December 19, 2012 by Kristen
Once again, I didn’t mail out Christmas cards. Stamps are too pricey on my teacher’s salary. Also, calligraphy seems like such a good idea until you’re about 3 cards in, and you decide that it was in fact a terrible idea as you contemplate cutting your hand off…
For all of you that enjoyed last year’s Christmas card/letter, I present you with this year’s version. For those of you that didn’t enjoy last years, you probably will enjoy this one to an equal or lesser amount. I make no apologies for that. I aim to keep my Christmas letter free from holiday filler like, “He went to Jared!” or self-promoting fluff like, “I spent 6 months in Djibouti conducting workshops for monkeys about fair trade and sustainable living.” (Though that is on my agenda for next year.) No one wants to hear about how little Kevin with the peg-leg is captain of the Mathletes. Even fewer people care that “Grant puts in long hours at the firm, but still manages to get out on the links to perfect his swing.” Kevin is no better than someone else’s C- student—-average people get jobs too! (Albeit, average jobs, I suppose.) Also, kudos on the public, passive aggressive jab at Grant’s priorities being everything except your marriage! Furthermore, thank you for the pictures of your family vacation to New Zealand! Looks like fun…my biggest “adventure” involved braving Walmart on a Sunday afternoon. Also, your whole family looks like hobbits, so you fit in perfectly in those vaca pics. Zing!
It looks as if I have digressed into a tirade. So without further ado, I give you: Kristen’s 2012 Christmas Letter.
Feliz Navidad, native Spanish speakers—which includes absolutely no one in my inner circle of family and friends. However, I finished my Masters degree this year, so naturally I’m much more self-aware and culturally sensitive, so it’s important to acknowledge that ‘Merica-speak isn’t the only language out there. With that out of the way, let’s proceed with a recap of 2012.
From the looks of this year’s Christmas picture, you may hypothesize that I no longer reside in the Mitten, since my skin is not its typical ghastly white. You would be incorrect. I still live in Michigan and my skin is possibly whiter than last year! I just cranked up the “warmify” edit on iPhoto. [Why hasn’t anyone invented a real life app for that yet?!] Like last year, I attended the Passion conference in Atlanta to start off 2012. The focus was on ending human trafficking—a cause very near and dear to my heart. It was amazing to stand in line with a good friend of mine to give money. Christianity gets such a bad rap sometimes—this was a small glimpse of what faith in action should really look like.
January-May was consumed with student teaching and graduate school. In a half-hearted attempt to “put myself out there,” I also went on a date with a boy I met on the bus. This taught me that serendipity is not a real thing, people and also that you’ll never meet your soulmate on the bus. Though those months of grad school work and teaching were stressful and overwhelming, it was all worth it to accept my “fake” diploma from my professor on commencement day. I say “fake,” because I still had a thesis to complete and present a month later. The only way to sum up my “journey” toward becoming an educator is with the video I included at the end of my thesis presentation:
As graduate school drew to a close, I was privileged to sign a contract for my first teaching job as well as secure a job teaching summer school. Teaching summer school has a shocking number of parallels to being a warden at a juvenile detention center. I perfected the “Ms. Kitti Look of Pure Disdain: melting the souls of misbehaving delinquents since 2012.” Leading up to that, during the late spring, I ran into a boy walking his dog and we proceeded to date, as is typical in such situations. I retired my cynicism about love for the summer as evidenced by the tweet below…
Several months later, I’m still happily dating that wonderful guy, and it’s all kinds of rainbows and unicorns up in this relationship. Who would have guessed? [For those of you that are wondering, this does mean that Ryan Gosling and I broke up. He kept pressuring me to accept his proposal, and finally I just had to cut him loose. Cute kid. Hopefully he finds someone.]
Notably, this year, I began to receive bizarre church e-mails. It started small with, “Would you be willing to drive the church shuttle?” and “Would you like to play on the softball team?” However, things escalated to “How have you been treating your wife this week?” “Here’s a chart for you to log your progress.” So–in 2012, people thought I was a man. Yes, 2012 was good to me.
In the early fall, I flew away from the nest. Though the nest is still quite comfy, and I return to it often. Is it possible that I’m suffering from empty-nest syndrome? While I’m still adjusting to being a “grown up,” I am blessed to have a teaching job where every day there is something new. Additionally, living on my own does have its perks…I leave my shoes wherever I please. I’m a stimulating conversationalist with myself at dinner each night. Downsides: there is no one to blame but myself when I run out of milk and the dishes in the sink always belong to me. OR my apartment gnome…I’m convinced he’s the messy one.
So here I am today, home on “Christmas break” (Heck yes, being a teacher still means two weeks off at Christmas!!) enjoying reading and writing for fun, for the first time in several months. This crazy year brought: a new degree, a new relationship, a new apartment, a new job…a lot of new. Thanks to the “old” people in my life that supported me and helped me along in these new adventures. Thanks be to God for His provision.
It’s truly a wonderful life. Merry Christmas!