(Too Much) Reflection and A New Year

This morning I reread my January 2nd entry from last year, and it made me realize what a big year I had in 2011. While part of me thinks it wasn't such a great year (the amount of grief alone I get from my CUA friends for having turned thirty...), I appreciated that I did not just write up a list of resolutions (that I'm sure would have been broken by February anyways), but a list of goals/plans I had for the year. And even though some of them were inevitable, it was still awesome to reread that list and realize what I had undertaken for 2011. 

I still can't believe I had the opportunity to go to Nepal. An amazingly eye-opening experience, one of which I will carry in my heart always (and if anyone ever needs a stacked stone wall for their backyard, I'm your gal).
Our daily view from the top of our site.
I was also able to spend most of the summer in California - which I hadn't done in a few years. It definitely made me appreciate being home. I even lived with my brother for a little bit while trying to select a site for my thesis.  Living two blocks from the beach isn't so bad...

I got conned into participating in an inter-school charette at the Building Museum. I thought it was going to be one day - it turned into a no-sleep crazy weekend of work which I didn't actually have time for, but to my group's total surprise, we won! It was very unexpected, but also felt great, like maybe I'm not so bad at this design stuff...


I also carved out some time for a trip up to Fallingwater - I had told myself I couldn't graduate and not have made the drive in the Fall to see this FLW building. My friend Ryan and I picked a great weekend to go - it was an amazingly crisp and colorful Sunday, we got on the road early enough to see the sunrise, and both of us were incredibly inspired by the architecture. Minus the car accident I got in in the parking lot, it was a perfect day.

And last but not least... I presented my thesis. I think that's why it may be hard to see 2011 on a positive note - thesis was an incredibly tough undertaking. But at the very least, I made it to the other side, and am happy to say it's over (minus my paper I still need to resubmit...). I think I learned a lot through the process - for me, it's really about the people and their experience in a building that comes first and foremost. I experimented with new collage techniques (thank you UTK experience) and ways of modeling. Some were successful, some were not (I will never be a paper mache expert), but I was constantly trying new things, which to me was really fun in it of itself. Anyways, I still want to post a thesis summary at some point, so this is enough for now.

This smile must be from after the presentation... 
So now some thoughts for 2012...
1. I am living in DC through the spring, and then THAT'S IT, I'm heading back to California.  I want to take advantage of it while I'm there - explore the places I haven't yet - in DC and nearby, hopefully get some type of part-time/contract job to save some money for my move, use CUA resources to my fullest advantage (i.e. make a ton of the work sample envelopes I designed on the laser cutters and finally make a piece of furniture in the shop).  Basically enjoy being a bum, but still be a productive bum.
2. Waking up January 1 in Los Angeles just felt right.  While I was so excited to get away a few years ago, I am even more excited now to realize I do feel like L.A. is home. It helps that some of my best girl friends are there, too - cannot wait to be living in close proximity again. So yes, this is my goal - find a job back in L.A. and get settled.  No more coast flopping, I'm excited to go home.  
3. Keep creativity high on my priority list. Even in my short time home, it's been weird not having a project. Whether it be big or small, I really enjoy being in the midst of something. I need to make sure I make the time for this - it's something I really enjoy. The coffee table project will be good, but I'm also thinking of making a goal to myself to enter at least one competition this year. Kay and I have been saying we'll do something together since our first year of grad school, so hopefully this will finally be the year we actually do it.

Wow this is way too long.  But I'm excited for this next year ahead. I predict some big changes and am excited to see what unfolds. Happy New Year, wish everyone lots of love and a great year ahead.

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