My memory is decent, but my recollections don’t easily fall on a chronological time table. Most of them are just muddled into a period of life – a vague reference to When I was in middle school or A few summers ago. I do have this funny pattern going with odd years, though. I will always know that the trying experience of marching band was in the fall of ’07, that I counseled at Camp St. Christopher for the first time in ’09, that I graduated from high school in 2011.  And now 2013, the year of travel. But the year I was twenty years old was a lot of other things, too. Self-discovery, new friends, lessons, independence. I’m not finished yet, but I grew up a lot this year. Most of this has already been written about in previous posts, so I won’t go into great detail. Regardless, here’s a recap of living the dream in 2013.
January: New Orleans Roanoke Habitat for Humanity Trip
A reminder of how much I love hard manual labor and serving the poor. It was also my first consideration of participating in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps after college.
February: Sweet Friends
It’s already a blur of school and work, but because of that, the quality time I spent with friends is even more treasured. After a rough week and frigid bones from the snow outside, Janie and I treated ourselves to an intimate dinner of laughter and relaxing at Mac & Bobs. Afterward, we created the infrastructure for this blog. For Valentine’s, Kayla and I shared a typical meal in the Commons together, but instead of jetting off to the next responsibility, we lingered and enjoyed each other’s company. A weekend in Clemson followed with two of my best Charleston friends, Lizzy and Anderson.
March: Bermuda
Shorts in unexpectedly cold weather, tea time and high society, clear water, bars, and dancing. Best spring break ever.
April: Hiking
In the wake of exams, exploring Devil’s Marbleyard and a spending day on the AT with Nick, my loyal trail companion, is a pleasant memory.
Gotta throw in swing dancing with Joel every other Saturday throughout the semester. So fun.
May: Cambodia
Poverty and corruption, beautiful landscapes and more beautiful people coinciding in a seemingly impossible harmony. Writing. More writing. Existential moments and minor faith crisis.
June: Taco Mamacita
I learned I want a job that gives me a little more dignity, challenge, and purpose someday.
July: Costa Rica
Excursions, no transportation, and rainy afternoons. The best family vacation ever.
August: Yertons
My favorite Roanoke family came down to Charleston for the weekend. Josh, Jen, Tessa, and Luke Yerton make my surrogate family unit, my home away from home. It was a pleasure to be able to show them the original one in the Palmetto State.
September: Perugia
Speaking Italian, making friends, cooking meals, walking everywhere.
October: Only Child Life
Solo time with BOTH of my parents in Tuscany and Cinque Terre. Memory of a lifetime.
November: Weekend Travel
I perfected my Europe travel skills regarding trains, planes, and lodging. Dolomites, Venice, London, and Budapest. All in one month. There was some schoolwork. I promise.
December: Reading
After travel, I spent winter break perfecting my relaxing skills. I’m not really good at that, though, so if I’m lying around, I’m reading. I finished The Betrothed and am working my way through Cutting For Stone. Yours truly also got a Kindle for Christmas (thanks Georgia) and registered on Goodreads, which certainly cements my developing status as a dorky English major.

So 2014, you are certainly a chapter. I do not challenge you to live up to this past year; that would almost be impossible. I don’t have the grand plan I confidently lived by in 2013. I have no New Year’s resolution and very loose goals, which freaks me out. All I know is that I’m not going alone; I have friends and family all around. I walk with arms wide open, an ear turned toward the Lord’s voice, and a heart ready to serve, awaiting the unexpected.

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