As I scoot further back into the blue leather chair and get cozy for the 10-hour flight to Poland, I can’t help but just close my eyes and smile as I think of how remarkable 2011 has been! Extraordinary moments and experiences, both big and small, have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on my life. Here is a look back at the highlights that defined my life in 2011, month by month!
-Volunteering in the community for the last few times as a 500 Festival Princess at an Indianapolis Pacer’s Game and the 2011 interviews
-Helping the former State Representative for whom I worked at the Indiana State House, Dennis Tyler, on his campaign endeavors to become the Mayor of Muncie (he was just sworn in to office too!)
-Instigating an impromptu indoor snowball fight with my love bugs!
-Spending a week with some of my best friends in South Padre Island for spring break
-Getting the fateful letter in the mail, after waiting 7 months, notifying me that I had been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and sharing the blessings of that day with my sister as she was named the “Outstanding Female” of Butler University for 2011
-Meeting my Wish Kid Saige and her family, some of the most loving people I know!
-Receiving the 2011 John R. Emens “Outstanding Senior Award”
-Being awarded the “2011 Outstanding Student Award” from the American Institute of Certified Planners
-Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Ball State University and speaking at graduation
-Traveling all over Italy and Greece with my sister as our graduation present to ourselves and making some amazing new friends while abroad
-Receiving a summer position with the Indianapolis Colts as the receptionist and becoming a part of an incredible Colts family
-Competing for the title of Miss Indiana as Miss Central Indiana and winning the “Joy of Life Award,” the “Hoosier Leadership Memorial Scholarship,” and “Miss Congeniality”
-Volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Walk for Wishes and organizing a Miss Central Indiana walk team
-Celebrating my 23rd birthday with my sister and our wonderful friends at The Cheesecake Factory
-Spending perfect summer nights at concerts with my friends
-Celebrating my journey to Poland with a going away party at Howl at the Moon
-Leaving for Poland to fulfill my dreams as a Fulbright Scholar, meeting the amazing friends I would share this journey with, and being greeted by Ambassador Feinstein
-Visiting cities all across Poland including Krakow and Warsaw and much of Lower Silesia
-Planning my first European trip with a Fulbright friend, Cynthia, to Dresden and Prague (my new favorite city!)
-Traveling to Sofia, Bulgaria for a week for our Regional English Teaching Assistant Workshop, meetings some great new Fulbright friends, having some of the best meals of the trip with some amazing company
-Exploring Germany and London with Alberto for 10 days, my first European “football” match, and making homemade Spanish crepes
-Spending a week with my sister in Wroclaw, Vienna, and Salzburg
-Being able to give the surprise of my life by coming home for the holidays with my family and friends
-Continuing our annual family tradition of hiking outdoors to celebrate togetherness, health, and nature on Christmas Day
-Ringing in 2012 with my love bugs in Louisville at 4th Street Live!
No words could ever begin to express the gratitude I have felt this entire year for the joy that has surrounded me. I’m on cloud nine (fun with puns : ) and I am so excited to see what 2012 has in store!
Cherish Yesterday. Dream Tomorrow. Live Today.