Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's that time of year again when I really start thinking about what's happened in the last 12 months. How have I changed? What has made this year different? Was this year my best yet, as it always should be?

2009 was a hard year for me. Probably my hardest actually. Probably my most exciting too. Definitely my most life-changing. I can't believe how much I've been able to experience in such a short time. Some of it was really good. Some of it, not so good. But all of it is responsible for making me a different person than I was last December; all of it is responsible for making me a person that I like much more than I liked the person in my shoes last December.

In 2009 I left my bank job that I loved so much. I fell in love with school. I tried ten new flavors of vafly. I got a parasite. I made new life-long friends. I lost some friends that I thought were going to be life-long. I felt how hard it was to see people leave. I felt how great it was to see them unexpectedly come back. I went to a Russian banya. I learned about religious freedom. I competed in several gruelling legal competitions. I saw our nation's capital. I got swine flu. I broke my hand. Had some surgery too. I lost 18 pounds in six weeks. I finished a year and a half of law school. I applied to a thousand firms. I accepted zero jobs. I lost a great grandma. I learned how to party. I grew my hair. I started wearing ties more often. I learned how to parallel park. I visited 10,000 Russian Orthodox Church services. I bought an icon. I fainted twice. I saw my Ukrainian friends that I've missed for five years. I cried my eyes out at the train station when I had to say goodbye. I helped teach a contracts class. I started taking sleeping pills. I sort of started sleeping. I finally learned about the federal income tax system. I fell in love with Moscow. I got a tan and retained it for four whole weeks. I moved twice. I learned more about how strong my family is. I only ran two road races, but did better than expected in both. I was gifted a build-a-bear by a crazy person. I went through four phones. I learned a few new songs on the guitar. I forgot most of them. I bought a Wally Lamb book at an airport and didn't get past the third chapter. I got to know the US embassy in Moscow. I ate about forty gallons of borshch. I saw the Hermitage. I saw Lenin. I bought art from a guy underground in the middle of the night. I learned how to make cookie-fruit-salad. I lived at the law building. I got Adeno virus. I fell in love with Promethazine. I fell out of love with Lortab. I stopped caring about things that don't matter. I started the walk-America campaign and held to it for two straight months. I switched from only hating one political party to hating two political parties. I got only slightly closer to finishing Crime and Punishment. I visited an orphanage. I decorated for Halloween. I fought a couple of battles. I won them at a cost. I didn't regret it. I had dinner overlooking an ocean. I lost a flip-flop in the snow. I accidentally ran 13 miles with a friend. I emailed strangers thousands of miles away to beg them to let me come live with them. I slept on a communal train with my bag tied around my body. I drank out of a river. I got rescued by a Tajikistanian in a beat up Lada. I learned how to schedule three meetings at once, several times a day, without missing anything. I ate broccoli soup in the middle of the night in a new cafe. I gave a couch away. I had a sleepover with my six year old niece. We ate broccoli and ice cream. Vintage. I played spoons in a pool. I played what time is it Mr. Fox with some cute kids in their backyard. I ran in the mountains. I started eating chocolate a little bit. I took a wagon ride on Halloween. I was grossed out by a water park. I accidentally carried pepper spray onto a tiny plane. I became obsessed with a tv show about high school football. I almost ate a stuffed green pepper that looked like puke. I bought four dollar sunglasses and lost them in the ocean 24 hours later. I bought replacement sunglasses for five dollars that don't seem quite as good. I lost my voice because of pollution. I watched the movie "Taken" on the floor of an abandoned corner in a German airport. I learned how to Salsa dance. I edited a treatise. I took naps on the grass. I enjoyed life.

I'm not really sure what's going to happen in 2010. We never really know; and that unsurity for some reason seems to be much more obvious during this time of year, forging a tighter bond yet highlighting the difference between our future hopes and growing nostalgia for the past. I always find myself trying to balance my thoughts between that nostalgia and a focus on the future. It won't do much good to continue to obsess over things that came and went. But it would seem like a total waste to just ignore all the laughs and drama simply because their fifteen minutes are up. I guess as long as we figure out how to take the lessons from the past and use those as a part of the process of molding our future hopes, the nostalgia is justified and should even be encouraged. In any event, blogging world, I hope the lessons of 2009 help 2010 just get stranger for you all~

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One Final Done: Tax Shmax

I can't believe how quickly it sprung up on me. Finals started on Monday and I finished my first on Thursday afternoon. I was supposed to take it on Wednesday with the rest of my class but thanks to November throwing a few extra surprises at me, particularly at my right hand, accommodations were made. I was scheduled to take the final on Thursday instead, all by myself with some extra time to make up for my recent handicap as well as having spent the last four weeks completely wasted on a concoction of medications that I'm quite positive I wasn't supposed to take together (I met a lot of people that probably don't really exist during the month of November). These additional accommodations were very appreciated although they did not come without drama unfortunately; another topic for another day.

The first final was Federal Income Tax Law (several of you just fell asleep). I was crammed into a conference room all by myself for six straight hours with nothing but my laptop, a bag of granola bars, an apple, vitamin water, and every piece of paper I could find that had any information about tax law on it. I spread out and went at it . . . and at it . . . and at it, until it started to feel like I was going into a different day. The most depressing point was when I started worrying about time and I looked up at the clock and saw that I still had a good four hours to finish. The good news is that my hand seemed to hold up pretty well; minimal pain and decent accuracy--one day I will be whole again.

I started physical therapy this week, or as I like to call it "therapy." I was really excited to go in and talk about my problems with someone while they massaged my hand. I would be lying if I said I didn't picture physical therapy to take place in a white robe, cucumbers in my eyes, laying back while someone asked me "and how does that make you feel" as I complained about all my trials. Sort of a mixture between a spa, psychologist, and church I guess. Unfortunately physical therapy was painful and not very social. Plus it was earlier in the morning than I cared for. Not to mention, it was bizarrely cold in there. Quite the disappointment. Not at all the moral boost I was hoping to send me into my tax final.

And now here we are. My study group and I spent the last couple of days crammed into a small study room frantically attempting to learn an entire semester's worth of Evidence for our final tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

This was the room I took my tax final in. You'll notice I had my stuff spread all down the table. I stood for most of the test, walking around so I could consult every source known to man before responding to any questions.
Here's a somewhat blurry X-ray of my hand. You can see the four screws going down my bone: the latest additions to my body.
~It Just Gets Stranger