It is the first day of a new year, which is always celebrated in twofold – both by looking back and reflecting on lessons the last year taught me and by looking forward to lessons the new one will bring. I’d like to start by writing an open letter to the year two thousand and thirteen. You can read last year’s reflections if you need a catch-up.
2013, we became fast friends. I started the year with directing a production of William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at Clark Youth Theatre. The cast amused and amazed me every night at rehearsals, and I looked forward to every moment spent working with the text, cast, and crew. As I locked up the building each night I would pinch myself to remind myself that it was real. What an enjoyable experience. I also spent the late winter/spring working with students of the performing arts at Henthorne, with all kinds of kids that had creativity that I envied and encouraged. I think of them often.
As spring came to a close, Max and I prepared for a big move: Chicago. Ah, Chicago – a city that can be both romantic and gritty, often at the same time. The move was the hard, I’ll admit. I don’t need to tell you how sentimental I can be, and I had grown very attached to my life in Tulsa. While packing one of what felt like a million boxes, I would think to myself “what am I doing? This is it. I have a dream-job, a wonderful support group of friends and family, why the hell am I leaving it behind?!” To be honest, sometimes I still think those things. I would stop and take a deep breath and try to capture the moment I was in, the way the sunlight felt on the balcony overlooking the river or the shave-and-a-haircut knock that meant someone loved me. We tried to fit it all in, every place that we called our own. We flew into town for two days in June, hoping to find a home and start a lease on July 1st. It was a whirlwind, something that excited me and terrified me alone… but with Max it never was never overwhelming. We worked as a team, made things happen for ourselves, and all the puzzle pieces seemed to fall into place. It was a ballet.
We came home to Chicago on Sunday, June 30th, with a motley crew of movers we call our friends. Let me just say that we wouldn’t have been able to move without the help of our friends. They helped us pack and load the cars and trailers. Some even drove with us overnight to Chicago to arrive just as the sun was rising to unpack it all. We had a week with the gang in the city, celebrating our arrival in the city in the best way possible. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but we were so concerned with making the most of our time that I didn’t want to waste the time.
Max asked me to marry him on July 3rd. We had spent the evening at Revolution Brewery, playing shuffleboard, taking a tour of the brewery, and having a great dinner. We came back to the apartment to continue celebrations. Max was suspicious but I didn’t really expect it and when the moment came and he asked the question, I couldn’t see him because I was crying so hard and I could hardly answer. Well, you must know by now that I said yes – and we are so happy to spend our life together.
Chicago sang a love song throughout the Summer and Fall. We had bright fireworks at night in July, music from the street festivals reaching our ears from the open windows, delicious foods and wonderful beers. When we weren’t busy being in love we looked for employment and learned the CTA. Max was hired with P.F. Changs (symmetrically – he was also working for them in Tulsa when we first started dating… you know how sentimental I am!) and I found employment with the agency City Staffing. I’m currently on assignment at Groupon’s customer service, and I enjoy my work there.
I finished the year by directing another show, Deck Your Own Friggin’ Halls, which was only a little removed from The Bard’s work I did in January. It was presented by Hobo Junction and was a member of a fantastic new-work 10-minute-play festival they do annually called Hobo Robo. I was honored to be invited to participate and extremely happy with the process with my fantastic cast! I hope to work with them all again in 2014 and beyond.
I thought that my return to Tulsa for the holidays would quench my homesickness. It did to some degree, but it was all too familiar and different at the same time. It was amazing to see the city in person again after being there in my dreams ever so often. We’ll be returning soon to look at wedding venues (!) and begin some sort of planning towards our day.
Can I just say how thankful I am that I knew you, 2013? You were amazing to me, and I’ll never forget you.
And now we find ourselves in 2014. I have high hopes, but above all I’m just so grateful. I mean, gosh… Yeah.