I've been collecting my writings from years gone by as I find them. Each time I move - now 5 times in the last 3 years - I find more scraps, loose sheets, etc. with my thoughts from various times in my life. I've decided to copy as many of them as I can here to try and keep from losing them again, and to share with the world. Please feel free to comment as thoughts occur to you. Either send them to trekker9er@yahoo.com or use the comment links here. Thanks, and Enjoy!

Friday, May 07, 2004

 December 2000 - End of Year Letter I Never Sent

Dear All,
        Well, the end of the year is here at last, though Christmas has managed to sneak up on me. Next year I'm going to have to watch the Advent Calendar more closely! But it is time again for my holiday letter, and this year it looks like I'm actually getting it sent!
This year has been busy, full of exciting and unexpected events. Let's take it month to month, shall we?
        January: My 21st birthday! As I don't drink, I didn't have a bar-hopping party. Instead Mom and Amy took me to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut for an overnight gambling birthday. I had a great time, as I love to gamble, eventhough I lost all the money I brought
        February: My final semester in school began. Ah, the home stretch! After spending the fall semester with Senior-itis and not working so hard, it was time to step up and get my Senior project into gear in order to graduate. I also stepped up my job search and began interviewing.
        March: I started dating my 4th boyfriend, Seth. A friend of a friend, we met in Feb. at a gathering and started dating at a party this month.
        April: My Senior project was Pressure Sensitive Skin for a Robotic Arm, and the presentation was this month. Procrastination paid off with a crunch time. But I work well under pressure and got done everything I wanted to. Then bad luck stepped in the morning of the presentation giving me a sprained ankle. After poorly negotiating my equipment to the presentation room (I forgot half the demo in the lab) and a nervous presentation on crutches, writing the final paper was easy.
        May: Final exam time, literally. After exams and getting back my Senior project grade, it was official I would be graduating with my degree! I'm still amused that I managed to graduate from an Honors Only program without honors.
        June: The 6th, to be specific. I graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, the only one in a class of 1600 to do so, and one of only two females to receive an S.B. in Engineering (the other was Environmental) out of 11 receiving that degree. That evening Mom's gift to me was a dinner cruise. It was so much fun, including singing in the entertainment show! All sorts of family, friends, and church members showed up to the cookout party at Mom's on Saturday. A few days later I moved into an apartment with my two best friends. My mother's quote was: "It's got to be a Mother's worst dream, to have her child graduate from Harvard University WITHOUT a job!"
        July: I spent most of the month bumming around at home, interspersed with hanging out with friends and a week visit to Michigan. At some point I began seriously looking for a job again.
        August: Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am! One new car: Honda's SUV, the CRV, care of Dad. Since he works for Honda I was able to get the CRV at cost, and as my graduation gift Dad pays for the down payment and first 5 months on the loan! One new job: Software Developer at ITG, Inc., and investment firm in Boston, NY, L.A., Canada, Israel, and Europe. After all this I only felt a little slighted when Michael received a job offer from his internship for more money than I got with a completed degree.
        September: Between work, roleplaying, and my boyfriend, whom I'm becoming pretty serious with at this point, I have very little free time. This month marked our six month anniversary, making this relationship the longest one I've ever had (which actually happened at 4 months).
        October: My manager at work left for a better job. Good for him, unfortunate for the four of us left behind in software development, especially since he was part of the reason I took my job. Ah well, at least after he left the four of us became a close-knit working group and friends. Halloween was great fun. I was one of two who dressed up at the office. And at home we had at least 150 trick-or-treaters come by! Best of all, everyone loved my costume, black feathered wings and all.
The first tragedy of the year struck this month. My great-grandmother dies at the age of 102. The family had a lovely Memorial Service in Ohio, which I was asked to sing at. Then the family only funeral. Unfortunately this was just the first tragedy.
        November: Three months at my job, the rest of the benefits kick in, including a 401k plan to start Dec. 1. Guess I'm officially an adult now. My first presidential election! Too bad we had to wait so long to find out my candidate lost. And happily, I ran into friends of mine I had lost touch with and renewed friendships. But on the other side I broke up with my boyfriend. I just couldn't see anything for us down the line anymore, and I didn't want to drag out a relationship that didn't have a future.
        My Nana was hospitalized with cancer this month. Michael and I hopped a plane last minute on Thanksgiving to see her. We also found out my cousin Sherrone is pregnant! I'm excited about becoming an Aunt (well, actually a 1st cousin once removed, but who wants to be called that?)
        December: Of the entire year, this month has been the most eventful, and its noe even over yet!
        On the 12th I was kicked out of my apartment. Long story short, my roommates and I were unable to work out our problems. Unfortunately I lost more than just an apartment, I lost two best friends.
        Less than a week later my Nana died. I had seen her not 8 hours before her death. I'm just glad I was able to make it out to Michigan again to tell her I loved her before it happened. My Nana and I were close. She taught me how to sew and she was a lot of fun. I'm going to miss her.
        So now I'm living with Mom, temporarily. But I'm looking to buy my own condo. I'm looking forward to Christmas and singing at the candle light service Christmas Eve. Then it's off to Michigan (again!) to visit relatives, for Nana's Memorial Service, and for Sherrone's Wedding. All in one week! Not to mention the New Year's gathering I was planning NOT to have that I will be hosting at my house to greet the New Millennium. (Remember the calendar didn't start with a year zero, so 2001 is the beginning of the new millennium and century.)
        "May all your days be Merry and Bright" and remember that when things get tough and sad, there are better days ahead. Just take one day at a time, and I'll see you down the road.
                                                        All My Love,

