I welcomed in 2012 in much the same way that I spent the better two-thirds of 2011 – ill!  Or rather, nearly ill.  It felt like I was coming down with something new every few weeks.  But I’m good as new now and looking forward to 2012, though to be honest, I don’t know what it’ll end up looking like twelve months from now.

The past twelve months, however, are filled with memories that I treasure very much – most of which I’ve yet to actually share!  I’m so behind, but I’ll get around to it (theme of the new year?  gee, I hope not).

On December 31, my parents arrived in Paris, and a day later, on the first of January, we set off in search of warmer climes, spending two weeks in Andalucía, Spain.  We couldn’t have hoped to see architecture more beautiful than that at the Alhambra.  And I don’t think I’ve seen anything as breathtaking since!

In February, I got to take advantage of the unwritten “friend overseas providing obligatory accommodation” rule and go back to Spain to camp out in Barcelona for a few days – so different from southern Spain, but captivating in its own right.

I decided to make my stay in France legal in March, only four months after I really should have.  More importantly, I got rid of the crick in my neck from looking over my shoulder for the gendarmerie coming to check my (very much expired) papers and send me away to jail, probably to Château d’If.

I took some time in April to re-explore some of my favorite places in Pays de la Loire, like Pornic.  Little towns like these never lost their charm, and who could possibly get tired of such great views of the Atlantic?

After a less-than-grueling round of final exams, at the end of May I made a trip to Albi, the town where I first experienced life in France.  I was fifteen and not very good at French, but it was one of the happiest times of my life, and going back and spending a few days with my host family was a chance to relive that summer.

In June, I bid a final farewell to Nantes, and spent a leisurely two weeks driving along the coast of Brittany and Normandy with my parents (who were more than happy to make their second trip over to France for the year).  It was a nice way to say goodbye to France, hard as it may have been to get on the airplane back home.

After ten months abroad, coming back to the states was tough, but I made sure to drown myself in the finest coffee the bay area had to offer for the entirety of July.  It seems to have done the trick, but only just.

In August, I got reacquainted with my favorite spots in the bay and introduced to some new ones, like the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.  For all the glitz and butter of France, I guess I had forgotten about how much I really loved my home!

But I didn’t stick around too long, and in September I moved back to Seattle to start my last year at the University of Washington.  Being back on campus has been wonderful, but I know my days here are numbered…

So throughout October, I promised to start making the most of my time in Seattle, which included a trip downtown with my roommate for Halloween, dressed in our best Marcel Marceau stripes, pretending to be trapped inside boxes of varying sizes, and forgetting that mimes aren’t really supposed to talk to each other.  La honte!

In November, my roommate and I found a sushi restaurant so wonderful that the rest of the month isn’t even worth mentioning (and really, it isn’t).

After a quick round of exams, I headed home and spent the latter half of December cooking with my parents, reuniting with friends over coffee, over Thai food, over crêpes, over sushi, and feeling anxiety about the future (the good-ish kind, I think).

We’ll see where 2012 leads!


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