I moved to Hawaii in June, so much of my description of the year 2012 can be divided neatly into "pre-Hawaii" and "Hawaii" categories. Also, get ready for a lot of links, because I talked about a lot of these things in other posts. It's going to be like a year-end clip show, blog-style!
- Pre-Hawaii: The first six months of the year I had three different jobs: preschool substitute teacher, high-school teacher, and receptionist. Though none were super well-paying or required much use of my degree, I enjoyed things about and learned things from each of them.
- Hawaii: As you all know, I work as a real forensic anthropologist now! Not only do I get to actually put my very expensive Master's degree to use, but I also feel like I'm doing important and good-karma-inducing things. Of course, there are downsides, such as all of the hoops one must go through for training and competency-certification (to include a giant hoop that I very much dislike called "being at the mercy of other people to get my work done"), but overall, work is grand. It's basically the only good thing I've got going for me in Hawaii. Also, this job pays a lot, which is good, because Hawaii is expensive, and now I can afford to pay someone to do my (extremely complicated) 2012 taxes for me.
|Pretty much the entire reason I do my job.|
- Pre-Hawaii: I went through the Temple for the first time on February 18, 2012. It was a very special day that I was able to share with very special people. I spent the first six months of 2012 enjoying my last six months in the Longfellow Park 2nd Ward in Cambridge, MA. Oh, how I miss that building and all of those people! I also ended my tenure as ward choir director by conducting the first piece I directed in that choir, "How Can I Keep From Singing?"
- Hawaii: Moved from a beautiful historic building that (sort of) survived an epic fire and is right down the street from where Ben Affleck lives to an institute classroom building adjacent to the University of Hawaii. I miss being in a real chapel, and there's a TON of culture-shock that comes with going to church in Hawaii (ohmygosh the cheek kissing), but I'm starting to adjust. Sort of. I got called to be choir director again, so I can carve out something resembling a niche here, just in time for me to leave in six months.
|Townies go to the Temple!|
- Pre-Hawaii: So much promise in the beginning. I had two pretty awesome grad-school-interview Events in early 2012. Lots of free food, touring, and making professors fall in love with my professionalism, charm, and ability to look awesome in suits. And then they all rejected me. It's nobody's fault but of those who distribute the funds. In mid-April came the realization that I would require yet another "gap year." At least this one is being spent far more productively than the last!
- Hawaii: I'm pretty optimistic now. I re-took the GRE in September, and rocked it, scoring higher than my previous (very respectable, yet nearly expired) scores. I applied to seven different schools, and I already have interviews at two of them! I have two schools tied for first place on my hierarchy but I'm not going to jinx myself by sharing that hierarchy yet.
- Pre-Hawaii: Oh, man. And by "man," I mean one very specific man. The first half of 2012 was a striking contrast to any other part of any other year in the relationship department. I won't tell the story of my first kiss here because 1) it's personal, and 2) apparently I tell it wrong and it doesn't sound at all romantic, but 2012 was the year of many absolutely wonderful first-relationship-related things*. Naturally I had to screw it all up by moving to Hawaii. Boy, did that suck a lot. As much as the breaking up part sucked, losing a person would have been much worse, so thankfully former-beau (beau-emeritus?)** and I are still good friends.
- Hawaii: Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Let's face it, men don't go to Hawaii to date the pasty brunettes in the argyle sweaters and librarian glasses. On my part, there have been a few brief attractions, but all have been quickly squelched as the men generally turn out to be [word I won't type because my former Seminary teacher reads this blog].
- Pre-Hawaii: I ate Indian food for the first time and wondered why I hadn't been eating it my whole life. I wrapped up my quest to find the most amazing burger in Boston (for now, at least). I learned the only proper and acceptable way to make toast (in a frying pan with salted butter, fyi).
- Hawaii: I tried Spam for the first time; it's not bad, as long as it's over rice and wrapped in seaweed. I resigned myself to the fact that burgers in Hawaii will never compare to Boston burgers (with one or two exceptions) and instead decided to embrace the concept of the Hawaiian "Plate Lunch": choice of meat (although why anyone would choose anything other than Honey Garlic Chicken is beyond me), two scoops of rice, and one scoop of macaroni salad (which is tasty as long as you don't think about the fact that it's just pasta mixed with mayonnaise with some grated carrots thrown in for color). I also ate Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup with raw meat that eventually cooks itself in the broth) for the first time; I didn't love it at first, but then I ate it a second time and it basically cured the cold I had, so now I'm a fan. There's a lot more interesting food that Hawaii has to offer that I have not yet tried, but I've got six months and a relatively brave palate.
|Pho. It's pronounced "fuh."|
Whenever I say "Pho" I try to pronounce it really slowly so I sound like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" when he says, "Fuuuuuuuuuuudge"
- Major life events not covered above: Uh...I moved to Hawaii (in case the previous six months of blog posts didn't clue you in to that fact). Oh, in February I presented my thesis at a conference in front of a bunch of really important forensic anthropologists (a lot of whom are now my co-workers, and some of whom I now find far less intimidating for that reason). The thesis-turned-presentation was then turned into a paper which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Forensic Sciences (pending minor revisions). I also survived my first tsunami!
- Guest Stars! A lot of people came to visit me*** in Hawaii, including Jamar, Laura, and Doree. There was also a surprise appearance from Tracy, my freshman roommate from BYU.
- Wholesome recreational activities: I went sailing for the first time and several times thereafter (Pre-Hawaii); I basically doubled the number of times I've been to the beach (Hawaii).
- Major Purchases: A real bed-frame (albeit a twin bed-frame), a neat secondhand chair, an ukulele(!), and some awesome grown-up clothes from stores that used to intimidate me.
Well, that's the end of my New Year's Eve wrap-up. Once again, I leave you with the best New Year-themed movie clip of all time. Dear [old] acquaintances, don't forget me; if I can have any control over my fate whatsoever, I will be spending next New Year's Eve somewhere not in Pennsylvania, certainly not in Hawaii, and hopefully with friends (and my own personal Billy Crystal).
*Also a substantial amount of freaking out.
**I dislike the term "ex" and find it inappropriate in this case. "Ex" should be someone at whom I throw dinnerware and small appliances while screaming at him to get the heck out of my apartment or something.
***More realistically, they came to see Hawaii and visiting me was more of an incidental thing.