Upon the turning of the new year it's fun to look back and consider 2011 as a stand-alone increment in my life. Soon enough I'll think back on it only in terms of the whole year. But as it is happening, it's the months or weeks that feel overwhelmingly full or important. The completion of certain tasks, the passage of a holiday or anniversary. As I grow farther away in time from those events they meld into memories of the year - eventually the decade. The littler measurements of time passage go so fast. What is a second, minute or hour? What can you do in an hour anymore? Watch an episode of a tv show? Make dinner? Even days can seem tiny. I almost wonder sometimes why we still measure time in days, they pass so quickly. Like the poor, copper penny, a day doesn't seem to be worth much anymore. Is this proof of the "inflation" of time?
Memories seem more vivid when they're tied to a sensory experience. I thought I'd throw together some 2011 highlights themed by the 5 senses. I think it will be good for me to be able to look back at this post someday and quickly be reminded of the meat of 2011.
A year of transition and discovery. A lot of my new perspective is figurative, some of it is more literal.
Family Moments. The most awesome benefit of living in Ohio is my proximity to family. As a result of my move last October I have seen tons of family on both sides of the tree. Beyond the obvious bonuses of being around my parents and my sister's family more often- I'm especially grateful for the time I've spent with: my mother's parents in Columbus, my cousin who returned from Kenya this summer after 3 years away, and my Aunt and uncle in Cleveland. My ability to see family with more frequency is changing the way I love and understand my family.
Beginning of a new country- South Sudan. Sure, I didn't see it happen, but I felt close to the excitement and progress as it happened. I served at an overnight camp for the children of Sudanese residents of Dayton as they bussed to polling places in Tennessee and Dayton. It is a beautiful thing to see the world as community rather than vastness.
New York City. At long last, I visited NYC. It begs a revisit, as I was a chaperone on this trip and much of my attention was directed to keeping track of ten bobbing teenage heads in a mega crowded city. Still, an exciting step. Especially when I realized that the big apple isn't as big and scary as my imagination was making it out to be.
Sarah's First Christmas Tree. I know I just went on about this. But it's really special. Not to mention that the new apartment, living away from home again thing is still news.
As an audiophile, it's tough to wheedle down the entries in this section.
The Fort Choir. Singing in the church choir with my dad, directed by one of my good pals. It doesn't get too much better. Oh wait, it does when you sing hardcore energetic gospel worship at a church conference full of tired old Methodist preachers.
Lily says "Sarah". my neice's first attempts at saying her aunt's name. "Say-yuh". Totally darling. She only spent 4 months slying shaking her head "no" instead of saying it.
2011 New Music. This year I was introduced to a little new favorite music (resolutions for this year include discovering more new artists in 2012) I should mention the Avett Brothers, Ryan Montebleau and Gungor. Biggest album of the year for me? "Barton Hollow" by The Civil Wars.
Since moving away from the "big city" and to Dayton, I'm still learning the new tastes. More discovery of great lil' food joints in 2012.
Dayton Food Wagons. Caribbacanas after a garden work day. Go Cupcake at a feminist bash. Fressa on a moment's notice.
Press Curry Coffee. I'm not the only one who loves this coffee shop. Itty bitty Dayton's teency tiny independent coffee shop got props on a recent Zagat survey.
Skipping rocks, climbing hills, shaking hands. Touch shapes emotion in ways words cannot.
Holding Baby Ella. I was the lucky first visitor in the delivery room after my friends' baby was born. I have had some very important non-related "aunts" in my life. It is really special to be one to someone else.
Summer earthquake. While working 13 floors up in a skyrise in downtown Dayton I felt the dizzying effects of a earthquake centering out of Virginia.
Wrestling with the nephews. I'm not brawny like their daddy, but I love that I can toss the kiddos around. The three of them are all adventurous and brave. They loved to be tossed and tackled. They go through cranky pseudo-teenage phases, but sometimes they still let me cuddle up with them on the couch, too.
Smells make memories that seem to sneak up on you, so it's hard to collect a few memories of 2011 scents on command. I'll take a stab, still.
Gas and oil on cold winter mornings. My car leaks both. I especially remember this smell on morning drives to Sinclair Community College in very early 2011.
Farmersville Harvest. This was my first rural Ohio fall. I learned what soybean harvest looks, feels, and smells like. At other moments later in fall, a second smell- fertilizer.