New Years Cheers and My Upcoming, First-ever Family Vacation!

“It is a chiché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue.” –Stephen Fry

Are you done with all the New Years clichés by now? Christmas was barely over and that’s all I was seeing: resolutions, goal setting goals, goodbyes to 2014 and hellos to 2015.

These are all fine and dandy, but this kind of approach doesn’t really suit me. (Clearly, since it’s already mid-January and I went above and beyond in missing the bandwagon for this one.)

I admire those of you who got down to business with goal setting before New Years Eve. I’m usually still reeling from the holiday festivities by then, and I rarely secure a moment of quiet during that post-Christmas time. Forget having the chance to even think about making good resolutions. Operating on my own time table, my style drifts more toward leaving the New Years resolutions for mid-February and having them become firmly established as accomplish-worthy goals by March 1st (but more on this later).

I didn’t want to do a recap of 2014 either, probably because I usually reflect on the year when springtime finally arrives… about when Easter makes its grand entrance (and it just so happens to be my favorite holiday.) But let’s be honest. My siblings would be the first ones to say that the reason I do these things is… simply because I just want to be different.

And they would be right.

What can I say? I blame it entirely on being a middle child… and if you’re also a middle child, I’m sure you can understand exactly why.

All that aside, I’ve been working on a multitude of writing projects since 2015 officially started… in which case, none of them are quite close to being finished yet. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to no good, quite the contrary! Allow me to indulge in a little randomness at the starting blocks of my 2015.

track

Speaking of starting blocks… high school track and field season is only 2 months away, can you believe it?! I’m excited to coach jumps and serve as an assistant coach again this year. Plus, it looks like my tiny high school has a hard working and talented senior class this year (if their other sports performances are any indication). Naturally, we’re expecting great things from them and the underclassmen.

I always start thinking of track and field when I want to go running outside. Of course, the moment I think of that is when it’s way too cold for me to go on any kind of run whatsoever. Oh well, spring will be here soon enough.

Speaking of freezing cold… was anyone else’s New Year’s Eve spectacularly frigid? I was so grateful I had many layers on for the walks between buildings at night, that’s for sure!

I had to work most of the day, but my brother and I drove to Missoula to meet up with some old and new friends, including a former coworker from the summers of my college days, as well as a dear college friend who drove out from Milwaukee to spend time with my family and me. We even ran into my parents on their ‘date night’ at one point, too. The only very important person missing from our festivities was my sister, who had come down with the flu and needed to stay home.

My friends and I initially hopped around to a few places, but we finally settled in at PLONK for a few hours before midnight. I have to say, it’s one of the best places I’ve ever been to for New Years with decadent desserts, many tasty beverages, and fabulous live music (but I’ll write more on that later).

What really made New Years and Christmas special, despite the cold, was getting to spend the holidays with good friends and my entire immediate family. We know the opportunities for holiday celebrations all together in the future are limited, and I’m glad we’ve taken advantage of the time together now.

Speaking of family… it’s been a rough start in the new year for my grandmother. After she experienced a fall before Christmas (thankfully, no broken bones!) and a few other recent setbacks, my mom’s mom hadn’t been doing very well and was in the hospital for a bit. Thankfully my mom was able to quickly fly to Wisconsin for just over a week to see how she’s doing and help figure out what the next steps will be for her. My mom is keeping us up-to-date on how they are doing, and I was able to see both of them on Sunday when we connected on FaceTime during the Packers vs. Seahawks football game.

In the meantime, my grandmother’s been working very hard with her physical therapy so she can become strong again. All my extended family in Wisconsin has made such a strong effort to be with her and support her in this difficult time. It’s wonderful to see aunts, uncles, and cousins rally around when any one of us is ever in need, and it’s especially meaningful for those of us who live so far away from our grandmother. I am immensely grateful to you, and I’m honored that we are family.

I admire my grandmother so much, and we are very close… our personalities are so similar, from the way we think about things, to how we handle stress, to the funny faces we make at each other… it’s sometimes uncanny how alike we are. And I love it! She’s one of just a handful of relatives who really understands me, and though she is already 90 years old, I’m so blessed she is still with us and we’ve been able to spend more time together now that I’m an adult.

Speaking of spending time together… my immediate family is about to embark on our first-ever family vacation, just the 5 of us! We’re celebrating my mom’s ‘milestone’ birthday a month early and flying down to Orlando, Florida for… you guessed it… DISNEY WORLD! It will be an adventure of many firsts for me: first time to Florida, first time to any Disney Park, first time to SeaWorld or Universal Studios (or, let’s be honest, any well-known theme park ever), first NHL game experience… so many ‘firsts’ that I can hardly keep track or contain my enthusiasm! I’ll be sure to keep you posted on these adventures in the following week(s), although this is a good place to start.

Speaking of firsts… this is my first blog post of 2015! I’m excited to be writing more and talking about travel, language, life adventures, and all the quotable tidbits I’ll be discovering along the way. I hope you’ll continue reading with me in the start of a year filled with colorful promise!

Speaking of adventures… I NEED YOUR HELP! What are some of the things I absolutely cannot miss out on while in Orlando? I haven’t hard-scheduled much of anything, which should give me some fun flexibility. ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at Universal Studios is definitely on my list, but what else should I include? Local eats? Coffee houses? Tea Shops? Scenic spots? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll track it down with a photo and a smile. Many thanks!

“Don’t be a tourist. Plan less. Go slowly. I traveled in the most inefficient way possible and it took me exactly where I wanted to go.” –Andrew Evans, National Geographic’s Digital Nomad

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