I was watching a VH1 special titled "2009: That REALLY Happened". They were discussing all the crazy antics that happened during the year. At one point, one of the comedians said "when we look back at 2009, the first thing we're going to think of is that Michael Jackson died". I'm sorry, sir, but no, I won't. the first thing I think of is that I graduated from college. Michael Jackson's death is pretty low on my list of precious memories.
2009 was one of the best years yet. Besides Laurence being sick and my few emotional breakdowns over figuring out what's next, I had an amazing year. Here are the hilights!
-Living with Lauren/Jess. : I had a strong relationship with both these girls. Jess and I had been friends throughout our four years, so we went through a lot together. It meant that we understood each other and were able to support and stand up for one another. Lauren and I were extremly close, and when I think of those last few months with her I think: digging cars out of snow, den sandwhiches, American Idol, Friday nights on the couch, award shows, Main Street, lazy movie days. I really miss that aspect of college.
-Our party in January: The three of us decided to have a party in January, and it was such a blast. I think back to that night and just laugh. Alex, Sam, and I were ridic as far as dancing. JBizz passed out on the couch but waking up for "single ladies". Alex and I doing "no air". So fun, and I have the pictures and videos to prove it!
American Idol Season 8: The next season of American Idol began and with that I was offered a writing position for the Detroit News. I was able to blog about Idol after every episode. Looking back, that was quite a blessing. It allowed me to grow in my writing and gave me a different perspective on the show. I enjoyed watching the show with Lauren, texting Sam, and calling my mom during commercial breaks. I wasn't as emotionally attached to the season, but it was fun.
-Internship at KCAN: My internship at KCAN was a big part of January and the rest of that semester. I was nervous about it, but a few days in I knew it was perfect. While I wasn't working directly with child abuse cases, I was providing education and outreach to the community on the issue and organizing our fundraisers. It was an incredible experience overall! I'll never forget the board meetings or late, late nights during the Be A Lifesaver campaign. I am VERY thankful for my supervisor, Mimi, and all the people I met at KCAN who gave me opportunities to grow.
-Melinda's Album Release: Us backups had been waiting for Melinda's debut album for two years. The result was worth the wait, she produced an incredible album that was perfect for her. I am incredibly proud of her and the project. Every single song is perfect, and Melinda's way of connecting emotionally is beautiful.
-Melinda @ the Borders Promo Tour: I had the incredible opportunity to see Melinda twice on her promo tour and introduce her to my parents and one of my best friends, Alicia. Everyone in my life knows how much Melinda means to me and what she has done for me, so to be able to have all the important people in my life meet her was very special for me. It was also the first time I was able to have a good chunk of one on one time with Melinda. Kelley and Melinda made it a point to give me advice about graduating and job interviews. I'll never forget those two nights and I am very grateful for them!
-Mandisa on Valentine's Day: I was also able to see Mandisa that month, on Valentine's Day to be exact. Mandisa and I had been corresponding via myspace the 4 months prior to that, and I was very excited to be able to see her and thank her in person. She has been an inspiration for me in so many ways and I know that she was put in my life for a reason!
-Idols in Concert (Dearborn/Chi-Town). When I found out that Melinda, Chikezie, Phil, and Gina were touring together I flipped. Melinda and Chikezie are my all time faves, and I adore Phil and Gina. I went to the show in Dearborn with Sam, Lauren, and Gem. Talk about an amazing experience. That may have been one of the best concerts of my life. We had front row seats and were practically on the stage. Chikeize and Melinda made eye contact with us for 95% of the show. Chikezie sang "More Than Anyone" to me which is my favorite Gavin song. Lauren and Gem both thought I was going to pass out. I met Gina for the first time, Phil was so hyper, Chikezie wouldn't let go of me and Melinda had to pull us apart, Chikezie let me listen to his first single, Melinda came charing at me full speed. Holy MOLY do I miss that night. The next day, after my walk for the homeless (see below), Gem and I drove to Chicago to surprise Maria/Des and to see the show again. Things were not as magical this time, due to an ice storm/delayed show. However, I did get to meet Melinda's daddy. I also was blocked off from meeting Jon Peter Lewis because Chikezie ran around the table to hug me. Melinda was next to him and was like "are we really going to do this again?". Then she hugged me and said "hi little baby girl". Maria got her first Chikezie hug..Gina and I cried when I told her how much her original song meant to me, then she kissed me on the head. I hugged Melinda forever at the end because at that time I didn't know when I would see her again. Gem and I had to spend the night and the hotel was a crazy maze. Spending quality time with Maria and Des was very special. I'll never, EVER forget that weekend.
