Because I haven't posted in weeks, I thought I'd blatantly steal my friends' idea and recap 2008.
At the beginning of '08, I ditch my plan to finish grad school by the end of Winter term and decide to just finish my courses and stay enrolled for spring term to buy myself more time to finish my terminal project. This is partly due to spending most of my time working at the Emerald, partly due to laziness, and partly due to not wanting to speed up the whole becoming-an-adult-paying-off-loans process.
I start applying for jobs and send applications to every posting I find that will keep me within a day's drive of home. I decide that I need to stay in the Northwest. A few applications fall through or turn out to be offering far less money than I need to live, but I get a call from a paper in Washington state and head up for an interview in early April (I try my best to be cryptic about where I live and work). I decide to make a small vacation of it and head up for a two-day interview, followed by a trip to Seattle. I'm in the Experience Music Project, learning to play the bass line of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," when my cell phone rings. It's the news editor at the paper calling to offer me a position. I happily accept.
On the way home, I stop in Portland to see Margaret Cho perform. She is every bit as fabulous as expected. My friends Matt and Tiffany are there as well and they meet her.
In May, I finish up my terminal project just before leaving Eugene. I'm excited for my new, grown-up job with real benefits and a good salary, but am sad to leave all my friends behind. It is the first time in my life I've moved somewhere where I didn't know anyone. Even when I interned in Washington, D.C., in 2007, I already had three friends there and then had roommates and met another friend at my internship training.
The new job is great, although working the late-night copy editing shift on weekends makes it hard to get out and do stuff or meet anyone. As the summer wears on, I slowly start to make friends with coworkers, but I find that I'm out of my comfort zone a bit in terms of meeting people. I've always considered myself an extrovert and have had an easy time making friends in the context of extra-curricular activities or school, but in a new job and new place, it's hard. I feel like it's high school and I'm the new kid in school. I miss having friends who know me -- know my stories, understand my sense of humor, etc.
In June, I head back to Eugene for graduation weekend. Getting my master's is exciting, but feels strange after having already been working for a month. It's fun to get back and see a few friends, though.
In July, I buy a new car with the help of my grandfather, who loves to research cars and told me what to get and even called a dealership in Seattle to find me a good deal. I expected to buy a used car, but managed to get approved for a loan for a brand-new Chevy Aveo that I LOVE. It's the first time in my life I've had a car of my own that I know will start every time I put the key in and that I don't have to teach people how to use. The loan is a little scary and a very adult thing to deal with, but six months later, I'm still in love with this car.
Two of my friends get married in August. One is my best friend, Kim, who I met in driver's ed class the summer after my freshman year of high school, and I'm the maid of honor. It's a lovely, short ceremony and the reception is a lot of fun. The second wedding is my friend Luci, who I've known since she was a fetus. (Our parents met when her mom and my mom were in childbirth class together and are still good friends.) My dad performed the ceremony, which was held in the yard of her grandmother's house. The Applegate river runs through the backyard and it's a beautiful location. I have great memories of floating down that river on inner tubes in the summer, picking fresh blackberries off the bushes along the bank. The reception is also at the house and they have a zip line that runs across the river. It's fantastic. A lovely outdoor ceremony with a zip line over a river seems like the way to go.
September is fairly uneventful. Some friends from Eugene and their adorable little genius baby, Avery, come to visit. He's 2 and spends the weekend counting the wrenches in my toolbox and telling me how many I had. I wish I were that easily amused. My birthday comes and goes without me really doing anything. A few weeks later, a friend from work buys me a belated birthday dinner, which is nice.
By October, I'm working a new schedule that reflects the paper's move toward a "Web first" philosophy, which requires the Web copy editor (me) to be there early in the day to post updates as they come in. It's hard to adjust to being at work at 8:30 5 days a week, but it's nice to have my evenings free again and I get the weekends off, which I love. I make it down to Eugene for homecoming even though it turns out the Emerald is not having a tailgate party this year. It's fun anyway and I get to see my friends.
In November, the election ends, and suddenly I have nothing to do with my free time because I no longer need to read political blogs or check fivethirtyeight.com every hour. Working election night is really fun. I love being in a newsroom on such busy nights. I thrive on the stress and energy.
Later in the month, I fulfill a childhood dream when I go see the New Kids On The Block in concert with my friend Kat. Amazing concert, awesome friend, hours (and gallons of gas) lost to driving around Seattle looking for parking/freeway on ramps, shitty hotel shuttle driver who leaves us stranded at the Tacoma Dome ... memories will last a lifetime.
December's pretty uneventful, except that the weather starts to go bad. Most of the Northwest is hit by weather that makes traveling out of town by car quite scary. I realize quickly that while it's nice to see the sun most days, I'd take Eugene's six months of grey skies and rain with temperatures above freezing over snow and single-digit temperatures.
January '09: So far, so good. New schedule at work again. But I'm going to Washington, D.C., to go to the inaugural address (and hopefully to see the Newseum), which is very exciting. Having a bit more of a social life but still miss my group of friends in Eugene.