This year has been one for the books. After one of my favorite years (2011), I have felt on a wheel that could never quite catch up to the grandeur again. That something was missing. That I would continually try to fill the happiness void but would come up short. But, how to compare. In 2011 I got to spend a final year with my closest friends, had my longest dream (AFRICA!) come true, and experienced the feelings of New York all over again.
But this year, this 2013 has reached a new kind of beauty. A beauty with simple firsts and happy days that all became checkered together into something more magical than expected.
A surprise visit with my beloved friend in the city of rain and summer sunshine, all-you-can-eat cheese buffets, and sharing stories in clouds beds or seaweed strewn "beaches" down by the light house. Seeing her again just a few months later as we drank ginger beer overlooking the skyline, or had full laughs during our picnic in Central Park. Creating new memories that kept me feeling it for the entire month after she left.
The last weekend of summer when I made a solo trek to Governor's Island, and felt just purely at ease. To see the city out in the distance. To see men dancing and that damn woman from "What Not to Wear" and to notice the seasons changing as I enjoyed the green grass under handmade sculptures. The fall coming oh so quickly.
The tram ride up to the Great Wall of China. The rickety way we would jolt down the mountain with each jank in the chain, grasping the railing with all of our strength. To have stood atop, and see the wall continuing in every direction, was one of the best moments. Dripping in sweat, the climb, and tram ride, all became worth it. To have had brunch in Shanghai on the highest floor, while spending a week with my family. I loved getting to be together for such an unforgettable trip.
When Chip and I first arrived in Istanbul, at night, without a working debit card. With our cab driver explaining the old city through broken English and we tried to communicate in the most embarrassing Turkish, it was the great adventure. I loved the rush and uncertainty that came with just arriving. Looking out the window to the old city--with the wall shining in an orange glow after midnight, the Bosphorus almost turquoise, and the looks on our face when we were dropped in the wrong neighborhood, without any money.
Photographing the singer Lights at Central Park SummerStage. Feeling the pulse of the crowd behind me; the barrier barely holding steady. The excitement of looking through the photos later that night, dreaming of the day this could be all of it.
Going up in the highest skyscrapers in New York, running home in the rain, spending afternoons with Cdawg, drunk brunches with Liz, and getting abandoned with Kara on the wrong subway.
Flywheel. The most changing experience of everything from the past year. The pure exhalation that floats over the room when an entire class has the energy to push through the miles, the hills, the final sprints. When the teachers call me out by name in the darkened studio. When the snow falls every Tuesday in TriBeCa. When I feel like I'm walking on air hours after the last song. The community and love and happiness that goes along with 45 minutes. Ah, it can never fully be explained.
New foods were tried, new friends were found and cherished. Old friends with new loves, new beginnings. I've loved getting to be a part of this past year.