What a year it has been.
I started the year off in Florida. My parents surprised my brother and I with tickets to the Outback Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida, so that’s how we rang in the new year.
A few days later, I left for three months in Spain and embarked on the biggest adventure of my life. Knowing nobody, living with a host family, and not being a native Spanish speaker, were all big challenges for me. But I made friends (some of the best friends I could ever imagine, to be honest), I learned how to live like a native Spaniard, and my Spanish speaking skills got better. I visited six different towns and cities in Spain.
I also was fortunate enough to visit six different countries outside of Spain during my time in Europe. I visited places I’ve always dreamed of seeing, but never thought it’d actually happen, along with some other places I never would have ever thought of visiting. I often get asked which country was my favorite outside of Spain and that’s very difficult for me to answer. Each place I went was so different and left a different taste in my mouth (literally, the food was so amazing everywhere I went. It’s hard to choose just one.)
Returning to the USA was hard for me as I knew my adventure was over and it was time to go back to my American lifestyle of working and going to school. But God had a different idea for me. This year has been nothing but adventures for me.
This summer, I worked my first Graphic Design internship at a bank in my hometown. I learned so much from the four short months I was there! I learned that graphic design is my true passion and with some marketing work on the side, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be at that time, I learned that sometimes you have to compromise or even change what you want to do creatively to cater towards a specific audience (seeing as I was the youngest employee there, it was hard for me to not want to create everything in the current popular styles and trends and to actually focus on gearing it towards an older generation than my own), and I learned how to save money (I did work at a bank, after all.)
I also had my fair share of adventures this summer! I got to ride in a hot air balloon over Lake Red Rock, watch part of the Tulip Time festivities from a rooftop of a local business, I got to visit Sheboygan, Wisconsin (somewhere I had never been before) with Ryan and his family. I got to go to multiple concerts including: Ed Sheeran, Parachute for the 4th time, Mike Posner, All Time Low, and Parmalee. Ryan and I enjoyed rides on the motorcycle. I learned how to survive a no-spending month challenge and actually am planning to do another one coming up here in January. I got to go kayaking with my dad and my boyfriend, and I went “floating” with my best friend Lindsey. I visited the Des Moines Farmer’s Market, and got to see my best friend Amanda for a couple of days. Ryan and I attended a local fundraiser that was speakeasy themed, and we spent a day at Adventureland. I played slowpitch softball every Monday night, and I went to the Iowa State Fair before moving back to Dubuque.
I then packed up all of my things (again) and moved back to Dubuque to start my senior year of college.
I had the busiest fall of my life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. From surprising Ryan with a trip up to New Glarus, Wisconsin to tour the New Glarus Brewery, to attending Oktoberfest in Dubuque, to going to UD football games. I went to a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, and carved pumpkins. I went to an Iowa football game. Ryan and I spent a weekend camping up in Decorah, Iowa. I helped organize and run the March of the Spartans for Homecoming. I attended two weddings two weekends in a row back home. I went to my first “headphone disco”. Took a trip to Chicago with all of my best friends…
Oh, and I GOT ENGAGED. To my best friend. To someone I’ve known for what seems like forever. To the one who puts up with me during the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am so excited to marry him and get to spend forever with him. To come home to him every night and make us dinner and then we can cuddle until it’s time for bed and then we can just….go to bed. Nobody will have to leave and drive home because we will be home.
I finished my first semester of my senior year, and came back home for the holidays. Ryan and I survived four Christmases and now it’s just time to wait.
Wait for 2018. Wait for my last J-Term class to start and end. Wait for my last semester of college. Wait to graduate in May. Wait to go on my next big adventure. Wait to find a job somewhere out in the “real world”. Wait to get married to my best friend. Wait to finally not have to do distance with my fiancé anymore.
So much waiting but so much to be excited for. This past year has been the best year of my life so far but the best is yet to come. 2017 was the year I found myself, found my voice, became more independent, and stopped letting people walk all over me. I am so excited and nervous for 2018 and all of the things God has in store for me. Cheers to 2017 ending and for 2018 beginning. I can’t wait to see where life takes me!