02 January 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! I hope everyone out there had a happy and healthy holiday season! Here at Lunaticraft, though it's been busy, the season has been a happy one. Both sides of my family have lived in NEPA for a few generations now, so holidays can be hectic and draining as we rush from one dinner to the next, and scurry to wrap gift upon gift. The status of both my brother and I as freelance musicians also adds to the craziness, particularly on Christmas Eve as we fight to squeeze the traditional family stuff and time with our significant others in between our various mass and service gigs. It's sometimes very easy to lose sight of the fact that holidays are supposed to be for celebrating and enjoying.

This year my boyfriend had a huge hand in helping to keep me in the spirit and my annual baking marathon with my grandmother helped me transition from the high-stress situation of an unusually late finals week to true holiday mode. (Posts coming soon) In general, the main holidays have come and gone smoothly and happily, capping off a difficult, if satisfying and rewarding year.

Economically, it's been a very difficult year for me. I have my part-time teaching job, but the reality is that I get paid more in experience than actual livable wages. It will be a gigantic help when I apply to Ph.D. programs this fall, but until then, even without rent (which my parents are kind enough to not charge me), thanks to student loans it's a major struggle. I only get paid six months out of the year due to my status as contract/part-time, and despite the dozens upon dozens of applications I've put out in the past year simply cannot seem to land any supplemental income.

But somehow I made it through the holidays, with only the funds for February's upcoming car insurance payment still unaccounted for. I made a huge effort to think ahead this year, socking away as much money as possible so that I could actually afford to get decently thoughtful gifts for my family and boyfriend, and it payed off. We're a very tightly knit family, and even though we kids are all grown up, we still exchange with my aunts and uncles in the area. It felt really good to be able to hand them each something a little more than just another year of cookies or hot chocolate mix for a change. As for me, well, you can see above. All I can say is that I'm a lucky girl with an amazing, wonderful guy and a loving family who in general really gets who I am. And that's the most amazing gift of all of it.

Professionally and personally it has also been a year of challenges. Professionally, it's mainly just run of the mill growing pains as I slowly but surely learn from experience what works and what doesn't. Though challenging, this year has brought me more growth than I ever could have imagined and not one, but two successful semesters. My course evaluations, both formal and informal, were all good, and most importantly very helpful in allowing me to shape and construct future courses. I have been blessed with amazing and understanding students, and quite honestly, I learn just as much from them as they (hopefully) learn from me!

Personally, the year has been one of ups and downs, lefts and rights, but through it all I've been blessed by my super supportive and patient boyfriend. We just celebrated our one year anniversary at the end of October, and though I haven't talked about our relationship on this blog until recently for personal reasons, it's been an amazing 14 months. Living at home with your parents as a 24 year old professor can be frustrating at best, and he's been amazing about listening to me vent, and both agreeing with me when I'm right, and gently reminding me that it IS my parent's house when I'm wrong. I often feel like I'm stuck in this weird place between two worlds, and frankly it's been a big stumbling block over the past year. At work I get to be a fully independent adult, in my personal life I'm a typical 24 year old with friends and hobbies and places to go and be, but then sometimes when I walk back in the door at home it's like I've walked through a time warp and am suddenly sixteen again. Finding a balance between "I'm 24 and making all the right decisions for my future - I think I've proved myself enough to be able to run my own life" and "Our house our rules" is something that both me AND my parents have struggled with repeatedly over the past year, particularly as I started dating again for the first time since returning home from college in '08.

But we'll figure it out. And hopefully 2012 will be just as full of happiness and growth, not just for me, but for all you lovelies out there as well.

Here's to an amazing 2012.

(Photos from top to bottom: My grandmother's cat & nativity set, My grandmother's tree, My friend's tree, Gifts I received, Highlights from our own tree.)

1 comment:

Timiae said...

As always, beautiful pictures! Is that a Civil War book? Being from Ga and a history major, I have a deep interest in the War of Northern Aggression, lol! I completely get you on being 24 and struggling between being an adult and living at home. It was that way when I came home from the Army... getting my parents to see that I was an adult who had accomplishments like college and military was frustrating at times! It all worked out in the end, though!