After a long and thoughtful walk through Fullersburg Woods I have had a chance to reflect on all the events of this past year; and what better time to reflect than the present? I’m astounded at how much has happened in one year, and hope I can give an accurate summary of it all.
January 1st, 2012 found me waking up long before sunrise in my dorm room at the University of Leicester in England. Together with my college friend Erica, we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Dublin, to spend some time in beautiful Ireland and Northern Ireland. From the illuminated manuscripts of the Book of Kells, to a traditional Irish music pub crawl, and finally the stormy coast at the Giant’s Causeway, my visit to Ireland was a memorable one.
But schoolwork was always calling me back to Leicester, and much of January was spent in class or at the library. But I had more international travel to look forward to: a weekend in Madrid, Spain spent exploring the streets with another college friend, Jackie. Less than a week later I was off to Berlin, Germany to visit the many astounding museums, Prussian palaces, the Berlin Wall, and a concentration camp covered in snow. It was an icy cold, but edifying experience in German history.
February and March were stressful, writing essays, choosing a dissertation topic, and applying for a museum internship. Spring Break could not come soon enough, and yet there were still diversions to pass the time; Queen Elizabeth II came to Leicester, plus a visit to the enigmatic Stonehenge, and hiking in the British countryside. The beginning of April marked the beginning of Spring Break, and a chest infection kept me stuck in my room. I hunkered down and began work on my dissertation, waiting for my parents to arrive for their 10 day visit. I enjoyed showing them the best of Leicester, and we explored Oxford, London, and stunning Blenheim Palace together, and celebrating my birthday in style.
May and June were devoted to reading, researching, interviewing and writing my dissertation, which filled most of my days. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration was a good chance to get away and go camping in Wales with friends, and Sean came all the way from Chicago to visit England for a few days, and even sat in on my Bollywood dance class. Entering into July, it seemed as though time was speeding up, and my dissertation deadline was looming. Before finishing my time at University, I saw the Olympic torch and held it for myself, made a wee trip up to Glasgow, Scotland, and had a farewell night out with my Bollywood dance class in true Bollywood style!
At the end of July, I turned in my final dissertation and packed up and moved south to Exeter, to start my internship at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. It was the best museum I could have worked at, with the most entertaining staff, lots of tea and cake, and a giraffe for a mascot. Exeter was beautiful, and I spent my weekends exploring the area, hiking in the rolling hills, and visiting the birthplace of crime writer Agatha Christie. There was time for another camping trip when friends from Leicester came down for a weekend and we piled in the car for the coast. Mom and Dad even made it to Exeter for a weekend, and helped me pack up some of my things for my impending return home. Soon enough the internship was over, and I had to say farewell again.
In mid September my brother got engaged, and soon after he came to meet me in London and we spent a few busy days there before catching a flight to Italy, and spending a few days with my friends Anna and Enrico in Verona. From there it was on into the Dolomite Mountains, then back towards Milan, with a breath-taking train journey through the Alps to boot! Completely exhausted, we returned home to Chicago at the very end of September.
The first thing I did was visit my grandparents, and family, and much of October was spent reconnecting with old friends. I soon started a holiday job working at a department store, and in my spare time I worked on a very ambitious scrapbook project. Mid November I was hired on as an intern at a children’s museum, working in their office twice a week. Better yet, I received news that I had passed my Masters course with ‘distinction’, and my dissertation got high marks. Unfortunately, my busy schedule prevented me from spending Thanksgiving Day with my relatives in Indiana, but my Grandma Smith and I kept each other company that day. Also unfortunate, our beloved dog Shadow died just a few days before Christmas, but friends and relatives have been a support as we adjust to him being gone.
Now, a few days away from the New Year, I can reflect on everything that has happened this year. This little summary serves as much an update as a reminder for myself, and I look forward to attending my graduation ceremonies in Leicester next month, and several important weddings next year. Bring on 2013!