Recapping nine important things that happened to me in 2009.  It was a great year, and I am ending the decade by starting what I hope to be a couple of new trends – first by summarizing a year with that year’s number of events and then by forecasting the next year with that year’s number of goals (the two will not be linked).  So, without further ado, here are nine important things that happened in 2009.

Twitter. Let’s be honest, getting on Twitter was a big thing for me this year.  It got me back in touch with a lot of friends and reinvigorated my thirst for news via New York Times.  Also, I got to join in on The Rescue and the Iranian Election via trending topics.  Also, Twittertracker!

Fellowship. This fall semester I was one of eight undergraduate fellows at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.  It made for a very interesting semester with many fun debates and some pretty cool speakers as well.  I got some experience, and a resume-booster, in working for a DoD grant studying conflict in Thailand too.  It also marked a corner around which I never thought I’d turn – religious studies.  I learned quite a bit about religion in the context of conflict, and I got to meet some very interesting people among fellows, staff, faculty, and guests.  I’m hoping to intern with them if possible.

The Golden Gate. I went on a trip with my parents to San Francisco this summer.  In the old days, our family tradition was a triangular trip to San Diego and Las Vegas.  For the passed few years, this has been replaced with a long haul to San Francisco where we do a variety of things.  This year we did the usual and wandered Chinatown, walked the Embarcadero, visited the Haight, and trekked the Golden Gate Bridge to see my grandpa.  New ones were the Pier 1 Farmer’s Market (lots of fun and delicious food), hung out in Sausalito, and walked through part of Golden Gate Park.  Lots of fun with the family and it was nice to be in the coldest city ever one more time.

Los Angeles. Kim and I went on our first friend-filled road trip this summer.  It turned out to be a love-hate occurrence with quite a few ups and downs.  Regardless of any low-points of the trip, including getting lost multiple times, enduring cold beach morning weather, and dragging dead weight across town, there were a number of great things.  Kim and I got to experience Six Flags together, which was an amazing thing.  Cristina, Kim, and I almost achieved our goal of riding every roller coaster.  And it was hopefully the first of many friend-filled, fun-filled road trips.

The Rescue. This April, Invisible Children embarked on a massive endeavor.  100 cities in 10 countries on 1 night.  I joined 100,000 people that night in abducting myself to help the abducted child soldiers in east-central Africa.  At the Phoenix camp I met up with a lot of friends and helped set up the abduction site around old Hayden Mill.  From there, I photographed the march and subsequently was rescued and spent the night on a field.  I was unable to join some of my friends on what turned into a seven-day trip that went Phoenix-Albuquerque-Wichita-Chicago and ended at Harpo Studios, but I did call my way to rescue sites all across the country.  In the end, all cities were rescued and it was a successful and amazing event.

Lobby Days. In June, I went on a lonely flight to our nation’s capitol.  After a half-day of isolation, I met up with Heather and Kristi.  The next morning I met dozens of friends.  The two days I spent in DC were a great lesson in lobbying and politics and were a reminder of why I am involved in the type of things in which I am involved.  It gave me a tingly feeling that I hadn’t felt in about a year and a half – like I was an integral part in something huge.  Oh, and I got to see Luis Moreno-O’Campo and John Prendergast speak in addition to getting to hang out with Jason Russell, the Resolve Uganda crew, and the Keeseys. In the end I made even more friends and completed three lobbying meetings, plus there was a lot of fun had.

Anniversary. The seventh anniversary of our first date was marked by a weekend full of fun.  I took Kim to Cricket Pavilion to see No Doubt.  The show was great and a lot of fun, and it was nice to finally have Kim see one of her all-time favorite bands play live.  We also took a short trip to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and got to see some pretty cool stuff before heading to the Wildlife World Zoo.  This zoo has some funky, exotic animals and it was really neat to see so many things.  I also got to pet a stingray for the first time in my life!  That was a weird thing.  We ended the weekend with a sit-down at As You Wish, and Kim made a really cool cupcake-shaped sugar bowl while I made a waffle cone-shaped ice cream cup.  All in all, a great way to celebrate a great occasion!

Winter Wedding. A little while ago, we made a checklist.  We talked through two topics and made a choice: winter wedding.  The timing, while moving things up a bit, makes for better planning for us with school.  Honeymoon would be more achievable.  More family and friends could attend.  Mixes her parents’ winter feel with my parents’ holiday feel.  It was just one decision, but it’s essentially the precursor to all other wedding decisions including venue and color and whatever else.  Now we just need to make those decisions! Oh and get married.

The Townhome. Kimberly and I became homeowners in November.  After a lot of talking, money-inspecting and talking with my parents, we decided to seize an opportunity and buy a townhome.  Now we are partially unpacked in a roomy unit, with plans to bring in pets and get truly settled.  It’s a little two-story place with a tiny garage and a no-yard small patio.  The neighborhood is a cute one with little lakes and flower patches.  We have plans for painting, bringing in some furniture, and decorating more as we get time and money.  This will be our home for the foreseeable future, including the rest of our undergrad years, the wedding, and maybe subsequent career-maneuvering.  It’ll be a great place to stay for the next few years and I’m very happy to be here :D

And that’s a year in review.  Stay tuned for ten goals early in the new year, and have a happy celebration while you wait.


’tis the Season

Christmas has come and passed.  Kim and I have gotten close to calling the first floor unpacked, and have had a couple of guests over to check the place out. Still have some boxes down here to sort through, and a room full of boxes upstairs.  But, in the spirit of secular gift-giving, we spruced up the place a little bit and put up a pretty (fake) tree.

Our holiday tree, with a few of the gifts for giving

We had a work party in the middle of the month, but I was forced to miss the family parties.  After not getting sick for probably a year and a half, I got a cold on Christmas Eve Eve and it has carried through to now. Yesterday I felt well enough to at least be in people’s company and got to see Kim’s family for Christmas Part II and a few of my family members for dinner at my aunt’s restaurant.  Hopefully I’ll be rearing to go with another night’s rest and can get through work just fine.

This week, Kim and I will be looking at some venues for the wedding.  We are still in the far off beginning stages, but need to at least figure out the basics (i.e. venue and date) since we’ll have some out-of-towners and the holiday-season.  Hopefully we’ll fall in love with an inexpensive, easy-to-work-with venue that’s willing to be lax on house rules.  We’ll see! I’ll update after the first few visits.

The Big Move

Recent weeks have been consumed by the big move.  The last days of November consisted of disorganized packing (throwing whatever was left into boxes and bags) and the first days of December have consisted of organized unpacking (the kitchen has been the easiest).  We have functioning rooms and are well on our way to sprucing up, but there are still some boxes.

The brightest star of unpacking was probably my day two auto faux pas.  We had finally cleared the garage of the excess entertainment center and desk.  I excitably pulled Mariah in and parked all nice and pretty.  Made the last minute decision to move slightly to the right to make room for laundry.  A few seconds later my passenger side mirror was flying across the garage.  Since then a hefty amount of tape has patched it up rather nicely, and its held against freeway driving and a couple windy days.

Other than my mishap, the move has been relatively pleasant.  It’s an uncomfortable but very exciting thought when we find a minor problem but cannot call it in since we own the place.  Far more good than bad, definitely.  Hopefully the boxes will unpack themselves while we go through finals and come mid-December we will be ready to have visitors and I can put up a few pictures.

In the mean time, enjoy the taped mirror: