Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Wrap-Up

I don't think anyone would argue that 2008 has been a year to remember, for good and for bad. For the most part, I feel more than ready to kiss this year good bye and see what is waiting for me in 2009. It's been a big year with big moments, big stress and big emotions. While in general the feelings I'll associate with this year of my life cannot be pinned on particular moments, I was trying to think of the best and worst of 2008. I'll spare you the anxiety and frustration I have felt this year in the form of the worst days and give you instead my best five days of 2008. In chronological order.

April 4
- The day three little letters were tacked onto my name. Granted, the first few hours of the day found me more nervous than I think I've ever been before. But the rest of the day, starting with the minute I started my defense presentation, were amazing. I enjoyed my defense, that time-honored ritual in which you walk into a room a lowly grad student and emerge a Ph.D. I loved having my mom and step dad there to cheer me on as well as to take us out for a celebratory dinner and some much needed letting loose.

April 19 - My surprise Girl's Night (+Deano) on the town. Di and then-pregnant Geb flew to Tampa to surprise me as a congratulatory gift for graduating. Di and I realized pregnant women make the best designated drivers but have the appetite of someone who's been drinking heavily. And it was awesome that Deano could be there. It used to be no guys allowed but that became impractical when we started marrying off. But usually it's Paul (Mr. Geb) that gets to witness the spectacle. This time, Dean got to be an honorary "Girl" for the night and he had a blast.

July 19 - Our weekend getaway. My birthday present from Deano: a hotel room in downtown St. Pete along with tickets to the Rays game and the MC Hammer concert afterward. It was an all around perfect day, you can read all the details here. But what wasn't in the original post was something else that happened that day. I got a text message while at the game that my two cat friends had finally trapped the limping wounded kitten I had found two days earlier. McLovin would turn out to be my best birthday present and definitely one of the best things to happen in 2008.

September 7 - My last full day in Paris. At the start of 2008 I would have never guessed I would have spent a weekend alone in Paris. But we never know what life is going to throw at us. And even though I was terrified I'm so glad I did it. That Sunday I felt like I belonged in Paris. I went to the little bakery next door to my hotel for un pain du chocolat (a chocolate croissant) for breakfast. I took the ferry to Musee d'Orsay. I went to la Tour Eiffel and l'Arc de Triomphe. Yes, I felt like a tourist at these places, but my little bit of French, and my increasing confidence at using it, left me feeling like more than the average American floundering among the French. And my dinner! Not only was the braised lamb and mashed potatoes to die for, but the cute, flirty waiter and his willingness to speak French with me while resorting to English with the other tourist patrons was a major coup.

November 4 - Of course. Totally predictable, but I would be seriously remiss to leave it out. Now that the euphoria of that day has passed, I will confess. I almost voted for John McCain. Dean, another ardent Obama supporter begged me to vote for McCain. Shocked? Well, until November 4th 2008, every single candidate for major office that I had voted for had lost. Like any devoted baseball fan I was willing to take one for the team. But in the moment it counted, I went with reason instead of superstition. Hope instead of fear. That day in the lab we had the cable news feeds on the internets, listening to interviews of voters and their experiences and how they felt casting the most important votes of their lifetimes. I was so proud to be an American that day. We were both crying after the announcement. This unlikely candidate, who we both followed from the beginning, had won it all. I put my voice out there, and it wasn't always comfortable. But it was all worth it. Truth be told, I'm still giddy. And our next president is a big reason I feel good about 2009.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Jackie said...

Happy New Year MB! I too am very excited about this new year!!

Jeni said...

You, Dean and the cats have had a very full, very exciting year, for sure. And I'm really happy to hear you say -again -about your voting choice too. Like you, I opted o the side of Hope and Change!
Hope things continue to proceed in a good vein for you and that you all have a very, very Happy New Year!

fermicat said...

It was quite the year for you! Ours was much more mundane. Happy New Year to you, Deano and all the kittehs.

Scott said...

I've been thinking about education lately too, and the idea that you earned your doctorate is off-the-chart cool. I can't even imagine what it had to be like for your parents to be there and witness that. Off the chart.

Beth said...

You know, I just received my official Obama shirt for contributing to the campaign and it brought the euphoria all back to me. The fact that so much good change will occur once Bush is out and Obama is in by virtue alone (or should I say virtues?) is enough to make me giddy. I truly believe the US will finally start to get back on track now. Obama has a long, hard road ahead, but he is the man for the job.

You had a pretty great year. Here's to an even better one!

dr sardonicus said...

I commented elsewhere that we can't help but have a better year in 2009 simply because now we'll have someone in the White House who knows what he's doing. Happy New Year.

Dianne said...

wonderful milestones

and you have so much to look forward to

you're the best Auntie Babe and Mi/Si/Di love ya ... and Deano and the furry ones too ;)

Hot4Teacha said...

Hell yeah, Top 5! You're better than Letterman!

Minnesotablue said...

DrS is right on. This new year will be better than last cause we will have no more bush! You've had a great last year babe and I know you will continue to do have many more.