Our recent visit to New York in one word? Relaxing. Surprising, because when I think of NYC I think of sensory overload. The 6 hour drive coupled with parking issues and various train and subway connections was exhausting, but it was lovely to settle into our friend’s cramped apartment, cuddle with his fluffy cats, and have the confidence of city dwellers to back us up as we adventured around the grid of gray streets teeming with hustlers, tourists, and commuters.
Our itineray was relaxed this time around, but we still got to take in attractions unique to NYC. On Sunday, we attended Lower Manhattan Community church, then headed over to China Town for 4-for-a-dollar dumplings with church friends. On Monday, we took the long commute over to The Cloisters, a museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval monasteries and chapels. We ate Venezulean street food for lunch, then took the evening off.
We watched lots of Friends, ate lots of bagels, and drank coffee from the corner coffee shop.
On Tuesday, we stopped into a few vintage shops, shopped at the American Apparel Outlet, and ate delicious Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches in the East Village for lunch. We lounged until evening, then headed out to Brooklyn to attend a New Year’s Eve party. A fun anecdote: the hosts had received mail addressed to Sufjan Stevens, who apparently recently moved into their old apartment in the same building!
We spent the final hours of 2013 with new and old friends, discussing our favorite moments and greatest achievements of the year. Midnight came quietly. We idled away the night with a few more episodes of Friends and the sort of odd conversations that tend to arise in the wee hours of the morning.
The planting is hard but
Up against nature’s grounding force
through mildewing grime
Would you – human –
with free will, with choice
ever push? Eat dirt,
The mums are stronger
It wasn’t their choice
Look! If it’s light and
dew you want
you already have it.
in your watery
thoughts, you were
already taken Up
You have already fought
You are a golden mum
echoing light on each
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
2012 was a long year.
In 2012, I:
- quit fashion blogging.
- opened Water Lily Thrift (and sold more than 50 items on etsy alone!)
- quit the craft store where I worked as a framer for nearly a year.
- got poison ivy and experienced ‘roid rage.
- celebrated Daniel’s and my two year anniversary in St. Augustine.
- considered many academic and career options.
- sewed a lot of things, including curtains, pillows, skirts, and a dress.
- cooked more than ever before (and kind of enjoyed it).
- became passionate about fair trade and buying second hand.
- converted almost all of my makeup to organic.
- learned barista skills.
- photographed my newlywed friends.
- became a better photographer.
- won a couple giveaways.
- wrote a few poems I’m proud of.
- went antiquing often.
- read 25 books!
- moved to Charlottesville.
- felt lonely, became better friends with myself, and made awesome new friends.
- hosted Thanksgiving.
- visited the Shenandoah Valley.
- toured Florida Caverns and Luray Caverns.
- kayaked with Andrea.
- wrote 252 blog posts.
- bought some pretty good clothes.
- went on a country road adventure (and crossed the FL-GA line) with my sister to photograph old barns.
- played a lot of Barbies with the seven year old I babysat (I miss her).
- went to Lowry Park Zoo.
- attended two weddings and a high school graduation.
- had my wedding featured on Ruche’s blog.
- was featured in the company newsletter for great customer service.
- took nearly 1,000 photos (maybe more).
- dyed my hair blonde (not doing that again).
- ate lots of wonderful Asian food.
- photographed some grad school graduate friends.
- photographed a baptism.
- quit church and found a church I love.
- took adult ballet classes.
- expanded my graphic tee collection (narwhals and elephants and cats, oh my).
- painted, scrapbooked, modpodged, and canvas-stretched.
- became a pet mice and rat owner. Oh, rodents.
- saw a Bluegrass legend in concert.
- felt defeated and uncertain.
- felt confident and content.
- had Christmas with part of Daniel’s family.
- visited Baltimore.
- experienced snow for the first time in a long time.
- experimented with varied depths of field.
- had horrible and wonderful work experiences.
- felt humbled by the love of companions and the beauty of the natural world.
It’s not often that I feel that a year carried its full weight in time. But this year held a lot of change of both the psychological and the physical sort. I changed jobs three times, moved several states away, blogged a lot, opened an online business, doubted myself, loved myself, read many books, practiced patience and self-control, hosted parties, cooked real food, ate at good restaurants, played with Barbies, went to bars, discussed personal struggle with great vulnerability, put on fronts, argued, cried, practiced compassion, found a church community, adopted causes, voted, felt stupid, felt brilliant, slept in, woke up early, put my foot in my mouth, and spoke eloquently.
I overheard a woman at a restaurant in Baltimore telling her friend that she was glad 2012 was over. I have no desire to redo any part of this tumultuous year but I’m thankful for how the experience, transition, and room for contemplation have changed me. I feel that I, and my life situation, have changed for the better this year. There’s no reason things won’t keep getting better. Thanks for everything, 2012: the chaos and the calm, the tears and the laughter, the boredom and the ecstasy.