Wrapping Up 2014 – The Annual Holiday Letter.

To keep tradition, I put together my annual holiday letter. If you didn’t receive one, I’m sure it just got lost in the mail. Because I sent a card, fake snow (cotton balls), and this letter to every human I know. Cheers. I hope you all had an amazing year and are off to a good start in 2015!

Dear friends and family,

A year ago I was applying to grad school and anxiously [impatiently] waiting to hear back. Fast forward, and as of December 10th, I have completed my first semester at Miami University (in Oxford, OH), not to be confused with the University of Miami (in Florida). Three more semesters of writing novel-length papers, reading picture-less books, and procrastinating, before I graduate with my Masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education.

This year began with an “I wonder what this is going to be like” family road trip to California. This was how we decided to deliver Sarah and Dan’s replacement car. The four of us piled into the Impala on January 4th and hit the road. Notable trip moments included: eating the spiciest soup of my life in New Mexico – my eyes were sweating (and the honey biscuit did little to remedy the situation); driving through Texas where the speed limit is 80 and people actually follow “Left lane is for passing only” signs; and discovering the mile-long trail of ants leading to Sarah’s hummingbird feeder – disgusting.

In late January, I began my last semester of undergrad and developed a serious case of nostalgia that made me dread graduation. Luckily, graduation day was filled with tedious ceremonial happenings and trillions of photo-ops (producing nearly-identical pictures), so there was no time to be sad. I moved out of thee seven-one-five in May and immediately set up my new bedroom at Thornbrook Golf Course – my summer residence. I spent the next three months getting mowers stuck in muddy ruts, moving toads out of harm’s way, and flailing my arms at swallows as they dive-bombed me (even though I was minding my own business mowing greens).

In August, the parents and I journeyed down to Oxford, OH to move me in to my apartment. We trailered Rhonda, my Rendezvous, because we wanted to be together in one vehicle. Ohana. The trip went well, as did meeting my roommates. Aside from the fact that J-Tay told Lil’ Nicky that she didn’t think I would be “very social”. If you take that with a grain of salt, we’re actually three peas in a pod and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

School has been swell. It’s definitely challenging academically, but I’ve made a few friends… which I was concerned about. Because I’m weird. I’m working as a Career Advisor, which is pretty great. I get to help kiddies (some of whom are older than me) with their resumes, cover letters, job search etc. And it’s quite rewarding!

In other news:

  • On February 13, Taylor DeBroux and I were walking toward each other on the sidewalk. When we were a foot apart, I shouted chest bump and without question we chest-bumped and were on our way.
  • My friends and I spent spring break in Santa Barbara at Sarah and Dan’s. The week was complete with whale watching on a sailboat, wine-tasting in a vineyard, a sketchy car rental, and wearing our wetsuits inside out.
  • I went to the Jordy Nelson softball game and saw the love of my life.
  • I reunited with my study abroad friends in Minnesota and we wore mismatching bridesmaid dresses to the bar.
  • Rhonda (my Rendezvous) died just about a month and a half ago. So I have a new Chevy Malibu! If you would like to make donations to the Go Fund Laura’s Car campaign, please send checks to the return address.
  • The parents have been married for 30 years as of November 10th! And they still kind of like each other.
  • My cat Snickers, better known as Scooby, turned 15 this year. And our other cat, Margo, is still a lil’ punk.
  • J-Tay and I were obsessed with Blank Space by T. Swift and listened to it 100 times. Much to Lil’ Nicky’s dismay.
  • I went to my first Pen Show (that’s a thing) with my friend Steve. I prefer to call it Penvention (Pen Convention).
  • I swore someone was doing insanity workouts with their pet elephant in the apartment above me, but I had a nice chat with them only to discover that in actuality, they play soccer at all hours. Still a Bitter Betty about that.
  • Most recently, Taylor DeBroux locked her keys in her car; I called AAA; come to find out, the locksmith on call was getting gas at the same gas station we were stranded at. Praise. The AAA representative said, “Tonight. This is a record. This is the fastest response I’ve ever had. I’m so excited.”
  • And let’s see, I’m loving life per usual.

As always, time is flying. I graduated high school 4.5 years ago. So that’s weird. My friends are getting married. Having babies. And being adults.

I sincerely wish you all peace, love, happiness, and time to do what’s important to you this year. Happy 2015.

Laura Riley
Age 22


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