01 January 2011

A Look Back at 2010

It is hard to believe that it is the last day of 2010. It seems like only yesterday that it was May and I was getting ready to graduate. I wish I could say that I have grand party plans for tonight, but in reality I am probably going to bed early. I have to be up at 4:15AM (an ungodly hour) to drive my Dad to the airport. He's off to Hawaii while the rest of us freeze here in Maryland. :)

Resolution Run, January 1, 2010
January started off with my third race ever - the Resolution Run in Patterson Park. Hideously cold that day, the 5k race itself was quite fun and set the year off right. After several epic snow showers in Maryland during winter break, I returned to St. Mary's for my final (and much anticipated) undergraduate semester. 

If I had thought that Maryland was done with snow for the winter, I was wrong. February brought two major snow events which the weather channel labeled 'Snowpocalypse'. For the first time in my undergraduate career, St. Mary's canceled classes. In fact, we missed so many days due to the blizzards that I did not have biology, my only real class, for three weeks. In the early days of the blizzard, my suitemates and I would tunnel through the 8+ inches of snow to the Campus Center for meals, seeking shelter in Schaeffer or Montgomery Halls when the wind proved too much. By the end, we were subsisting off canned soup and wheat thins because the walk was too much of an effort. Had I had my way, I would have stayed within the (relative) warmth of Waring Commons and ventured out only go to the gym, but my responsibilities at the Campus Store required me to make the journey to the Campus Center, oftentimes at 6:30AM. The highlight of the entire month, however, had to be Valentine's Day. My boyfriend and I drove 2 hours from St. Mary's County to Wheaton, MD to the Royal Mile Pub, a traditional Scottish pub. The food was excellent and made the horrible drive (I got lost, in rush hour, on a busy road that the 5 foot snow piles had narrowed down to 1 1/2 lanes) completely worth it.

No crazy costumes for us on Mardi Greens: we were being bad ass
March was hellish: my rough draft of my St. Mary's Project was due before spring break, which meant that I wrote 75 pages in a little over three weeks. I spent most of my waking hours (which numbered around 18 each day) in the library and was generally miserable to be around. Still, I did manage to get in some fun in the form of the massive Mardi Greens party and a pre-St. Patrick's Day event, which Chris and I dominated by bringing Irish flag colored jello shots. I even managed to get my photograph in the student paper by participating in the Mardi Greens parade. It was smaller than previous years, but a group of about 30 upperclassmen marched through every open building on campus (underclassmen dorms, Townhouse crescent, the Greens, the library, and Campus Center), banging pots and pans, and singing 'When the Saints Come Marching In'. I somehow managed to bang a whole in the bottom of my plastic bowl and left the parade when we reached my boyfriend's dorm, but it was great fun all the same.

Run for Hospice 5k
Chris enjoying a turkey leg at the Celtic Festival. These things make life worth living.
April was momentous because I finished my St. Mary's Project, 'Living Truths in Dying Times': A Social Examination of Plague in Early Modern England'. At over 125 pages, finishing it made life in general seem surreal. I finished my last undergraduate class, competed in the Run for Hospice 5k (winning 2nd in my age group) for a PR, and went to the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival.

WC57 in New York City!

Title slide of my SMP presentation

At the Bodleian Library
May was bittersweet. I presented my SMP, wrote a 30-page paper in under 2 days, and graduated from college. My friend Alex took our entire suite on an amazing trip to New York where we saw Phantom of the Opera and experienced all that New York City had to offer. Two days after I returned from NYC, it was time for me to leave the US. On the day I left, I ran a 'around 10k' trail race with my boyfriend. It was the hardest race that I have ever completed and involved fording a waist deep river, running up mini-mountains, and crossing train tracks. Less than six hours later, my father and I flew to the UK, where we visited my old haunts of Oxford and London.

Edinburgh Castle

View from Arthur's Seat
Chris was our guide's favorite on the ghost tour. She kept choosing him to act out her stories.
After a glorious Daddy-Daughter week in England, it was time to say goodbye to my father. He left for the US and I flew north to Edinburgh where I would be spending my summer serving an internship at the US Consulate. Returning to Edinburgh, where I had lived during my junior year abroad, was not as stressful as I thought it would be. I was already familiar with the city and so in some ways it was as if I were returning home. Much harder to adjust to was working 9-5 (and sometimes longer) and the fact that the sun didn't set until 11PM. The month ended well, with my friend Chris coming to visit!

