The year that was: 2013

It’s about 11:30am on December 31st. I’m in the most wonderful log cabin with my husband and my parents-in-law just outside a small town called Trinidad on the north coast of California. We spent last night here, and we’ll be here tonight in about 12 hours when the clock ticks over and it’s 2014.

This year has been even more transformative and hectic than 2012. For the last three or four years, I feel like life keeps getting better and better. I still have demons, and they rear their heads just as often as they always have, but I’m getting better at communicating with them. Keeping them in check.

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This year:

I saw New York for the first time, and of all the things it could have done, it decided to make me homesick for Melbourne.

I spent almost a whole week with one of my best friends in the world at her home just outside of Philadelphia, and got to meet and hang out with her, her precocious little girl, and her wonderful husband. Jesse got to meet them and immediately fell as much in love with them as I already was.

I travelled to Vancouver to attend another one of my best friends’ engagement party. I met her now-husband, who immediately cemented himself as one of the greatest dudes I know. On the way home, US Customs decided I didn’t have enough proof to show that I wasn’t a high illegal immigration risk, and I was turned around at the border.

After a night of crying and deliberation, we decided it would be best for me to stay in Vancouver for a while so I could work, save money, and build some ties to Canada. I hadn’t been working in the States, so it was a strange sense of relief to be working. I ended up spending almost three months living in Vancouver. I was kept alive and sane by my amazing aunt, uncle, cousins, and friends. I wouldn’t have made it through those months without them. (You know who you are. Thank you.)

While in Vancouver, Jesse and I decided that the best way to prevent being separated in that way again would be to get married. There was no outrageous proposal; it was a mutual decision. Some people called it unromantic, but I felt like it was the opposite. We couldn’t bear to be apart. We did everything we had to do to stay together. Marriage was never anything either of us cared or worried about, but suddenly it was the difference between being together or being apart.

I came back to San Francisco. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I wrote a blog post about going to the Jehovah’s Witnesses Memorial service, and my brother and his wife cut me out of their lives as a result.

Wedding plans were underway in Melbourne. We were happy enough to just go to the registry and sign the paperwork, so all of the planning and preparation was done by our respective families and friends.

I returned to the U.S. and had a beautiful summer in San Francisco. We went camping near Sonoma.

I flew back to Melbourne about two weeks before our wedding date, August 2nd, and spent a lot of time with family and friends. It was frantic at times, but wonderful.

On August 2nd, 2013, I married Jesse Dodds, the most wonderful, beautiful, kind, intelligent, magical person I’ve ever come across. It was three days of intense socializing, but it was wonderful. The amount of work put into the whole thing was incredible. We are very loved, and we are eternally grateful for the effort that went into our wedding day. (To all that planned, executed, and attended any part of our wedding: THANK YOU. You have no idea how much it meant to us.)

We spent some more time in Melbourne. I got my U.S. visa, which (in a lot of ways) was far more exciting than the wedding, because that was the piece of paper saying I could be with my love for as long as I wanted, in the city that we’d adopted as our new home.

I came back to the U.S. as a married woman, spent one night in our apartment, and flew back up to Vancouver to attend the wedding of Steph and Eric (whose engagement party I’d attended earlier in the year). I was a bridesmaid, and it was an honor to be a part of their day – an emotionally-charged, love-filled, happy, beautiful day.

We drove from Vancouver back to San Francisco and stayed at a few places along the way. Our honeymoon roadtrip was an incredible comedown from the preceding months of intense travelling and socialization.

We came back to SF.

Time passed.

The weather got cooler.

I started working. (FINALLY!)

Jesse accepted a new job, and we flew to the Bahamas to change our U.S. visas over.

His parents arrived just in time for Christmas. We spent Christmas Day in Dolores Park, eating and drinking until we couldn’t eat or drink any more.

We started driving up towards Portland…. and now here we are.

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There isn’t much else to say that isn’t going to turn into a long, emotional analysis of each event of the year. Suffice it to say, it’s been amazing. I miss my family and friends back home, but being able to spend time with them around the wedding was a blessing, as frantic as it might have been.

To everyone I loved, lost, argued with, cried with, hugged, talked to, connected with in any way over this year: thank you. You helped make my 2013 the most transformative and exciting year of my life thus far.

Happy New Year.