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It’s been an interesting year for a lot of reasons.  Back in the Stone Age when I faithfully kept a LiveJournal, I used to do kind of a year-end summary post.  So I’m going to resurrect that old tradition here.

The big news, of course, was that we got engaged on February 10th.  It’s kind of a funny story: Dallas got the ring and then hid it in plain sight in our living room.  Later he told me that he was planning to wait for Valentine’s Day, but I kept getting awfully close to that little box because it was on my bookshelf.  However, if he’d put it in his sock drawer, I almost certainly would have found it, so it was pretty clever of him to hide it where he did.

I think I only spent one weekend at home in March.  We traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, early in the month so Dallas could present a paper at a conference there.  Later in the month, we went up to visit my folks for a weekend, and I stayed a couple of extra days to take care of some medical things.  The last weekend of March, we went to Bloomington, Indiana, for the IU Romanian Studies conference.  Important takeaways from our travels: I-80 through Iowa is basically 300 miles of cornfields, and northern Indiana has so many fireworks shops that I’m surprised the entire state hasn’t gone up in flames.

Dallas spent early April finishing last-minute revisions for his comprehensive exams.  On April 15th, we got the good news that our landlord had found somebody to take over the remainder of our one-year lease starting in mid-May, which saved us about $1800.  With the stress of paying for an empty apartment off our shoulders, Dallas finished studying for his comps and took all of them during the last part of April while I packed up all of our stuff.  Obviously, he passed with flying colors, because he’s Dallas.  Now he just has to finish his year abroad; once all his paperwork gets institutional approval at CMU, he’ll have his Master of Arts in History and be a PhD candidate, rather than a PhD student.  (If you’ve ever heard the expression “ABD”, that stands for “all but dissertation”, and that’s where Dallas will be.  It’s a huge step–some schools will accept applications for tenure-track positions from people who have made it to that stage, especially if they expect to defend their dissertation soon.)

We left Michigan on May 4th for our big move south.  A dozen rest/gas stops, a night in Knoxville, and 936 miles later, we were in his parents’ driveway in Georgia.  We spent a lot of May trying to get settled in and start preparing for Dallas to leave ‘Merica for a whole year.  Dallas and I went up to Atlanta in early June so he could get his visa sorted out for the language school portion of his study abroad year in Germany, and we went to the Georgia Aquarium while we were up there.  We also made two trips over to Auburn in May and June.  Perhaps most importantly (from an adulthood standpoint, anyway), I became a legal resident of the state of Georgia on June 6th.  Oh, and at the end of June, I started this blog.

Sending Dallas off to Romania on July 2nd was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  His plane to Chicago got delayed by three hours, so we were kind of trying to keep it together at the airport while we sat and waited with him.  Watching him walk to the security checkpoint was so incredibly painful, and I know I didn’t make it easy on him because I stood there sobbing as he walked away.  I started my new job the very next day, which helped get my mind off him being gone, but I knew he was homesick and I missed him so much that I basically didn’t get a good night’s sleep after he left until sometime in early August.

Dallas left Romania for a blitz trip around more of eastern/central Europe in late July, then left from Budapest, Hungary for language school at Freiburg, Germany.  Once he was settled in at Freiburg, I felt a lot better, because he was there for two months and Germany, at least in my mind, is a lot safer than Romania.  Once I started getting more sleep, my mother-in-law and I were really good about trying to stay physically fit.  We were walking the dogs a lot and going out and walking two or three miles at a time together ourselves.  It kind of fell off as we got into fall, because our work schedules made it really hard to get out and go walking–any daylight we had left wasn’t going to be enough to light our way home unless we walked less than half a mile, and it’s really been a better use of our limited outdoor time to run in the backyard with the dogs.

November 3rd was our anniversary, and I wrote a little about that here.  Dallas got me a pair of shoes I wanted, and I sent him a new Explosions in the Sky album and a documentary about Freddie Mercury; I don’t think he could have gotten either of those in Germany because of copyright and distribution laws.  For my birthday, he sent me flowers at work, which was quite possibly the sweetest thing anybody has ever done for me for my birthday.  I might’ve cried a little bit, but I don’t think anybody held it against me.  I took the flowers home at the end of the day and they lived well into December.

Speaking of this month, we got some very, very good news a couple of weeks ago–Dallas had been looking at flights home for his winter break, as I wrote here, but he finally got his schedule figured out and found that there are a lot of fairly inexpensive, round-trip flights he could take.  He’ll be taking a train from Jena to Berlin in the very early morning hours of February 8th.  He’ll fly from Berlin to Paris, have about a two-hour layover there, and then fly from Paris to Atlanta.  Because he’ll be flying west, I believe it’ll be 7:10 am in Berlin when he leaves and 2:40 pm in Atlanta when he arrives.  Not only did he already buy his plane ticket, he’s already got his train ticket, so when February comes around, he just has to pack his suitcase.

So yeah, it’s been a good year.  Busy and emotional, but good.  I expect 2014 to be much of the same: Dallas will have his MA, we may be moving again (dependent on Dallas’ schooling, of course), we plan to head back to Michigan to visit my family in the summer, and at some point, we’ll probably have to sit down with our respective families and discuss the elephant in the room–our wedding.  Honestly, at this point, there’s no way we’ll be able to do this without inconveniencing a large number of people, including those closest to us, so that’s going to be difficult, but hopefully we can find a good solution.  (Our personal front-runner right now is a planned elopement on Georgia’s coast in the summer of 2015, going birding for a few days in the Golden Isles as our honeymoon, and renting a hall to have a party up where my family is the first time we can get up there as husband and wife.)

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