Another Year Closer to 30

In my last year of college I shared an apartment with two roommates and together we had a blog. I blogged more frequently then than ever in my life and they remain among my favorite posts ever. The fun of that time in my life shines through all my writing. Which is funny because I remember it being a time of heavy thoughts; of pondering the big, wide, messed up and beautiful world, and how I fit into it; of fear, and of restlessness.


I turned 28 yesterday. Summer birthdays are great because you don’t have to go to school! But they’re not great because everyone is gone on vacation. Or, you’re gone on vacation and so you don’t get to have parties with friends, or celebrate on your actual day with loved ones. Or maybe you did, but I spent every birthday from 10-17 at summer camp, and a whole bunch of birthdays after that in all different places….Actually, a whole lot of different places. Look at this:

18 Stockton, California. Friends.
19 Provo UT. Roommate/best friend.
20 Stockton, California (though this birthday fell the week before my sister’s wedding and I don’t recall actually celebrating it). ?
21 Salt Lake City. Roommate/still not quite friend.
22 Amman, Jordan. Miranda, who didn’t even know it was my birthday because we weren’t really friends. But we ate at my favorite Chinese restaurant and watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
23 Prague, Czech Republic. Fellow conference-goers.
24 New York City. My BFF Joe, and then two guys I didn’t really know that well but who drove up from Philly to eat Thai food and fro yo with me!
25 Dubai,UAE/Payson,Arizona). I think my actual bday was in AZ, but I’m counting Dubai here because it’s the first time I celebrated with friends in years, and it was my very first surprise party! And we put on my favorite movie and I promptly fell asleep. Ah, to be 25 again. This one was also notable because my beloved now-husband flew out to AZ and celebrated with my parents and grandparents, whom he had never before met. And also I had only known him 6 weeks, but that’s another story.
26 Nizwa, Oman. Only one student knew it was my bday, and she bought me a box of cereal. It was a completely dull birthday, but I really loved the cereal. (Thanks, Nelle!)
27 Houston, TX. My then-fiance and I cleaned out his closet, then went out to dinner.
28 Houston, TX. My now-husband was in Kansas City, but my dear in-laws bought me cake (2!) and sang me Las Mañanitas and Joyeux Anniversaire and Happy Birthday and I blew out imaginary candles. The hus and I destroyed an ice cream cake. And I helped my friend pack up her kitchen.

What a list, huh?

I was thinking today about a bucket list I made when I was 21 and itching to get out of college and explore the world. I reviewed it a few years ago and remember being impressed with the progress I’d made, but couldn’t remember the list or the progress! So, here we go. Another list of my life:

1. Graduate May 2009.

2. Anna, don’t fail math.  Worked my butt off. Earned my B+. Graduated on time! Yay!

3. Make it back to Yemen. Ah, one day Inshallah :/

4. Master Arabic. In retrospect, this was rather an ambitious goal. Maybe I’ll modify it to: gain a level of proficiency sufficient for professional use. 

5. Read all the books on mah list (which has grown to include Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls and Wicked. Thanks, Megan! 🙂 I haven’t re-read any of the books I included, but I did read Hemingway (or most of it?) and started Wicked (weird. didn’t want to finish.) and got to all but two of the books i intended to read. Remaining: Loser’s Guide to Life and Love (what even is that book?) and Peace Like a River (another one I started and didn’t finish. Still have it on my bookcase.

6. Go to Grad School, ya bum! Applied 3 times, accepted 2 times. Still haven’t gone.

7. Go Skydiving. Should have gone before leaving Dubai. D’oh!

8. Get SCUBA certified I may have to amend this too as I’ve heard that people with crappy sinuses aren’t allowed to do the course due to exploding heads?

9. Then dive in the Red Sea and Australia. Still haven’t made it to the Red Sea. Did cruise the Nile twice, though, and spend a few days in Queensland, Australia. 

10. Make it back to Guatemala, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman (Salalah), Turkey and Mexico. Not bad, eh? Still want to make it back to all of these places, and Fiji. 

11. And while I’m at it, see North Africa (Morocco, mostly), Russia, Hungary, Switzerland, Spain–aw heck! All of Europe, Kenya, Australia (some of), Brazil, Honduras, Beliz, CUBA so that I can be just like Matt. We’ve got tentative plans for some of these. Also: Belize*.

12. Live in New York. One day, Anita. 

13. Spend some time as a professional writer of some sort. Or have writing be part of my job. OR! Just make some sweet moolah for blogging. Really, any combination of money and writing would be *great*. Link coming soon.

14. Spend an extended period of time (read: more than two weeks)traveling abroad solo. 3 weeks in 2011 mostly solo. Lived abroad solo for 4 years. Spent a combined total of much much more than 3 weeks traveling abroad solo.

15. Maybe stop talking so much about travel. Yeesh. So for #15: develop new interests! Today the cable guy asked me what I did for fun and I said, I don’t have fun. But still, I’m giving myself credit for this because interests I have that I didn’t before: podcasts. Yoga. Cooking…Spanish?

16. Work in DC. For a human rights organization. Tried that route in 2009 to no avail. Don’t care that much about this item any more, but would be happy to do a stint in DC.  

17. Live outside the country! For a few years. Done and done.

18. Hike all around Southern Utah (Canyonlands, ZION, Bryce, Arches). So on my list still. Did manage arches. Will accept visiting the above places as fulfillment of item. 

19. Take up surfing. Even for a day. Yes!

20. Oh yeah, um, get married. TDH, that’s all I ask. Okay, and smart and funny and interesting and adventurous, too. But that’s a topic for a different post 🙂 Oh, all of the above and more. You did so good, college Anna. You’d be thrilled at what’s in store. 

21. Eat lunch at the top of Half Dome. No, but did finally visit Yosemite!

22. Watch the sunrise over the Empty Quarter. Why did I make these so specific?

23. Eat Nutella on French Bread while looking up at Mt. Rushmore. Mmmmm. May change the food items here, but definitely must see Mt Rushmore. 

24. Road Trip the entire length of Highway 1–So Cal to Canada. Woot! (hey…sounds like a good post-grad vay-cay! Huh huh?) Okay, maybe not to Canada. But all the way up the California coast, then Oregon and Washington and ultimately wind up in BC. Totally great idea. Also, college Anna, you spend a beautiful week in Vancouver for a conference in 2011 (you’re a paid traveler!), an enriching and enlivening weekend in Portland in 2012, and one of the most amazing weeks at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. You do still have to make it Seattle. I’m thinking that that road trip is a little long, but spend more time on the California coast? Definitely. 

25. There I go with the traveling again. Um, maybe I should take a break and think things over when I’m not ITCHING TO GET OUT of this great little city I call “home”. Hokay, see ya next time! I had a very different writing voice in college. Also, this is 24 things before 30. 

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