That said, 2017 has been another wonderful year for me, and I'm filled with so much gratitude that I feel like I ought to recount the high points here, if only briefly.
- Early in January, I visited Tim in Kalamazoo--and I got to meet Laura for the very first time! Always a plus when internet friends become real-life friends.
- Later in January, I hopped on a bus and drove to Washington D.C. for the Women's March on Washington. Always a plus to be part of an historic protest. (Though my favorite part is probably still when we commandeered the men's bathroom at an Indiana rest stop.)
- February brought both my 29th birthday and yet another trip to D.C., this time for the AWP Conference. I was able to reconnect with Vegas friends and geek out over literary minutiae. And at the end of the month, I flew out to Vegas for Shaun and Rachel's surprisingly chilly but nonetheless charming wedding.
- You couldn't reasonably expect me not to travel in March, could you? I went to Denver to visit Letakins for a few days. We drank loads of spicy Bhakti Chai and made the acquaintance of a very friendly cat named Toulouse.
- April was a big month for me, as it marked the beginning of my great solo Southeast Asian adventure. I started the month in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, then took a bus to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, then another bus to Siem Reap, then a plane to Singapore, then another plane to Bangkok. I rode on a motorbike for the first time, I climbed the temples at Angkor Wat, I watched a thunderstorm roll in from the top of the Marina Bay Sands. Phew.
- May was the second half of my great solo Southeast Asian adventure. Took a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, a tiny little plane to Luang Prabang in Laos, and another tiny little plane to Hanoi, where I gave myself a nearly two-week writing retreat. Then it was a boat around Halong Bay, a train to Hue, then...how did I get to Hoi An? I think I flew...or maybe I took a train? No, I'm pretty sure I flew. At any rate, I also befriended several pachyderms, visited loads of temples, and bought some perfectly tailored clothes. Ate a lot of food, too.
- June saw the end of my adventure. Flew to Phu Quoc Island, where I went snorkeling for the first time. From there it was back to HCMC for a quick trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and souvenir shopping in Ben Thanh Market, and then the long flight back to the U.S., where I was finally forced to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life next.
- Over the summer I applied for roughly one million jobs (or at least that's what it felt like), but in August I ended up securing a Corporate Relations position at Allstate, where I have top-notch coworkers, a good salary, and great benefits to boot. I suppose traditional job security has its upsides.
- Oh yeah--I bought a car in August, too. Geri is basically my new dog. Prius is a breed of dog now.
- In September I was honored to be a bridesmaid in Gena and Marty's wedding! #genamartyparty
- In October I was honored to be Unicorn of Honor in Meg and Marc's wedding! #holycatrimony
- The first weekend of November, I moved into my new apartment, where I got settled in quickly thanks to the aid of my overly-generous friends. I am happy to report that I am still keeping it relatively clean because I am an adult or whatever.
- On December 1st, I sent my novel to an agent for the first time! And it got rejected! But that's okay, because it was a really brave thing to do! Waiting to hear back from many more...
Not to mention my flash publications in 2017: Midwestern Gothic, Pithead Chapel, and (b)OINK zine. AND I started working for Split Lip, which has been utterly amazing. And then there are the concerts I've been fortunate enough to attend: John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Mountain Goats, Andrew Bird--and tonight I'm going to see Noname at Lincoln Hall.
You guys. You guys are the real reason 2017 was a good year for me--why every year tends to go pretty well for me. It would literally be impossible for me to do all the ridiculous things I do without your support and your love, and I love you for it more than you know.