Hi Friends, Family, and People I don't know,
I have never allowed my mom to write up one of these. My reasons being who really cares about what is going on in our lives, we aren't young children anymore, and she is lacking in the writing department. I want to sound as cliche as I can in my inaugural Christmas Letter, so let me open with this. Wow, another year winding down. And what a year it was.
The year started as me being a junior at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Never a fan of the school, I barely attended and instead filled my days with working at The Apple Store, Bridgeport Village and doing Bikram yoga (you know, the 107 degree, smelly, most amazing thing ever?!). I decided not to play golf, which was a tough and agonizing decision, but turned out for the best. I did turn 21. Woohoo. I am not a baby anymore. But, I do wish to stay at this age forever.
I was very fortunate to study abroad with a George Fox program to Italy. I travelled with, what was it again? 20 girls? I can't even remember. We left at the end of April and flew into Rome. Overall we visited 15 cities, plus other passerby cities- Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Orvieto, Assisi, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Bolzano, Florence, Venice, Moreno, Bureno, and Milan. My friend Ariel and I were treated like royalty (or treated like skanky girls, however you want to look at it) for our blonde hair. Which meant being cat called and grabbed at all times by the true to reputation, Italian men. We also got our share of train travel, expensive European prices, and gelato. Yes, it is true I got caught drinking in Italy. Now, I laugh and think of it as a Rite of Passage. I want 21, but my conservative college didn't care. Seriously, great story and it was just the thing to send me over the edge to decide to leave George Fox. Oh and even better, yes, I did get kidney stones in Italy. I was struck with the most horrible nausea and pain one morning in Venice. After a few hours of visiting pharmacies and wrestling around with the idea of going to the hospital. My body finally brokedown in the lobby of a hotel, while I waited for the "water ambulance" to paddle and "wheel borrow" me to the island hospital. After finding out I didn't have appendicitis, the Italian only speaking doctors and staff released me and I rejoined the group in Milan. But, the freedom didn't last long. I made it too Milan long enough to stuff myself with pasta and then go home and regurgitate it all up as I spent the night thinking I was going to die. After two unsuccessful trips to the pharmacy, I gained control enough to walk to the hospital to find I had kidney stones. The Milanos took great care of me. I was termed, "The Americano." Sure, the whole situation sucked. I didn't eat for a few days thanks to the confusing dietician. I didn't get to shower for five days. The most technical machine they could offer was an ultra-sound, thanks to the European's negative views on radiation. But, finally I got a medical release to fly back to the states where I was readmitted to the hospital. Yay! The conclusion was I passed anywhere from 15-20 kidney stones in two weeks.
Upon return and recovery, I started working as the bar cart girl at Creekside Golf Club. Pretty cush summer job. Sun, booze, and friendly people. I also continued to work the summer away at Apple. Oh, and my baby brother graduated high school...awwwwwe.
I got to take a trip to Vegas this July. Loved it, but three days was enough.
I started dating a (I wish I could think of the perfect adjective to describe him, but I will settle) totally amazing guy named Chris. We met working together at Apple, but kinda funny that I didn't like him until the third time we hung out. I have so much fun with him, constantly smiling and laughing. I value his support, friendship, and incredible kindness so much. Along with his awesome music sense.
During this time I made the decision to transfer from George Fox University to Oregon State University, keeping my major in Business Marketing. I moved down to Corvallis in late September, which concluded my 5 and a half month summer holiday. I live in a house with four other girls and it is going smoothly. Corvallis is a little bit of culture shock for me, being the low key, small, not close to any large metropolitan area that it is. But, I am dealing and it is nice to go to a large school and participate in things like football games, liberal classes, and sleeping until ten.
With all my free time in Corvallis, I have developed some new habits. I have become "clean." Besides the occasional laundry build-up, I have kept my room sanitized and organized. I have become quite the bookworm. I love the therapeutic and time-wasting capabilities of the Corvallis Public Library. I prefer nonfiction, but I do force myself to read a little fiction in there for the balancing affect. I also have become addicted to watching CW television. Laugh. Please laugh all you want, but there is something in my body, maybe a chemical imbalance, that craves Gossip Girl, Privileged, and One Tree Hill (in that order). Okay, once again, laugh. Please laugh.
Of course the term was not without its drama, as it never is with me. During my finals week I got kidney stones again and made a few visits to the hospital. Thats right, twice in six months. I passed about four kidney stones with the help of some very strong narcotics :) I took my finals all on Thursday and Friday, which was very frustrating. The grades I worked for dissolved pretty quickly, but circumstances are always present. I'll have to get my grades up to get into the "Pro School" now. But, I was more pissed that I missed selling my textbooks back!
Now, I am home. Enjoying time with the family as we are snow/iced in and isolated from the rest of the world up here on Summit Loop. I have acknowledged to myself once again that I hate when the snow comes to me. It is always and inconvenience. Hopefully, but doubtfully, it will pass soon. I still have to do some Christmas shopping!
Thanks for bearing with me as I express and get you up-to-date in my life. I will now conclude with a closing remark as cliche as my introduction. Here is too another great, eventful, hopefully graduation producing, loving, new year!
Christine Marie Collier