2011: A Year in Review

(Warning: This post will be long.)

2011 is ending with as much bang as it came in. Last year at this time I was wandering about Boston with friends (Chelsea, Becky T, Lucas, Mel, and my boyfriend, Geoff) as we explored what we could during the first night festivities. We wandered about the city exploring everything from the Aquarium, to lunch in the North End, to participating on stage with Improv Boston, to seeing Shakespeare in song before ending 2010 on Copley Square with a giant dance party. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to ring in the 2011.

The first photo taken during 2011.

From then on started the new year that held challenges and adventures. We were crossing into unknown territory. For once in my life, I didn’t have a plan that was set in stone beyond May 2011.

January came and went quickly beginning with a bad movie marathon which contained the likes of The Room (I can’t even describe how horrible this film is…and yet everyone should see it). The last semester of my senior year had started and it had promised to be less stressful that the fall and more rewarding. It was only half right.

With classes in International Environmental Politics, International Development, Strategic Communication, Television Studio Production and my senior seminar, Global Telecommunication Policy and Global Internet Society, I set off to finish what I started four years ago. It was anything but low-key and less stress. Strategic Communication and Television Studio Production proved to be my favorites even in the first few weeks of January with International Environmental Politics coming in at third and the other two not even placing. But, I’ll come back to more about my classes as the months continue.

Everyone at my birthday party in costume.

February blew in pretty fast with news of my birthday amidst the first week. I threw myself, with the help of Geoff, a murder mystery birthday party entitled “Casino Fatale”. I’m pretty sure everyone had a blast. Following my birthday everything picked up with the show that the Rudes were putting on (Twelfth Night) and I had for once not involved myself beyond the poster design (of that I was grateful). It gave me some time to focus on school and actually getting things done. Particularly as my Television Studio class required that I pitch and idea for a television show to NBC and then once they had selected the one they liked to actually work on making said show.

Everyone also sat and watched in horror as I streamed Al-Jazeera for days on end watching the news of the Egyptian Revolution and showing little emotion but worrying profusely about my Egyptian friends and how they were doing during the uprisings.

March rolled in almost without warning and soon I found myself swamped with work and almost unable to breathe. I might have been sleeping more than I did the previous semester (then again just sleeping an hour was sleeping more than I did the previous semester), but the stress levels were high and I honestly didn’t do much beyond school work, work and shows.

My class and I outside of NBC after screening the last few episodes with them.

By the time April came about, I was in so deep with school work that it was almost unbearable and a few times I thought about just giving up. I pushed on and continued shooting the television series I worked on and continued writing my papers. My episode of Adept or Inept found us out at the Antietam Battlefield shooting an episode on re-enacting and my other classes found me writing on secrecy and the Battle of Midway, whaling in Japan, development in Latin America and telecommunication in Mozambique.

As the end of April loomed, a true sense of sadness fell over me that no one I tried to talk to seemed to understand. It was ending. My four years in university was going to be over in less than a few weeks and I wasn’t sure I picked the right path for myself. Grad school seemed like a good idea at the time, but was it really going to be? The only people who seemed to understand entirely were Jackie (my college roommate for 2 years), Esther and Chelsea.

May arrived almost without warning and final papers and projects were submitted. I couldn’t believe the amount of work I had done in the semester. And I was even finished slightly early, so while many of my other friends continued on hacking through finals, Chelsea, Jackie and I began on craft projects to occupy our time. Near the end of finals and just before the graduation celebrations kicked in we held a horror movie marathon day with pancakes. This day truly sticks in my mind because it is when I truly felt connected to everyone and everything. It was almost a brilliant day (particularly as we watched Midnight Meat Train three times!).

Graduation came and goodbyes that were heartbreaking happened. But promises of return loomed in the air. For Chelsea, Esther, Jackie and I graduation was both what needed to happen, but the scariest moment as well.

Graduation!

If you haven’t been able to tell, May was a busy month. Mid-May saw me out on the battlefield once again in New Market, Virginia with the Chesapeake Signal Detachment for the Battle of New Market and almost immediately upon my return it saw me with a new internship with the National Council of Women’s Organizations. The end of May saw my Memorial Day escapade to Boston for Jackie’s graduation party. May also saw my official introduction to the Sherlock fandom. A fandom that would go on to shape the next few months and who I wanted to be.

Production still from the 48 Hour Film Project 2011.

We hit the midpoint of the year and it started with our annual 48 Hour Film Project in Baltimore. I had an amazing team this year and I don’t know what I would have done without them. We were literally 12 hours ahead of the clock. I don’t know how we managed it, but we did and I can’t thank them enough. (Sherlock even managed to influence the film in terms of how we did our subtitles.) I visited the White House when Chancellor Merkel arrived and I saw the reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment courtesy of my internship. I also managed to talk Chelsea into going to a re-enactment with me, so we made our journey to Bedford, Pennsylvania. It was definitely one fo the best re-enactments I’ve been to in a long time.


