December 13, 2011 by Kristen
I didn’t send out Christmas cards this year. I say that like I’ve actually sent out Christmas cards in the past. I’m struggling with whether I’m enough of my own entity to send out a Christmas card. Don’t you have to be engaged, married, or have a family to do such things? I say, “Nay!” Usually those cards are full of fluff like, “Billy made the honor roll again and is better than all of your children combined. Grant got a promotion at work and makes millions of dollars so we all went to Hawaii to celebrate.” Riveting stuff. Gag. In preparation for my snail mail version next year, I present you with: Kristen’s Christmas Letter.
Season’s Greetings friends, family, and literate pets! I say “seasons,” because “Happy Holidays” implies that there is a holiday being celebrated and that may exclude some people who do not partake in any festivities this time of year. I dare not say “Merry Christmas” because that is downright offensive. (Apologies for my use of the “idiom” in the above picture.) Even though saying “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” is never criticized as offensive to any non-Irish person who doesn’t celebrate that holiday. But it’s a holiday that’s been diluted into being all about the consumption of alcohol in copious amounts, so what American doesn’t participate? Gee, now I’m offended and feel left out.
As you can tell from my picture, I’m still residing in the Murder Mitten, and my skin tone is a metaphor for our winters. It’s been quite a year for me. The year started off with one of the most life-changing conferences of my life: Passion 2011. 20,000+ college students gathered to praise the name of Jesus and in the process, donated over a million dollars to countless causes including: surgeries for children, building wells in India, and efforts to stop sex trafficking. It helped better shape my perspective and focus on Who and what I’m living for. After that, it was back to the banks of the Red Cedar to finish up my senior year. I remained on the prowl for a suitable mate, but unfortunately found myself still single on graduation day in May. I decorated my cap with rhinestones and did a celey fist-pump on stage when I was given my diploma. However, that piece of paper did not catapult me into the adult world as I had hoped. Presently, my nails are painted with glitter nail-polish and there is a cabbage patch doll sitting next to me. But I can produce a literary analysis that would exploit the man-crush sensibilities of any college professor. So there’s that.
After graduation I moved into a nice house with two great housemates. We’re so close, some might even say we’re like family. (And by like, they mean are.) Things are great, except one housemate has a constant mountain of laundry in her room, forgets to unload the dishwasher, and leaves her shoes by the front door. It is a source of tension. Threats of eviction linger in the air. I hope she can get her act together or move out in the near future. During the whole moving process, I also got a job teaching group exercise at a local gym. I was saddened to leave my college girls behind when I left my position at MSU, so this was a major blessing. I also earned another certification in the process, but Turbo Kick continues to be my favorite class to teach. Chuck Norris fears my roundhouse kick. I also wear a bandana.
May brought the addition of a new family member. No, I did not birth a mini human. My sister got married in what was the most beautiful wedding of all time, surpassing Kim Kardashian’s tacky affair. I feel like my sister’s wedding was probably longer than Kim’s entire marriage. Anyways. I was pretty much the Pippa Middleton of the entire affair—I gave the best speech since Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream,” busted moves so hard that I had to ice my feet the next morning, and smoked a celebratory cigar on my back deck with my brother’s friends. Well, maybe not a whole cigar. Also, good news! I did not catch the bouquet, but that didn’t stop me from delving into a few relationships this year. Ryan Gosling and I continue to be in love, but we have both agreed to take things slow. He wanted to get married right away and I said, “Listen, Ryan. You’re pretty. And you clearly adore me, but I’ve got things I need to accomplish before I’m ready to settle down.” He agreed, but he still keeps the Tiffany engagement ring in his sock drawer. It’s cute, in a slightly pathetic way.
The biggest change in my life this year was entering the “Twilight Zone” of an accelerated grad. program at the University of Michigan. (Go Green!) I began working on my Master’s Degree in June and will finish in June of 2012 with a Master’s in Education with Secondary Certification. So far I’ve only broken down into hysterical sobs twice, so it’s been going pretty well. I begin my full student teaching in the upcoming semester and future lesson plans include: flameless candles, How I Met Your Mother video clips, and a black veil. I really hope I’m the creative teacher, not the weird one. Additionally, I have spent the last few months as a leader in the youth group at my church and that has been so rewarding. I also started a blog. Four people read it, so yeah, I’m definitely quitting my day job to pursue writing. Oh wait, I don’t have one.
Well I think I should wrap this up. This year was: crazy, messy, life-changing, joyous, sad, challenging, rewarding, and unexpected. I got my degree. Moved. Started another degree. Began a quest to become a teacher. Fell more in love with my Lord than ever before.
It’s a wonderful life. Merry Christmas.