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December 27, 2009

I like the holiday season.  I like the spirit, I like the decorations, I like the food, I like the parties.  Sometimes I even like the cold.  I also like how people love to re-cap their year right about now.

I do my “yearly life examination” at the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, which usually falls in September or October, but I’m totally not opposed to looking back at 2009 and paying homage to what an awesome year it really was.

January

I rang in the New Year with my extended family in Disney World, of all places!

the castle always makes me feel five again

Then two weeks later I was off to have an incredible adventure in Nicaragua, both travelling

Mombacho volcano crater

Mombacho from the coast

making new friends

and volunteering.

you can see me trying not to fall over

sitting down to dinner

best part...playing with the kids!

working hard

with the family who took care of us

how we spent free time

Who knew I would actually enjoy spending days at a time digging sand out of a riverbed? Or sleeping on the floor while roosters scream all night?  Or showering out of a bucket?

I may have missed the inauguration because I was in a mountain community with no electricity or communication, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

It was on this trip that I broke my addiction to experiencing life from behind a camera lens, and that carried through the year.  Many things went un-photographed due to this.

February

I continued the volunteering theme by scoring an internship at the North American Council on Ethiopian Jewry, where I spent my days packing up school supplies to send to kids in need and reading letters between educational fund donors and recipients (and crying my eyes out every time).

March

with the school mascot and various members of Greek Life

with our school mascot and a few members of Greek Life

A crazy month.  I planned Greek Week for right after midterms and nearly lost my mind but everything turned out wonderfully successful, minus my sprained neck.

I also played hostess to a few friends who had never been to New York City before.

in Times Square

April

Can you say, Spring Break?  I went to Miami with the same friend I went to Nicaragua with, and was lucky to spend plenty of time on the beach with Mr. Boy.  My camera wasn’t invited on this trip though, so all I have is this one photo of a group of us going out one night…

I'm in the middle...always the shortest

I guess, what happens in Miami stays there?  Cheesyyyyy.

May

I might have spent this entire month writing papers.  I went a little overboard and turn in a 65 page final write-up in my favorite class.  Whoops.  It happens sometimes.  I also got the news that I was about to go on the biggest adventure of my life (happy early birthday to me).

receiving an award with all these other people

At Hillel formal, received what I think might be my first award ever, for social justice work, and I continued to prove my indomitable school spirit by tearing up the dance floor with the school’s executive Vice President.

somehow I think this is acceptable to do in public...and to share on the internet

June

I had an unexpected surgery in the beginning of the month, which really sucked, but I took an awesome poetry class, which made up for it, mostly.   I also went to my first wedding (well, my first friend’s wedding–been to plenty of family weddings).

I'm just that classy.

It rained the entire month.  It didn’t matter, though. On the last day of June, I was headed somewhere…fabulous.  THAILAND.

July

#1 Favorite Picture - seriously, we don't even know these people. they just wanted a picture with us because we're farang (foreigners)

How could I be luckier?  I got to spend seven weeks in Thailand with my best friend.  July highlights include tasting DURIAN and MANGOSTEEN for the first time:

Stinky Durian! You don't want one of these falling on your head.

front to back: rambutan, mangosteen, durian

swimming in waterfalls:

Tatton Waterfall, Chaiyaphum province

all the Thais were swimming in their clothes. when in Thailand...

stalking water buffalo in Chaiyaphum:

this water buffalo is older than I am! 23 years old!

attending a Buddhist temple during preparations for the Buddhist Lent:

women at prayer

at the Grand Palace

celebrating my 22nd birthday in Bangkok:

the celebratory alcohol glow ... 22 years youngish

discovering my elephant allergy:

note my lack of pants. if you go on one, WEAR PANTS. trust me.

receiving a scratch from this baby tiger:

it may not look it, but he's only four months old. his caretaker called the scratch "good luck." they call everything "good luck."

getting dreadlocks:

I'm thinking, "OMG MY BEAUTIFUL HAIR!" these lasted two weeks before I freaked and combed them out.

taking a Thai cooking class:

why so serious? i'm frying spring rolls. we also learned to make pad thai, panang curry, fried bananas, papaya salad, all vegan!

hiking 9km into the beautiful Northern Thailand wilderness:

playing drinking games in the woods:

basically, when you lose, you drink, then someone draws on your face with charcoal. clearly, I won.

then rafting back to civilization:

bamboo rafting and trying desperately not to sunburn

and my favorite wilderness activity, ZIPLINING:

we spent an entire day up in the trees

August

more than happy to introduce her to 2-for-1 bucket drinks on Th Khao San!