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

 December 1997 - Second End of the Year letter

Dear family and friends,
        Well, another year’s gone by and so as I’m writing this it’s almost Christmas, which means some people will not receive this by then- sorry! As I look back on the year I wonder how all the time passed without my noticing. I guess time flies when you’re not paying attention. At least I used it well, or so I think, read on and tell me if you agree.
        The new year saw me returning to Harvard for my first semester finals. It was then I discovered how much high school did not prepare me for college as I found I didn’t know how to study for exams! I had never needed to really study for exams in high school, memorize formulas or dates sure, but not actually “study.” Both Dad and Mom received phone calls from a depressed and stressed out girl the night before I had two exams in one day (shudder), convinced that I was going to fail both. But in the end everything turned out alright. My freshman advisor gave me some pointers on studying, and I ended my first semester at Harvard with one A, two A-’s, and one C+ (in that accelerated Chemistry course I took- big mistake).
        Second semester had me in five classes, instead of the normal four. For some reason I have the need to take the hardest class load possible. For example, this semester I’m taking a computer programming class, a physics class, and finishing my Math sequence with Linear Algebra, and then my last class, to offset the technology overload, is a core class on music. So anyways, I enjoyed my five classes last spring. I started working for the Harvard dorm crew after spring break doing wet work, which means cleaning student bathrooms. I really wasn’t that bad, and it paid $8.55 per hour, so what the heck! I also joined the intramural basketball and, not by my choice, volleyball teams with my entryway. I continued in the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, and our spring concert was a terrific success. Early in the semester, as a procrastination method, I created a homepage for myself with the space Harvard allows each of its students on its server. (Please visit it! My address is http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~jgerman ) And with my earning one B, two B+’s, and two A-’s as final grades, I consider the semester a good success! The only real horrible thing that happened was my best friend trying to commit suicide. I thank God she wasn’t successful, and am happy that she’s doing better and plans to return to school this January.
        Summer wasn’t the best one I’ve ever had. The week I spent in Michigan was great. I was able to see Dad, my grandparents, and my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was wonderful to take a break from my life for while. (As I recall, my cousin Nate and I spent a fun day together, just the two of us doing whatever!) After school ended I worked forty hours at Harvard on dorm crew, and around twenty at the Pharmacy, for four weeks. The first two at Harvard were to get the dorms cleaned and ready for the Alumni coming for their respective reunions. The third was setting up for and at working at the
Law school graduation, and night-sitting three children of an alumni couple. The fourth, and part of a fifth, was preparing the dorms for the incoming summer students. Then I worked fifteen to twenty hours on summer dorm crew cleaning bathrooms (again, and boy does that get boring really fast) as well as my usual twenty at the Pharmacy. But I suppose it did pay off at the end of the summer- literally. I earned over two thousand dollars! Of course Harvard promptly took two thousand dollars for the first fall payment in August, and then Dad and Mom began paying for the rest of the semester. Still I had a little money left over to buy myself a couple of things I wanted, like my Star Trek CD discman! Oh yeah, I had a boyfriend for a couple of months too, but nothing became of that.
        In September I started my sophomore year at Harvard. I had been very happy I was assigned to Winthrop House in the lottery last April because that’s where my friends from my freshman entryway ended up! Still, I did not room with any of them, so once again I found myself moving in with strangers. Except this time there were only two of them, both transfer students. Adriane and I have developed a good friendship, and Erin... well we’re not too sure about her since we hardly ever see her! Actually she’s a friendly person and a fine dormmate. We all have our own rooms in the suite. I have the one with the fire place, (at least until next semester begins) and I’ve used it twice already! Due to extensive circumstances, I’m not coaching the Colorguard this year, and I couldn’t stay in the Chorus this semester either. But I am still playing intramural basketball, and I played IM volleyball too. I’m still in Rainbow Girls, and was Chaplin during the summer term, which I really loved. I also took ballroom dance lessons this semester. I learned the Foxtrot and the basics of the International Waltz. I began volunteering in October in a Boston day care center at the Harriet Tubman House to help four- and five-year-olds learn critical thinking and computers. It’s so much fun. The children love to play with the volunteers, wheather or not on the computers. We had a great lion/dinosaur/hippo fight once! I work dry work dorm crew (meaning taking out trash and recycling and keeping the building clean) 8-10 every weekday morning, and at the Pharmacy every Sunday, which suits me just fine. At least it gets me up for class everyday at 10! The only other new thing in my life is NERO, which is a live action role playing organization. I’ve gone three times with Mike and loved it each time. The first two were as an elven archer and the last as a dragon. What fun!
        Well, that’s a lengthy recap of my life this past year. Hope ya’ll enjoy your Christmas and New Year, I sure do plan on doing so!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

