2016 – A Year in Review

Literally 3 months late… such is the state of my life these days. I started this post in mid December and it is now March. I haven’t even purchased a 2017 planner yet, so it’s not the only place I’m behind.

This past year was slow for posting because it has been enormously busy In Real Life. Shortly after Christmas in 2015, Roland and I purchased a house in Chestertown, MD. Our plan was to gut and renovate with the goal of moving in within the year… by last October. chelsea-house-1chelsea-house-2We tore down walls, put on an addition, and are just now, a full 12 months later, putting paint on the walls and installing new flooring. (Update in March: floor and painting done, but still not moved in.) It has been an amazing process, and while we have loved it, we are ready for it to be home.house renoIn January of 2016 we went to Florida for a professional training and a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as chronicled in this post.In February, I interviewed with several companies closer to Chestertown as Roland and I were beginning to plan for our move closer to family.

March involved a visit to Egypt which I wrote about here and haven’t had time to write nearly as much as I wish! Our trip was exactly 1 year ago this week and I am still in awe of the fact that we were actually there. I can’t wait to go back!luxor templeIn April I turned in my notice to my full time job (the required 60 days) and immediately picked up working every weekend at my part time job, providing mental health services in the jails, to fill in the income gap that we knew would occur when I transitioned from a salary to a commission based position. Throughout April and May I joined the realms of the long distance work commuters and went to St. Mary’s County 1-3 days every week, all the while living in Salisbury, 3 hours away. I have never truly considered commuting for work as a viable long term option, but this increased my aversion ten fold. I worked 6-7 days a week for two months straight. One of the few days I took off during this time was to participate in Adult Field Day at a local brewery, Burley Oak in Berlin, MD, as we had already purchased tickets. Totally worth it.IMG_4101IMG_4100In May I started working 1 day per week at my new job, in addition to the extra hours I was working in the jail. My weeks were suddenly filled with three jobs instead of two and the 6-7 day work weeks continued. I took off, again because we already had plans, to attend the Chestertown Tea Party, an annual festival surrounding the reenactment of Chestertown’s Tea Party of 1776 (think Boston Tea Party in a small town…sans Indian costumes). In June I fully transitioned to working for my new job in a private mental health practice. As I worked to build my caseload in that position, I continued picking up days in the jails every week , in addition to working regularly for a local ESL (English as a Second Language) program, and filling in on a food truck as needed while attempting to build my clientele. Though it was 4 jobs, I finally slowed down into mostly 5 day work weeks! This is also the point when I moved in with my parents to be closer to my new job until we completed our house.

July I took a road trip to Maine and Vermont with the girls. We stopped in Portland, ME and then spent the next two days on the Vermont Cheese Trail. IMG_2146Also in July, Roland and I took a much needed weekend away to Philadelphia, where we spent a significant portion of our time in beer gardens and then headed out of the city to a South Jersey wine trail. In August we went to Italy, a trip that fulfilled another travel goal on my 101 Things list. It was so beautiful and, as I say with almost everywhere I visit, I can’t wait to return 🙂 September was Renn Fest and a weekend in New York City. We celebrated our 1st anniversary in and went to see Wicked, something I’d been dreaming of for the past 10 years!October I thought we would finally be slowing down with only two local events on the calendar and, but that was not to be. As we approached the first weekend we had plans (the Chestertown Harry Potter Festival), I received this picture from my friend Sami.sami's house.jpgBasically her house fell down. I drove to Salisbury to be moral and physical support before returning to Chestertown to meet Roland who was hosting our friends for the Harry Potter Festival (3 years running and I still haven’t made it. Ah well, next year!)sami's house 2 The same weekend we were given free tickets to a NASCAR race, the only reason I would ever go to a NASCAR race. It was easily the loudest thing I’ve ever done. I’m up to do most things once. That being said, I never feel the need to do it again. Roland went home to discover a leak in our roof that had gotten too bad to ignore. He opened the wall to repair the damage and it turned out that the joists had disintegrated from the leak and suddenly the repair was a much larger task.

November was already scheduled to be a busy month with a visit to Massachusetts for family Thanksgiving. The election put a damper on the mood from the beginning of the month and we, along with many others, were overtaken by intense sadness and questions. Even now, 4 months later, I struggle with the reality of living a nation alongside people who could stomach voting for a man who was openly offensive to so many and lied throughout the entirety of his campaign. I am thankful for family who loves and embraces difference, as well as having a sense of humor!On the home front, Roland had just completed the drywall repairs from the roof leak when he returned home to find what appeared to be a rain forest in our kitchen. Apparently the toilet in the second floor bathroom had sprung a leak shortly after he left for work at 7:00am and continued to expel copious amounts of water until he returned home at 6:00pm and discovered the kitchen to be raining. October and November involved a LOT of driving back and forth between locations and obligations.

In December we made a day trip to Philadelphia to go the Christmas Market and made our final trip of the year to Gettysburg for Christmas with Roland’s family. IMG_0200IMG_0217We rang in the new year watching a movie on the couch. Roland woke me up in time to see the ball drop.

2016 was a rewarding year that involved fulfilling a number of travel dreams as well as steadily working toward our goals for the future. “Busy” and possibly “overwhelmed” seem to have been our words of the year. There was almost no downtime for the entire year. We worked at our jobs or on our house and when we took off from those two things we were constantly on the go. This was by no means a comprehensive chronicling of the year (I didn’t even mention the time I attended 3 baby showers in one week). This year was exhausting. 

For 2017 we chose to place an emphasis on the word “intentional.” We set ourselves a list of 14 goals for the year that involve prioritizing what we truly want to accomplish as well as allowing ourselves the freedom to live a little bit unplanned. So far, this year has been pretty great. 

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