December 31st was my 1 year anniversary of moving to Iowa and starting my career. It seems crazy to think that a year has already flown by. So much has happened and changed.
I took an 18 hour one day road trip with my amazing grandmother to move to Iowa. I moved in with my wonderful cousins and started a career at a hotel near by. I was introduced to my cousin’s in-laws who have graciously adopted me into their family. I explored Des Moines and by explore I mean I found the malls. I spent my paychecks on clothes, fast food, and everything but my savings. First month in DSM was all about moving in and getting settled into my new life.
Driving through St. Louis while my Grandma took pictures of the Arch. I dropped Grandma off in Omaha before heading to Des Moines and got to see my cousin on my mother’s side of the family.
Look how little he was at 10 months old!
Of course I took a picture of my office on my first day of work!
I was starting to feel the pressure of not being home and not being able to see my family any time I wanted. I was loving work but being the first time this far away from my family was tough! I took a trip to Omaha at the end of February to see cousins on my mom’s side of the family. I stayed with them for two nights. We went out in Omaha and had a crazy fun night. I found out my father was flying to Minneapolis for the night on a Monday. Luckily I had a 4 day weekend that weekend so I decided to leave Omaha drive to DSM for the night and then drove 4 hours to spend a little more than 12 hours with my father. I arrived in Minneapolis a little earlier than expected so I went shopping at the Mall of America and then met up with my father afterwards. Just seeing a Southern face was such a wonderful feeling. I drove home the next morning and lucky for me I hit a snow storm about an hour from DSM. Tragic. Driving 30 mph for over 1.5 hours is never ideal. I did make it home safely but hate driving in snow.
I also had my very own Valentine
March was a busy month work wise but we also got to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day which is my cousins favorite holiday. We went downtown Des Moines on the actual holiday (Sunday) so there weren’t many people out which made it more fun for us.
We also celebrated my little cousin’s First birthday.
I was lucky enough to have my parents visit at the beginning of the month to bring me some of my summer stuff. I wasn’t able to pack Roxy (my car) with absolutely everything I owed so my parents packed their car and headed to see their favorite daughter. We were able to spend Easter together and got some family together for and Easter egg hunt as well as have a big family dinner.
My parents visit also helped get me back to SC for my best friend’s wedding.
Reception. I was lucky to be able to see some of my sorority sisters that I hadn’t seen since I moved at Angela’s wedding.
It was a wonderful way to see a bunch of people in one place. I was lucky to be able to stand by one of my best friends on her wedding day!
I received news in early May that my Grandmother had fallen which resulted in her wounding her leg pretty severely. I quickly decided that I needed to go home and see her, so I planned a trip for Memorial Day weekend.
May’s trip was special in a number of ways. I was comforted knowing that my Grandmother was doing well under her circumstances and was able to see some very special family members. I was able to go to Charleston to spend a night with my pregnant sister and her husband and was also able to see my brother. I had not seen my brother since December and will not get a chance to see him again until Memorial Day weekend 2014. It was very special because it was just us siblings and we were able to spend time just the 3 of us. It was also fun to see my sister pregnant because I knew the next time I’d see her she’d have baby Zoe.
I was also able to go out on Lake Murray one day with some of my closest friends. My father was nice enough to be our Captain and we enjoyed a fun filled day on the lake.
June was an exciting month with the Park season in full swing as well as the waterpark. For me this was fun because I was experiencing another aspect of the business I was a part of. By the middle of June I was ready for someone other than family to come visit me, so I tweeted this…
and received this great news…
After the excitement calmed down, I realized I still had to wait a month and a half for her to get here…
June was also a big month because I started Match.com and my blog! I went on a handful of dates and learned a lot in that short time.
July was filled with warm weather, deck nights, dating and some fireworks. I was mostly excited for Blaine to visit.
She arrived on a Saturday morning and had a packed weekend full of meeting people, dining around Des Moines, and nights out.
Another exciting event that actually happened while Blaine was here visiting was that Zoe Adler was born on Monday, July 29th.
The countdown was on until I would get to meet my niece, but first I had to get through the end of Park season as well as the Iowa State Fair.
I was able to take vacation at the end of August to head to South Carolina to meet Zoe.
We spent most of our time in SC on the lake soaking up that Carolina Blue Sky! It was much needed time with my family.
After vacation, I started going on more dates due to forgetting to cancel my Match membership, so I tried to make the best of it. I went on a couple more dates, but none that came of anything.
My parents and grandma came to visit me again at the end of September and stayed at my hotel. A bunch of my family from North Iowa also came to stay due to all going to the same wedding that Saturday. We also celebrated my birthday since my parents and grandma were here. I was lucky to be able to celebrate with them in person since this was the first year I would be celebrating in Iowa rather than SC.
MY BIRTHDAY MONTH
Yes October is the most important month in the year! My host family was kind enough to put together a surprise dinner and night out for me. Dinner at a Japanese Restaurant and drinks at a place called Tapz.
My grandmother was also there on my birthday and we decided to go to Clear Lake to celebrate and so she could see more of her family.
My Grandma sure does love a road trip.
The rest of October went by fairly fast. One of my roomies went to Italy for two weeks and of course when he leaves the country all hell breaks loose. First our oven broke, then I threw my phone in a washing machine, the host family child was very very sick, and others that I can’t think of off the top of my head at the moment, BUT we survived and actually had a fun two weeks despite the bumps.
I spent Halloween with my coworker Deb and her husband Fred handing out candy… Funny thing is is that in DSM, you have to tell a joke to get candy.. Weird but actually fun!
November was great… oh wait no, it got cold. Yes the start of winter… FML. It was starting the grey sky cold long days. Yuck. Not my favorite time of the year. I love the holidays, but not the cold. I put my dating on hold for the time being to breath a little. It was beginning to be the same people over and over and I was over it. I spent time going out with my host family and enjoying time relaxing. We celebrated one of my cousin’s 30th birthday with friends and family which was fun.
My host family and I were invited to a Holiday Party where we sang karaoke with drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
CHRISTMAS was almost here. I had already got my host family’s presents and nagged my cousin to let us open them every night before Christmas. We finally got him to cave on Christmas Eve but before we opened presents, we had a traditional dinner provided by my cousin’s family. They typically have hors d’oeuvres and then Fish and Pasta as their main entree. This was very new to me because my immediate family always does a Low Country Boil on Christmas Eve. I tried a little of everything and loved it!
Later that night, we opened up presents from each other and my host family got me a canvas of Mugs. I now fall asleep while looking at a huge picture of Mugs hanging on my wall. It’s amazing. Hashtag Crazy Dog Lady.
A couple days later, we met one of our other cousins out downtown for drinks to celebrate her birthday and just to get together.
It was a fun girls night out.
That gets us back to New Year’s Eve where I spent the night in due to having to work the next morning.
It’s been quite the year I must say. I’ve met tons of great people and seen family I haven’t seen in years. I’ve completed the first year of my career and even managed to pay my bills on time..mostly. Sorry landlord! I’ll be better in 2014! I must say if 2013 was this great I hope 2014 is even better. It’s already started out to be a good year!