Well, here we are. December 31, 2008. A year ago, I was in Israel, getting ready for a night of Jerusalem bars and kosher hamburgers with garlic mayo. Let’s review the past year:

High points:

Interning at the Baltimore Sun. Sam Zell can’t offer me a buyout/fire me if I’m not getting paid!

Scoring the first season of Greek on DVD from the free-stuff table in the Sun’s newsroom. Nobody likes a social piranha!

Graduating from Maryland. For this, I credit all the wine I drank as I wrote my papers senior year. Example:

“The survey results raise new and troubling questions regarding public opinion of the media. An article published in 2007 in the Albany Times Union begs the question, “Ever notice the loudest claims of bias come from the most partisan on both the left and right?,” yet so few Democrats are crying foul over the media coverage of the current administration.”

On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have had so much wine…

The only shot of me walking across the stage.  The entire time, I was terrified of falling because my heels had no traction.

The only shot of me walking across the stage. The entire time, I was terrified of falling because my (hot red) heels had no traction.

Backpacking through Europe. I truly had no idea I was capable of planning an entire trip, but somehow, I did it. In two weeks, Tor and I made our way through France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, with a 20-minute drive into Austria. I truly anticipated disaster at every step along the way, but somehow, we made it back to the States safe and sound (and with our friendship still intact, despite some predictions).

Bonjour from the Arc de Triomphe!

Bonjour from the Arc de Triomphe!

Every meal eaten at Kramerbooks in Dupont. I have documentation from some of them here:

Butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli on Erin's birthday in January.  I believe it was on this night that we decided that when I am proposed to, my fiancee will need to do it by hiding the ring inside one of the ravioli.

Butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli on Erin's birthday in January. I believe it was on this night that we decided that when I am proposed to, my fiancee will need to hide the ring inside one of the raviolis.

This was the weekend after graduation.  Rach and I had a great day at the Newseum and concluded it by meeting up with Beth at Kramerbooks.  That was my last night in College Park before I moved home.

This was the weekend after graduation. Rach and I had a great day at the Newseum and concluded it by meeting up with Beth at Kramerbooks. That was my last night in College Park before I moved home.

This was in September after my goodbye party in Dupont.  We were en route to Adams Morgan, and I was so, SO tempted to stop by Kramerbooks for one last meal of--you guessed it--butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli.

This was in September after my goodbye party in Dupont. We were en route to Adams Morgan, and I was so, SO tempted to stop by Kramerbooks for one last meal of--you guessed it--butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli.

Scoring a sick job with the City of Kingston. Working at the Visitors’ Center was truly one of the best jobs I’ve had. Plus, the world’s best cannolis were right across the street.

You can use the nice, clean bathrooms there free of charge instead of waiting in line for ages at Mariner's Harbor across the street.  This infinitely improved my quality of life at the Hooley on the Hudson this year.

Fun fact about the Visitors' Center that I didn't know until working there: You can use the nice, clean bathrooms there free of charge instead of waiting in line for ages at Mariner's Harbor across the street. This infinitely improved my quality of life at the Hooley on the Hudson this year.

Getting my first post-college job. Granted, teaching English isn’t going to be my career. But for a first “real” job, it’s pretty decent.

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Packing up my life and moving to Korea. I still have those moments where I’m just walking home from the bus or sitting at a cafe and the thought pops into my head: “Holy crap, I live in Korea.” I live in Korea. I’ve built myself a life here in a tiny country I couldn’t even point to on a map four months ago, and that’s just awesome. A few weeks before I moved here, I said to a friend that I think I’m the kind of person who could be happy living just about anywhere. I’m not sure I entirely believed it at the time, but I truly do now. Leaving everything and everyone I know back in the States for a year is likely to be one of the toughest things I ever do, but if I can do this, I think I can do anything in the world.

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Low points:

Leaving The Diamondback. I had a job where I came into work in sweats and played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see what stories I’d have to edit. I made some great friends and memories in that stuffy newsroom, and it broke my heart to leave. I know not everyone leaves there on such good terms, but I think that my only regret–at least, in terms of the DBK–is that I waited so long before getting involved. And maybe accidentally printing an anonymous source’s name.

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Working at (and then being fired from) Roudigan’s Steakhouse. I don’t know what else to say about it except for that I’m very glad that was only a brief chapter in my year. And even though I had never been fired before, I’m pretty sure your boss is supposed to tell you that you’ve been canned, and not just leave you off the schedule one week. I find it shocking that I was fired for apparently requesting too much time off (I believe three weekends over the course of two months, which seems like a lot until you factor in the two or three weekdays I worked each week), yet cooks were dealing coke out of the kitchen and kept their jobs. Interestingly, a quick Google search has revealed that when you enter “Roudigan’s Steakhouse,” the third link that comes up is a want ad for a host/hostess.

Working at a summer camp for about eight hours. I hate nature, I hate children (not Korean children, don’t worry). I don’t know why I thought I’d like working at a camp. Especially one that doesn’t really have any facilities other than a bathroom in the pool changing area and a couple gazebos. That job was a recipe for disaster, but also made me more determined to get a better job in a timely fashion. Enter: Mayor Sottile and the Visitors’ Center.

So now I welcome 2009 with open arms. I was thinking about what I’m most looking forward to, and when it comes down to it, I think I’m just excited to see and understand more of this world that we live in. So bring on the new year, with its new challenges, new friends and new experiences. I’m so ready for it.

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