Along with all the other bloggers in the world, I’ve decided to make a Best of 2012 list, categorized by month. You’ll find 12 highlights–one from each month and some random reflections of my first year in Peru.

Many of you know that 2012 has looked extremely different than I was imagining this time one year ago. In fact, my dear friend Libby put it perfectly when she said, “Heck, I thought I’d be flying to Lima for your wedding at this year.” Turns out, we were at Starbucks sipping something peppermint flavored reminiscing on the change that has taken place throughout the past year. Turns out, hurt and disappointment aside, I’m pretty happy with how 2012 turned out. I am proud of my first year of teaching and am enjoying the slow process of making a place home. All in all, I’m glad that Lima is the city I get to return to four weeks from today.

January: I packed my bags (5, 50lb duffles) and said goodbye to my family after a wonderful time with my parents and sister in Kansas City. My sister surprised me my last weekend in KC, my visa came through at the last minute, and I was set and ready to go.

February: While the highlight at the time was the end of long distance, a lasting highlight was setting up my first classroom. After the initial shock of First Grade wore off, I was able to put things together to welcome my first group of students.

March: Surviving two open houses at school, making new friends, and watching KU play in March Madness! By the last Tuesday in March, I felt like I could maybe like my job (little did I know how much I would love it).

April(See my post on April here) My parents came in April! We had a wonderful weekend seeing some Lima sights, sitting by the pool, and eating delicious food. It was just what I needed! Also, my friend Ashley gave birth to the beautiful Finley!

May: I moved into my FIRST REAL apartment! I spent weeks visiting places and weighing the pros and cons and finally decided on a oddly shaped apartment about 5 blocks from my friends Kaite and Chris and about a 10 minute walk from one of the best parks in town. The 7th floor apartment has a view of one of the oldest archeological ruins in Lima. I love it. I also became an official resident of Peru!

June: By June, I was head-over-heals in love with my students and my job. A highlight was watching them play soccer and participate in a tae-kwon-do tournament! I’ve learned that being involved in their extracurriculars (especially the boys’) allows for an even better connection in the classroom.

July: I spent a weekend with my sister and parents in Colorado. The absolute highlight was being in Rebecca’s boat on the Arkansas River! Rebecca is an awesome guide and it was so much fun watching her do what she loves. I also got to see one of my favorite soon-to-be-married friends in Wheaton.

August: Lima winters are characterized by grey and more grey (unless you spend time in La Molina, where my school is, or anywhere east of that like Huaycán). Kaite and I ventured to Chosica, the land of the eternal Spring, where we enjoyed a delicious Peruvian meal, cold Coca Cola, the sunny day, and each other’s company. Also, my friend Jessica gave birth to Eneko and we celebrated the 100th day of school!

September: Hands down–one of the highlights of the year: Seeing Juanes in concert! I learned Spanish by listening to Juanes’ music, and he was just as magical in concert.

OctoberMy sister, mom, and I traveled to Buenos Aires and Iguazú. It was an incredible week of sight seeing, coffee drinking, and general Queen being. I enjoyed spending time with my two best friends and getting to know a new part of the world.

November: WHAT A MONTH. Visiting Huaycán for the first time post-break up, the First Grade Play, and Thanksgiving. Lots of proud, happy moments. Lots of emotional moments too.

December: I finished my first year of teaching! And celebrated by celebrating two of my best work-friends’ birthdays! I had such a great year with my kiddos and incredible assistant. I am blown away by their progress. Being back in the States with my family is also a highlight. There are no other 3 people in the world I love more than them. I’m glad to be a member of their family and am grateful for their love.

Here’s to No Expectations 2013!


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