 December 1996 - My first End of the Year letter

Dear Family and Friends,
        Here it is! My first Christmas letter to let you know how my year has gone. I’ve never written one of these before but I’ve read a few over the years so I think I can do this. It seems fitting, at least in my opinion, that I start this tradition of sending a letter to you at the end of every year the same year that I started a new stage of my life. Of course I am speaking about college, and to answer the question on everyone’s mind, Yes, I am having a wonderful time. While Harvard is challenging, even overwhelming at times, I am enjoying myself and I have made many new friends. Now, let me start not actually at the beginning of this past year, but at the end of my High School career. I graduated on June 9, 1996. Everything went well, we all threw our hats at the end of the ceremony and then hurried off to our Graduation parties. Mine was held in the back yard of our house. It was an open-house-cook-out party, and Mom made food for everyone who showed up. Around sixty people came, including some of my family members from Michigan!
        Over the summer Mike and I visited our family and friends in Michigan. We went White Water Rafting in Pennsylvania with Dad. Mike fell out of the raft once, but we had a lot of fun getting wet, climbing on rocks to push the raft free, and running our raft over one of the guides. We also went camping, Horseback Riding, and cave exploring with Dad. As always, Mike, our cousins on Dad’s side, and I were taken to Cedar Point by our Aunts, Nana and Grandpa this summer. Mike and I had saved up over the year and so we went Para-sailing while there. It was truly awesome to be “flying” above the lake, it was so quiet and beautiful.
        Instead of flying back home, Mom drove to Michigan and picked us up. We then spent a week in Canada on our way home. Among other things, we went and saw Old Quebec City which is surrounded by huge stone walls! Being in the Province of Quebec is an experience in itself since everyone speaks French and, unlike the other Provinces, there are NO signs, or anything, in English. But at least I was able to drive up to 80 mph because in Canada that’s what 120 kph translates to! I almost forgot to mention that I passed my driving test (the first time) in June and got my license just before I went to Michigan.
        I started college in September. I had been assigned three roommates who I had talked on the phone with before school started, but we didn’t meet until we moved in. One of my roommates, Kelly, is from California, Lauren is from Connecticut, and Maura is from Massachusetts just like me! It was an adjustment at first to be living with three girls I hardly knew, in a dorm with 32 other girls and boys I didn’t know. But I made many friends pretty quickly, I even found two people in my dorm that like Star Trek almost as much as I do! Now I get along great with my roommates and I’ve actually called Harvard “home” a couple times recently.
        For classes I was taking Expository Writing, Spanish, Calculus and Differentiable Equations, and an accelerated Chemistry course. The semester ended December 17, and I have break until January 2. Then reading period begins, which lasts for two weeks before finals begin. Even though finals are after vacation, I’m not going to ruin my Holidays by worrying about them until reading period starts.
        And finally, so I wouldn’t become a boring person who only studies, I kept myself busy with many extra-curricular activities this semester. I was accepted to the Harvard- Radcliffe Chorus, in which I sing Soprano and am the section leader of the Soprano II’s. Our first concert was December 8th and was a wonderful success. For the first time, I coached the Color guard squad of the football team at Arlington High School. It was a lot of fun being the one to make the decisions for a change! I also am continuing on in Rainbow Girls. And I am still working at Menotomy Pharmacy in Arlington. It’s great because I can pick up the bus at Harvard station and it goes right to the Pharmacy’s door.
        Well, that’s my past year in a nut shell. A chestnut shell! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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