I don’t write many of these blog posts that aren’t about books but are just my own ramblings about life. I thought it would be a more regular thing when I wrote this one for Thanksgiving last year and this one to celebrate the first year of Hasty Book List. Since I didn’t write one for Thanksgiving this year I thought I’d write a little something to recognize the Holiday season and wish you all a Merry Christmas. True to form, I do best with lists so here are the five highlights of 2018:
Attending the True False Film Festival
You might be surprised to see this on the list, since we attend the True False Film Festival every year. But there is a reason we return back to our hometown for this festival every year: it. is. amazing. Consistently, we see some of the most incredible documentary films that will come out that year - often more than ten films in one weekend. Then a few months later it will come out on Netflix or in the theaters and all of my friends are talking about it (example: Won't You be My Neighbor.) I wrote a post this year about 5 Books I Want to Read After Attending the True/False Film Festival. I’m still thinking about some of the amazing films I saw this year. If I had to choose my top film, I think it would be The Price of Everything.
2. Celebrating our 10th Anniversary
Eric and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in epic style. First I had a dress made by a former student of mine out of the leftover lace from my wedding dress. Then I had Kathleen Virginia Page, my favorite Chicago photographer, take photos of us at my favorite place in Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago. I had been dreaming of this photoshoot for years and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Plus I was super impressed with how friendly and accommodating the docents were at the museum. We stayed at EMC2 where we got to have robot butlers bring us little things like extra shampoo. Eric made dinner reservations at Oriole and it was absolutely incredible. My favorite part was enjoying a cocktail in the historic lift prior to being shown our seats. My second favorite part was being offered a choice of drinking vessel for one of the cocktails - an experience I plan to replicate when we buy our first home.
3. Quitting my job
I loved my job. I really really really LOVED my job. I had some of the most amazing students during my seven years at Indiana University. I developed strong relationships with the many special collections on campus. I created curriculum that I was incredibly proud of. But after five years of living in Bloomington and two years commuting from Chicago, my job wasn’t serving me anymore. I was spending more time driving in a car than I was with students. The joy wasn’t there anymore and I felt like my boss was asking me to choose between my work and my life. We tried to come to a compromise by teaching hybrid classes but in the end no one was satisfied. So I quit. Why is this then a highlight of 2018? Because once I quit I had a huge weight off my shoulders. I felt like me again. I no longer felt like I was being stretched too thin or being a burden on my friends who graciously let me stay in their homes. I got to spend more time with my husband and my dog, doing things I love. Then I was offered an online teaching position at Indiana State and all the pieces began to fall into place. Quitting a job I loved was the best decision I made this year - as difficult as that decision was.
4. Traveling to Kauai
Most amazing experience of 2018, hands down, was traveling to Kauai with my husband. We experienced the island by air (helicopter ride), by land (hiking), and by sea (a boat tour.) Eric cashed in all of his airline miles he accumulated from his work travels to get us there. He cashed in his hotel points to get us accommodations at the St. Regis where we were upgraded to a suite with a butler! The whole experience was over-the-top incredible. It is hard to choose just one thing that was the best part of the trip, so here are my top two: 1) Eric surprising me with a grand romantic gesture (really not his thing…he doesn’t do grand romantic gestures) in collaboration with the restaurant at the St. Regis. They did a private sabering of a champagne bottle and then Eric presented me with a ring from Tiffany’s. 2) Choosing a work of art from a brand new gallery. We were the first customers to purchase anything from them! We had our picture taken with the gallery owner and I still keep up with her on social media.
5. Our annual trip to Cabo
Cabo is my happy place. It really is beginning to feel like our home-away-from-home. This is the third time in three years we’ve traveled to Cabo with my family. We are beginning to get to know the resort staff well enough that when we first arrived they greeted us at the bar with hugs! Each year we learn a little bit more about getting around in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. I’m developing my favorite stores to shop in and souvenirs to bring home. We have a list of our favorite restaurants that we go back to every year and a list of new ones we want to try. Our first night in Cabo we always go to Hacienda Cocina for dinner. It is our tradition. As much as I like to explore new areas, there is also something really special about going back to the same place and learning it deeply.
I hope you all had a wonderful 2018! Merry Christmas, everyone!