 The film we made for the 48 Hour Film Project.
Our group photo at the Harry Potter Midnight Movie!

July began with standard 4th of July parties, which were amplified slightly by the addition of Becky T and Mel. Spending holidays with friends is just such a better way to spend them. And then it continued with the epic conclusion of the Harry Potter series, which we saw at midnight and in costume. Preparation for that outing took a few weeks, but it was well worth it once we got there. Connecting with fans and friends was amazing. The month ended with a trip to the Ocean that was much-needed.

But, all good things must come to an end. August started strong with the end of the third series of Cabin Pressure, which I discovered online and had been listening to since the end of June. I really do hope they do another series because I loved that more than words can say. Cabin Pressure also led to the game of yellow car being played almost constantly by anyone I know. August 14th saw Chelsea and I at the Kennedy Center for a talk back on Uncle Vanya (which I sadly didn’t see). We also nearly met Hugo Weaving that day, but Chelsea didn’t know what to say and didn’t realize I would have done all of the talking. And then to wrap up the month, Chelsea, Mel and I saw a preview of The Debt. It was followed by a talk back with the director John Madden. August saw the start of my training for the London Marathon in 2013 as well as my start as a political blogger with NCWO. August also saw the departure of Chelsea, though as she returned to Boston in preparation for grad school in London. It left Esther and I feeling slightly off-kilter. And then grad school started leaving me with the feeling that I wasn’t where I needed to be.

September’s beginning was bittersweet. With Chelsea no longer around, the dynamic trio that emerged over the summer was down to two, but the return of Jackie the DC area tried to quell the loss. The first full week of September we (Esther, Geoff and I) also went to the Small Press Expo where I had the opportunity to have a book signed by Kate Beaton and a few other artists and authors. My friends Manya and Emma showcased their work at the event, which was brilliant. This week also brought my great-grandfather to town for his WWII army reunion. My entire family got together to see him. It was wonderful.

My Sherlock Halloween costume.

September continued to trudge along with me still unsure of what I wanted to do in life and if I even wanted this degree. But, soon October came and took over. October began with the first show of the Rudes’ season, the variety show which was about villains. I enjoyed all of the blood making for this. And from then on out, just about every weekend was booked. The following weekend saw a trip to Chicago for a wedding of some college friends who had already graduated and the following weekend was Manya and Emma’s Halloween party that Geoff, Jackie, Esther and I attended on Friday and Sunday brought about a trip to a fall festival and farm. The following weekend was in fact Halloween. Jackie, Esther and I drove to Richmond that weekend for a haunted forest and then baked and gave out candy. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time.

November was the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which I did start (but sadly didn’t finish…I will eventually though). Not much went on in November honestly. I was swamped with school work, my jobs and stage managing The Eight Reindeer Monologues, so I didn’t do much outside of my routine. I did, however, make a new friend via tumblr (if-inconvenient) and I got to see a very early preview of War Horse (which had Benedict Cumberbatch in it). There was also the great Thanksgiving Adventure which had Geoff and I scrambling to find transportation to Boston for the holiday.

And soon, December stormed in to take the place of November. The month began with putting up The Eight and then doing an interview with Erin (who I had “met”/talked to over the summer via tumblr and twitter) for my media writing paper. (By the way, she is one of the nicest people I have ever met.) The middle of the month saw me struggling to finish my finals and using my friends online to help me get things done. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I did manage to get my papers done and I found a new love for Top Gear as it also helped me get through writing about the Stop Online Piracy Act and piracy within fandoms.

Once school had ended, I almost immediately went with Esther and Rocio to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. (I had been looking forward to it since August…it was a wonderful reward for finishing my first semester of grad school.) I finished up the shopping for the holidays and soon celebrated the first nights of Hanukkah with Esther and Geoff before Geoff and I headed home to see my family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On the 26th, Geoff and I visited his family in Philadelphia, which was a ton of fun before returning to close out the year in DC and then finally in Baltimore with Geoff, Esther, Manya, Emma, and Chelsea, who has flown in from Boston/London to be with us.

This pretty much brings us to me sitting here today typing this post. It has been an overall amazing year. Things have not always been great, but I have met wonderful people and I figured out where I want to be in terms of my career and what-not. I’ve seen some amazing movies and done some amazing things, but 2012 promises to be an even more exciting year. So, here’s to everything of the past and to the future. Wherever the roads may lead, may be they be paved with adventures that fulfill wildest dreams. Cheers!

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