Another year, already?

The new year is often rung in with deep sighs of nostalgia and lamentation. C’mon folks, let’s face it. Time is a moving target. You can never catch it, wrangle it, or slow it down. Take your best shot while you can.

For me, 2010 was a bulls-eye. Before New Years Eve ’09 had even begun, I had already toasted 2010 to being a year of Awesomeness. Even with such high expectations (Awesomeness, really?), 2010 did a bang-up job.

In January, Kirk and I moved out of the Chicago condo, threw everything in storage (our parents’ basements), and struck out for Australia. Before setting off in a 747 over the Pacific, we rented a car for a two-week jaunt up and down the coast of California, with my sister in tow.

We started off in Huntington Beach,

and crashed on the couch at Brandon (Kirk’s friend from high school) and Brenden’s “hostel”.

After a rainy, yet beautiful drive up highway 1,

we made it to San Francisco. Kelly strong-armed me into walking the length of the Golden Gate Bridge (this is the middle of January, mind you) despite a chilly drizzle that turned into a full-blown gale. Oops. No photos of this escapade, the camera would’ve ended up a goner.

After all the rain, San Diego’s weather was heaven-sent. And just perfect temperature for this hike up Cowles Mountain.

The Point Loma tide pools were my favorite attraction in SD.

And then in February, our adventure in Australia began.

Oh, Australia.

For the first half of our five-month trip, we lived in Manly, a beach town and suburb of Sydney. Every morning we saw this view from our 13th floor apartment:

We did lots of hiking,

Kirk did lots of surfing,

and I got a job waiting tables.

We visited Sydney as much as we could

and chatted with our families from 10,000 miles away.

In April we moved out of our place in Manly and spent a week in Melbourne.

Kirk fell in love with the trams.

I fell in love with the coffee.

We both fell in love with the architecture.

Then, we packed all our crap in a van. From Melbourne we drove the Pacific Highway 2000km north to Brisbane.

Byron Bay became our new home for the end of April and the better part of May. Here we spent most of our days at the ocean.

We went paddleboarding

and beach exploring.

Kirk bought a new surfboard

and caught lots of good waves at “The Pass”.

One of the best parts of living in Byron Bay was our great group of housemates. We had many engrossing cultural and political conversations.

We capped off our Australia trip with a fantastic bareboat charter in the Whitsunday Islands. My mom and my friends Christina and Natalie joined us on the charter.

“Fishy, fishy!”

Picking up Mom from one of her many solo snorkel sessions.

Feeding the batfish.

Mid-June, we said bittersweet goodbyes to beautiful Australia, and headed home to the Midwest. I spent a few weeks in Wisconsin with my family.

We held a rummage sale,

and celebrated my sister’s 22nd birthday and simultaneous send-off to NYC.

Back in Michigan, Kirk and I moved in with TC & Michelle, two of Kirk’s high school friends, now hitched.

In August, we got movie gigs. Both of us worked on LOL, a film with Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore.

And we both learned how exhausting the ‘biz’ was. One day after work we found a grassy hill near the film set and collapsed into a nap. When we woke up, the sun was casting a warm glow on downtown Detroit.

In September our movie gigs ended. There were no more plans. What would we do with our lives next? We spent many afternoons at Borders, contemplating.

In the mean time, we sailed a pirate ship on Lake Erie.

And a normal sailboat too.

Kirk spent a lot of the summer and fall researching residential real estate. In October, he almost bought this house, a real fixer-upper:

We drove to Atlanta for a weekend of wakeboarding.

For Halloween, I was a greek goddess. We still have no idea what Kirk was. He was creepy, that’s for sure.

TC & Michelle’s dog Hank got dressed up as a devil submarine.

In November, Kirk’s mom Val and sister Maureen took me to the town of Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “little Bavaria.”

In December, we went to the Big Chill. Michigan State played U of M on outdoor ice at the Big House.

About the same time we worked as production assistants, we both signed up to work as extras. I worked on a movie called Smooch, as well as the ABC crime-drama Detroit 1-8-7. I even made it on screen! (This aired January 4, 2011.)

Cheers, 2010. ☼