-5 Mile Walk for the Homeless: In January, I had decided to really get on top of my weight loss journey. I started walking every single day and trained for a 5 mile walk in March. I would walk 4-5 miles a day and loved getting fit, I could feel my calves building muscle. I completed the walk the day after seeing Idols in Dearborn (don't ask me how I woke up for that, I'll still never know). It was special for me because even though it was only 5 miles, it was a major accomplishment. Plus, Gem was there to greet me at the finish line. I also raised $200 thanks to my AMAZING friends.
-Graduation: I never thought I would make it through four years at Western. It was a rough four years, and I went through many struggles. However, graduation day was a very proud moment for me. Sam and Alex drove in and my whole family was there. It was such a blast celebrating and rejoicing. I miss parts of college, but I wouldn't go back and do it again. One day I hope I can think of college and smile, rather than think of anxiety and bad roomates. Graduation was the day of the marathon, and I got to talk to all the backups + Janet/Kelley/Melinda, and Melinda made me a special video. I had SO much fun that night with Lauren, Sam, and Alex, too.
-Idols in Utah/Visit to Vegas: The BEST graduation present I could have asked for from the backups was to visit Val in Vegas and see Melinda/Phil/Gina/Chikezie again. I flew across the country all by myself and was able to spend some amazing quality time with Val in the BEAUTIFUL Las Vegas area. I mean...you really have no idea what Vegas is like until you see it in person. It's like it's own world. We drove an hour or so away to the MOST AMAZING venue I've ever been in- it was an ampitheatre in the mountains. Just picture that. I also got to see Maria, Des, Ape, and Cathy. Ape was a surprise and I almost knocked her over hugging her. Melinda and Chikezie didn't know I was coming, I thought Melinda was going to fall of the stage. Her performance of "home" that night was unforgettable. At the end of the show she grabbed Chikezie's hand and they stood in front of me, singing and waving. Afterwards, I was in the middle of talking to Chikezie when it started to downpour. We had to move to a covered area, he still had my picture in his hand so he came to find me. The backups chatted it up with Melinda and then she asked who gave Chikezie the Vegan cupcakes. Miss Sassy Pants called him over and told him it was me, which got me another hug and conversation with him. That night I for real hugged Melinda for the last time in a while (haven't seen her since). OH, and Chikezie kissed me on the cheek and promised to come visit me soon (Ahem..sir...it's past soon). It was a very special night and to be able to spend time with those backups was SO much fun. I want to go back and relive that weekend!
-My brother gets engaged! My brother let us know that he was going to propose to his girlfriend, Sara, and asked that we would come and be there. We traveled to Indy and met Sara's family at a restauraunt. Sara and JP walked in a little later, much to Sara's surprise. I am SO happy for them! I am excited to have a new sister and that my brother is so happy, he truly deserves it. It was great to be able to get to know Sara's family and spend time with my own. I cannot wait for their wedding and again, I am so happy for those two.
So there you have it, folks. The first 1/2 of 2009. My biggest struggles at this time were figuring out my life, financial struggles, and drifting away from friends. I had a major falling out with one of my best friends, and the experience hurt me but also allowed me to grow, to take a step back and realize I can only worry about myself, not trying to please everyone else all the time.
Part two is coming up :)