twenty fourteen

A summary of one of the funnest years of my life:
  •  Started the new year returning back to France...this was the funnest. We already had an apartment that we were settled into, we already knew our city and simple things like how to get from the airport back to our place--coming back to France was SO AWESOME.
  •  Our dear friend Skyler came to France for two weeks
  •  Visited the fun little city of Arcachon 
  •  Celebrated Carnaval in downtown Bordeaux watching an insane parade
  •  Went back home to Utah to shoot Ali and Adam's wedding
  •  Had the most nightmare-y travel of my ENTIRE LIFE getting back to that wedding
  •  Dyed my hair purple
  •  Ate all the pastries 
  •  Hosted Ali and Adam for a few days while they were on their honeymoon
  •  Celebrated Ian's 25th birthday with a picnic in our favorite parc
  •  Became a foodie fanatic like every other person in France
  •  Bore my testimony in French at church--this was a feat for me and I am pretty proud I did it
  •  Traveled to Barcelona, Andorra, Monaco and toured the south of France with Ian's parents
  •  Visited every city Ian served in on his mission 
  •  Visited Paris with my family
  •  Spent a magical, rainy day at Disneyland Paris
  •  Used up the rest of our Euros the last night we were in France with the most expensive meal I've ever eaten at the coolest restaurant in Paris.
  •  Concluded our glorious second honeymoon in France--it was a dream
  •  Truly loved France and the home it was for me
  •  Flew home from France, spent 24 hours in Utah, re-packed up and drove across the country to Delaware
  •  Moved to Delaware where Ian worked a depressing job and I was lazy-bones McGee and job-less
  •  BUT. I learned how to cook (finally) and really, really enjoyed making good food every day
  •  Ian and I purchased our first car together
  •  Saw Joe Biden speak at University of Delaware commencement
  •  Celebrated our first anniversary!
  •  Traveled to Philadelphia many times to see the great city and spent time with my father-in-law
  •  Went to my first metal show--Between the Buried and Me in Philly
  •  Ate my weight in spectacular ice cream at Woodside creamery 
  •  Marveled at the beauty of Pennsylvanian countryside 
  •  Visited New York for a quick and super inspiring two days
  •  Swam in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time at Rehoboth Beach in DE
  •  Went to D.C. for the first time and promised myself I'd live there
  •  Did a temple session at the D.C. temple
  •  Traveled to Ocean City, Maryland for a delightful day at the beach to finish off our summer
  •  Ate Maryland crab
  •  Was (and am) extremely puppy hungry
  •  Started the trek back across the country for school 
  •  Got stranded in Chicago for two days because of car troubles--both of us bawled pretty much the whole time
  •  Wept happy tears when we finally got back home
  •  Started school again! What an awesome thing, right! SENIOR YEAR!
  •  Almost quit/died because school was so stressful and downright awful sometimes
  •  BUT! I made plans for graduation in the spring...wha-wha?!? 
  •  Started working/studenting for A-TV news 
  •  Got a job working for the athletics department at USU--learned to love football and really  enjoyed my time doing sports photography
  •  Shot a few beautiful fall weddings, some pretty engagements and bridals, and a handful of really fun family shoots
  •  Shot two birth stories--one of them being my new niece!
  •  Turned 24
  •  Saw Kimbra in concert
  •  Had my first Thorley Thanksgiving
  •  Organized and performed in the 3rd annual Starry Night
  •  Saw my dearest sister and BFF get married to her wonderful Nate
  •  Spent a great Christmas break off from school
  •  Participated in the 6th annual Christmas Movie Marathon
  • Spent the New Years Eve eating delicious Japanese food with Joey's family and followed it with a lavish and fancy cheese party.
  •  Loved Ian and was loved by Ian
Ian and I were reflecting with our friends on New Years Eve about the events of the last year--this year has been nothing but an adventure. 2014. The year of adventures! We lived abroad, we drove across the country, we moved a bunch, we traveled so much and ate a lot of good food and spent a lot of time with good, good people.

But, there have been moments that were so low--Ian and I both got extremely sick our last week in Bordeaux, Ian had a dumb, depressing job, our car broke down on the way home from Delaware which put a huge hole in our wallets, and the fall semester nearly killed me. While those things were pretty bad at times, I have never felt so happy and felt like I was living a full, rich life.

While I have found so much happiness in my marriage and Ian just gets better and better with age, I have had some awakening moments where I've thought, "If this doesn't work or that changes, I have me and only me to rely on to be happy." Through my ever-changing circumstances this year, I have figured out sort of abruptly and unexpectedly that it all comes back to me. I was a stay-at-home wife who lived in a foreign country where I couldn't speak the language and felt crippling social anxiety at times, I was an unemployed bum in a dinky town who's only job was to make Ian sandwiches and clean his underwear, and then things dramatically shifted to being a full-time student who felt soul-crushing stress from a frustrating college program--these were pretty big changes in my circumstance, but I am pretty proud of myself. I found so much happiness in every single aspect. I'm not trying to make myself sound like a dim-witted airhead who's better than you because she's happier than you, I'm just so proud of myself for being adaptable. Adaptability has never been one of my strong suits (I got a case of stress-induced pneumonia every time I switched schools growing up) and for me to prove to myself that I can find happiness and joy in whatever I do is a big deal for me. I'm proud of me. I know that the experiences of this year will make me a better wife and mother and hopefully a better person all around.

So thanks, 2014. You were really good to me. Can't wait for another year of adventures.


Whitney Cazier said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! You guys really did have an amazing year!! When you guys graduate do you want to just go travel the world and be irresponsible with us?? I may copy this idea to cap off our 2014 since I didn't blog about it or write in my journal even once!

Brissa Christensen said...

I smiled the whole time reading this post. Anna!!! What a wonderful, magical year for you! Look at how much you've grown! Your last few paragraphs were so powerful. Lately I've been thinking about my identity without the title of "wife/mom." like, who even am I anymore? But as long as I'm happy and fulfilled and trying, does it matter what my "title" is? Because, honestly, "wife/mom" is a damn fine title to have. Anyway, thanks for this post and for making me smile and for making me think. I love you.

Anna said...

Whitney, please do! I've found that this is sort of a lazy man's approach to blogging for a full year, but I've done a year in review sort of thing every year for the past five years or so and it's a lot easier and I still love the post! You should definitely do it!

Anna said...

Brissa, you are just the best. I remember your period of stay-at-home wifeness before your babies came, and while you'll constantly get questions of "What do you even DO all day?!", it's an important job. It's interesting because this is the first time that I've really followed Ian, ya know, instead of being independent and doing my own thing. But I've loved it. As dated as it sounds, I love being Ian's partner and being that person that makes home, home. I love it. Somewhat related, but I read something recently that home should be a "safe place to land." I really try to take that to heart not just for Ian, but for me, too. Anywho, you're great. I love that we're friends and I love you.

Allison said...

I love this! What an absolutely exciting year you guys have had. I think you're amazing, Anna.