Harley Davidson sponsored the Consulate party so it was only natural that I get a picture on one of their bikes.

Drew making his way to the marker at the top of Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis = conquered.

Bettyhill, Scotland
July was by far the best month. After months of preparation, the Consulate's 4th of July celebration went off without a hitch (on my 22nd birthday incidentally!). Best of all was the fact that my boyfriend and his family, stopping in Scotland on their way home from a wedding in Greece, were in attendance. I accompanied them on a trip through the Highlands to the very northern coast of Scotland where Drew's grandfather had been born (in Bettyhill). On the way we experienced the temperamental Scottish weather, climbed the tallest mountain in the UK (Ben Nevis), and learned that Scots-Gaelic is incredibly hard to pronounce.

Volcanic rock, Isle of Staffa

Fingal's Cave, Isle of Staffa

Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona

Kerrera Castle

Oh, Scotland
After the Patrick Henry Half Marathon
The first few days of August were holidays in Scotland and I took advantage of the four day weekend by traveling to Oban on the west coast. Since no trip to the west coast can be complete without an excursion to the Hebrides, I boarded the ferry and went to the Islands of Mull, Staffa, and Iona. On my final day, I completed a 14 mile hike around the Island of Kerrera (population: 40). Before I knew it, it was the 14th and I was on a plane for the US. It was wonderful to be home, and I spent the time catching up with my friends, family, and boyfriend. However, the most memorable moment of all had to be the 28th of August, when I completed my first half marathon - the Patrick Henry Half in Ashland, VA - in 1 hour and 49 minutes. (Perhaps equally memorable was hopping in the car immediately after, driving 3 hours home to Laurel, showering, and then driving 2 hours to St. Mary's to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday).

Gates to my university, King's College London, at the Strand campus

Tower Bridge
September arrived and the countdown to my departure for the UK began. On the 17th, in a flood of tears at leaving behind everything I knew, I boarded a plane for my move to London. I started grad school, began cross country practice, and made new friends. A month of change, to be sure.

Along the Thames
A month of cross country races, classes, and apple festivals. My friend Veronica made the long journey from Wales to come visit.

Dad with his new friend just 'hanging' out at Baker Street's Sherlock Holmes Museum
Dad came to visit me over Thanksgiving break, thus providing me with the extra motivation that I needed to get through the last few weeks of the semester. We traveled far and wide around London doing all of the 'touristy' things that I would otherwise be too embarrassed to do on my own. The crowning moment had to be when I surprised Dad by taking him to see The Jersey Boys on London's West End in celebration of his 60th birthday.

KCL Cross Country team at Hackney Marshes

Snow in London?!?

Drew & I at the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler
With the end of term in sight, the 17 days of December that I spent in London seemed to drag on. I wrote papers for classes, made presentations, and went to the gym. The last 2010 race of the London Colleges League was run at Hackney Marshes, and KCL cleaned up in the medals, with our Women's I and II teams winning 1st and 2nd, and our Men's team taking 1st. Then it was time to cross the Atlantic for winter break. Less than 15 hours after I arrived home from the UK, I ran a 5 mile race with my boyfriend, taking 2nd in my age group. Christmas came and went. I spent a wonderful Christmas day at my boyfriend's house celebrating with his family. (And Santa was kind as well: I got a Garmin and a Kindle. I am set for life!!!) And now, although I can scarcely believe it, it is the last day of December. Tomorrow marks the first day of 2011 and in 17 days I return to the UK for a five-month stint.

All in all, 2010 has been pretty momentous. My life has changed so much in the past 12 months, mostly for the better. I look forward to what 2011 holds.

someecards.com - Thanks for not laughing at my absurdly unattainable New Year's resolutions

1 comment:

  1. thanks for stopping by! So fine to find some more MDer's =) I was at Celtic Solstice too =) although I had my 20 miler the next day so let's just say I didn't exactly race and didn't place haha