Still in Thailand.  An old friend stopped in from Australia to spend some time with us while we island hopped through Southern Thailand:

soaking in the paradise ... Ko Tao

relaxing on Ko Samui:

I don't understand why I am SO DARK in this picture

we bought the most delicious and refreshing pineapple from this man who sat ten yards from us the whole day selling fruit

snorkelling at Ko Tao and Ko Nanguan

Ko Nang Yuan

getting soaked on the boat from Ko Samui to Ko Tao

questionably blazing through island roads at night on the backs of motorbikes driven by cute Dutch boys:

that Thai dude in back must be like, "WHAT ARE THOSE IDIOTS DOING?"

dominating the Full Moon Party on Ko Phagnan:

decorating ourselves with blacklight paint (you can see our pink bucket drink in the back)

canoeing around Phuket:

and lounging on the beach during the day:

Patong was actually the least attractive beach we spent our days on...how awful

and partying with the Lady Boys of Patong at night:

Boy? Girl? When s/he starts to dance, it really doesn't matter anymore.

and searching for Leonardo DiCaprio at Ko Phi Phi:

as we sailed by the actual beach where they filmed "The Beach"

these photos do not do it justice

You can see her dreads sticking up. Ko Phi Phi. Best. Day. Ever.

Return to rainy old Bangkok, see more sights, spend Shabbat at the Chabad (we actually did this three times in Bangkok and once in Ko Samui):

this picture was NOT taken on Shabbat

Then it was time to, sadly, go back home.

I'll never forget this trip. My 22nd birthday, visiting a Buddhist temple.

Once back in the States, we hopped up to Portland, Maine, to spend the last days of summer at my grandparents’ home:

Cape Elizabeth, ME

September

Uneventful. Highlight: best friend moves back home:

reunited with my wifey

School=super lame.  Jewish holidays=exciting.  Typical.  This year, I opted not to be involved in any of the extracurricular activities I had drowned myself in for the past four years, so my life was much quieter.  Discovered Pilates, didn’t yet know how it would change my life.

October

Discovered Lady Gaga.  Life ends and begins anew.  Threw a Halloween party just so I could dress up like her.

This is literally the only photo of me in the wig. I don't know how.

True to character, I changed costume in the middle of the night.

Uh…I’m sure something else happened this month.  It just doesn’t matter.

Jokes.  Visited San Fransisco with my mother, to see old family friends.  Had a wonderful time.

November

The sad- said final farewells to my step-grandmother.

Got to spend lots of time with my baby brother over the holidays.

He's six. He's a cute little monster. He usually looks blurry like this.

School kind of takes over my life, lately.  Without the sorority and the ten thousand other responsibilities and executive positions, I had a lot of time to focus on school, and I really enjoyed it.

December

We welcomed new girls to my sorority family tree! I might be inactive but I still love it.

Survived Finals.

Have spent most of winter break indoors.  It’s really not a problem.

Tonight: I’m young, I’m hot, I live in the center of the universe, I love to party, and I’m spending this Saturday night in.  Mr. Boy talked me into installing Google Chrome so I’m figuring that out along with learning about all this blogging stuff.  I’m computer illiterate, so this might take a while.  I have a big mug of chamomile tea, I’m watching a Harry Potter movie, and life is good.

I love the look on that woman's face.

Here’s to 2010 being as explosively awesome as 2009.  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Love, La.

PS: It was really really hard picking from the 4000+ pictures of Thailand what would go into this post.  Ugh I need to go back!  And I need to get them all onto Flickr.

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