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A Year in Review

The day I got off the plane at LAX one year ago today I actually reminded myself of the young 22 year old kid I had been when I first moved to Los Angeles from Arkansas. I saw a world of possibilities ahead of me then. That day I landed upon my return from Scotland I had seen it as a second chance at life - the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, explore more of my home, spend more time with the amazing men I called my two favorite uncles. I would save up and up a car so that I might explore the world around me.

As the plane touched down I had a job lined up already. I would go to work as an Executive Assistant for an old friend of mine I'd known for many years. I had a place to stay with a former employee and very dear friend, who had nearly taken out a payday loan in order to get me home from Scotland the month before I finally arrived. I had a Land Cruiser to drive, courtesy of my new employer and old friend, while he was out of town on business. I had a little money in my pocket from the car accident I had a lawyer handle for me in November of 2010 when a retired Air Force Sgt T-boned my car running a stop sign. Other than that, all I had was one suitcase full of clothes and a whole lot of hope.

I got along well at my job. I was fairly good at retrieving dry cleaning, taking laundry to a service and organizing expense reports. I got along well at home, though I will admit at times it was quite awkward. My friend and I had to share a room, meaning she and I shared a bed from time to time. Since she typically worked the midnight shift, most of the time i had it all to myself. But on the days she had off, I found that she and I both would awkwardly sleep on opposite ends of the bed, hugging the edges for dear life.

After a couple of months and several Jiu Jitsu classes my old friend and new employer had decided he was still (it's a long story) in love with me. My brain told me that the only reason he hired me was to pick up the shattered remains of my heart when I got back and to try to convince me to fall in love with him. My heart told me I wanted nothing to do with that and to run. My pockets told me to get a job since my reserves were quickly depleting. I was living beyond my means and trying to spend more than I was making on lavish breakfasts, fuel for my friend since I would occasionally borrow her car and rent for the room I was sharing. I would from time to time help my friend with her rent as well. She was working full time at her night job, but since I had hired her for it in 2010 I knew what it paid, and it wasn't enough by any stretch.

I got a job for a little while working part time at Macy's selling ladies shoes. I hated it. I detested it. They ripped off their employees on commissions and paid barely minimum wage. The Boss-man and I finally had one too many discussions based on my inability to love him the way he loved me and I snapped. I couldn't take it. One day I turned and walked out, calling my roommate on my way. I made it a full mile in 4 inch wedge heels wearing a short dress and a heavy laptop before she arrived to give me a ride home. I've never seen him again.

I had gotten a message on Facebook from someone I had previously been linked to through work. Out paths had crossed and we remained in contact via Facebook. I had gone to an event he was in charge of not long before that and it was great to reconnect. He asked if I would know anyone looming for a job - and as it turned out I did.

I started working for him not long after. I got my roommate a job working for his wife at the animal rescue. She was now working two jobs and I hoped beyond hope that she would be ok.

I quit all Jiu Jitsu after busting my shoulder and never went back for dread I would run into the former employer and friend. Just as easily as I had found my passion for Jiu Jitsu, it was gone again. Just like the job. Just like the vehicle.

In September my roommate and I drove to Aspen, Colorado to visit her mother. We drive through Monument Valley and stopped at 4 Corners on the way, two things I had always wanted to see. I was amazed...

Shortly after our return I was given my own room and one of the other roommates moved out. It was about that time I started feeling an incredible tension between my roommate and myself. I ignored it, as I am typically very good at doing when I know I shouldn't.

In November it was discovered that I have Crohn's disease. My world was shattered when I learned what it meant and all about my new restrictions. Thanksgiving dinner, I thought, would be horrendous. I ended up having the most glorious thanksgiving I'd had in years though, with my wonderful friends and adopted family, the Arnold family. They had taken such good. Are of me that I wasn't Bout to miss the. Hands to go spend Christmas with then when I was invited. it was, by far, the greatest "traditional" Christmas I had ever known. I wept for gratitude.

Tensions continued to grow at home. Work grew more stressful.

I needed to Get away - so I flew to Paris with a very dear friend of mine. I wasn't out of pocket one dime - and even if I had been it would have been so much more than worth it. I had always dreamed of going to Paris and I never thought I would have the chance. I even spent a night in London and saw the London Tower before flying home. All that time in Scotland and I had never touched English soil. It was eerie being that close to somewhere I had tried so hard to escape. I admit I didn't want to go home.

The friendship between my roommate and myself fell apart quickly and turned into a blinding hatred for one another that neither of us (I believe) understood or could control. To this day we don't talk, though it saddens me.

I had managed to skimp and save for months in order to buy myself a car. I needed to make payments on it (which I'm still making) but I bought exactly what I wanted. Years ago I had a white mistake that I dearly loved. When I drove it into the ground and had to get rid of it, I ended up with a red Honda Del Sol. It was a good car, but it had sad memories attached to it and was what I had been driving when i was t-boned in november of 2010. I sold it when I moved to Scotland. I had always said I wanted another Miata someday. Finally, for the first time in my life, with no help from another living soul, I bought my first car. I know that seems like a stupid thing to say at my age, but I had always had help before. A husband bought me a car or a boyfriend helped me to buy one or a friend he,led me to find it. Someone would help me with the. Registration process. Something. There was always something. I was determined to do this one on my own. I handed over the cash to pay for half of the car, and planned to make payments on the other half.

I ended up moving out because of all the darkness surrounding my life. I moved into a guest house that belonged to someone I thought was a friend. He turned out to be a crazy person who would stare through my curtains waiting for me to get up in the morning, stand outside of my door at night shouting my name and would drop "presents" off inside the place when I was gone. It wasn't long and I moved again.

With everything going on and the madness of moving having taken over my life, I had forgotten to register my new car. Well, I hadn't really forgotten. There was a constant reminder every time I looked at where the license plates should have been. I just kept saying "tomorrow" all the way up until I got pulled over coming back from Downtown LA.

Registration for a car isn't cheap. Especially if you've bought a car that hasn't been registered in 2 years. The parking tickets accumulated in the new neighborhood didn't help my pockets out at all. There was so much going on I forgot to budget and ended up missing a car payment.

Fed up and stressed out beyond my limits I finally decided one weekend I had off to go to San Diego. I went down for a night and drove back. I didn't get the traveling bug out of my system though so last weekend I drove to San Francisco.

So what have I accomplished since my return from Scotland?

I bought one car.
I've lost two friends.
I've had three jobs.
I've traveled to four major destinations.
I gained five friends.
Six times I stood in amazement.
I drove over seven thousand miles in my car.
I survived 8 months where I was after I landed.
Nine times I forgave others for things done to me.

But I feel like I've accomplished nothing. Zero. Zilch.
Until I look at my photos. :)