. It's not that I'd never seen some, but most of the blogs I found still were off in some ways, and I found my niche... and I also relaxed about my niche, because I'm not just a niche-y blogger. (For you non-blogger, a niche is like what category your blog fits into. Mine is a Christian Lifestyle blog, for the most part, though it's also book-y and now international. There are mommy blogs and techie blogs and fashion blogs and crafty blogs and etc. As you know, I like to dabble.) This is when growth really started happening with my blog.
Then Ryan got a NEW new job. One of the resumes he'd sent out had a better company calling him a few weeks after accepting the first new job. And to be honest, he was miserable at the first new job. So it seemed right to us to go for the new new job. I am still grateful for the first one, as it pulled us out of waiting and into actively planning the move, but I am glad that he found a job he prefers and also, pays a little better.
Oh! And my sister Alison graduated from college! Then she moved back home... where I was living. So that made for some good times. Seriously.
Alison pretty much immediately went to the local Science Center to volunteer. She was a Physics major, with a math minor and collaterals [mini-minors, yeah, my college didn't have them either] in astronomy and biology. Within three weeks they were paying her... and one day, I helped them out in a cool answer-to-prayer story.
Around this time we had a baby shower for Tabby's twins. And then of course there was the fourth of July. I also finished up one Bible Study I'd been having with my friend Anne, and we were brainstorming another. And my friend Erika had come back. She'd been a teacher and was off for the summer, and also not planning on going back to her old school so she was around all the way until I moved. (Well, and is still around, it's just me that disappeared.) There was also a baby shower for my friend Stephanie. And the Bible Study with Erika and Anne.
Then I started going into Spartanburg with Alison. She's been moved up from being paid here and there to being on the pay roll as official part time staff. And her fiance moved to Augusta, GA... and she accompanied him while still maintaining her job in Spartanburg (three hours away). What this entailed was living in Augusta four days, then coming to Spartanburg for three. So she was here every Saturday, and I started hitching rides with her into town and wandering Spartanburg... a wonderful time for which I am thankful.
And Tabitha's babies were born! They'd given me and everyone several good scares as Tabby had gone into early labor many times, and been put on bedrest for half her pregancy... but they came at a perfectly healthy 36 weeks, the average gestation for twins. And it turned out they were identical!
And then I started to go to Merge, so I really kind of was attending two churches, though the second was technically a ministry. Went to the fair with Tabitha. And the international festival. And tons and tons of stuff.
I got my visa and then a while later, my plane ticket...
...and life was a whirlwind...
It was say goodbye, pack, prepare.... everything. A whirlwind that I was so caught up in I didn't probably blog about. I took tons of pictures, but honestly, I still don't have time to share them with you right now because I have a New Year's Eve party to get ready for and I'm sitting here completely not ready trying to type this to you because I promised that I would. And it's fun. But mainly because I promised. But I'm making you another promise. I will, eventually, tell you about "The Goodbye Tour" as I jokingly called the crazy days before I left and about the "The Journey" which is quite literally the journey I took to leave the US and come here.
And then... I was here. In India. With Ryan. Yay!
The first two weeks were fun vacationer mode and and adjusting. And week two I started trying to blog more regularly again. And then week three was culture shock... which again, I still need to tell you about.
But they say culture shock comes in waves, and it receded in time for Christmas, which was fabulous. And then we went to see a lady about a dog... more about that soon!
And this weekend? Some more culture shock. Wave two, coming at me... but I'm enduring and I don't want to go home. I just wish India would be a little more normal. Hahaha...
Okay, that's all for now. I love you, dear blog readers, and I will be taking all your suggestions to heart in the coming year. (Haven't chimed in? Please do! Yesterday I called for your input here.)
A joyous, joyous New Year to you all! (And no, it's not to late to get free ad space. See yesterday's post.)