Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Christmas Letter: Year in Review

I just re-read my Christmas letter from 2010 recapping all the things I did that year.  It's truly amazing how much one can pack in to a single year.  I definitely have a feeling of being a slacker, as if my old age has slowed me down.  My past self put my present self to shame.  But I did have a pretty exciting year, and I still think it's worth celebrating, even if it doesn't top every other year of my life.  Jaiman and I spend most of our free time together, so there's a lot of "we" where there used to be an "I" in my stories, which is also really awesome.  So, here it goes. 

Dear Friends & Family,

We started the year off with a new hike we'd been wanting to do called Peralta Trail in the Superstition Mountains.  It looks like it was exhausting from the pictures, but I don't remember it being too painful, so it couldn't have been that bad.  For Jaiman's birthday we hosted a party at Ah-So with members of both of our families as well as some of Jaiman's closest friends.  The chef sprayed sake into everyone's mouths relentlessly.  Even the kids got to partake, but it was water for them.  We had a bit of an after-party at our house.
For Valentine's Day, Jaiman and I had a romantic getaway in Sedona, complete with a short hike, some good beer, and a chocolate lover's train ride through the wilderness, during which we saw a bald eagle!  In March we went to the Sonoran Light exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens.  I'm not sure if this makes me feel fancy, or old, but I like excursions to the DBG.  In April, my colleagues, Jaiman and my sister Christy and I did the Bubble Run and got covered in glorious colored bubbles.  

Perhaps the highlight of our year came in May, when we took a long-awaited vacation to Japan.  The trip got off to a rocky start, but we made it to Tokyo where we experienced Disney like only the Japanese can do it, as well as a sumo wrestling match, checking off one of my life list goals.  We visited a legit owl cafe and got to hold all sizes and sorts of owls, and got to play video games a bajillion-story arcade in Akihabara. I parted with Jaiman for one night and checked myself into a capsule hotel, which was one of the more amazing things I think I've ever done, and another checkmark on my life list.  What would be a Jaiman trip without a roller coaster?  We went on a ride which was rather mediocre, but hey, Japan!  Checking off yet another item on our life lists, we took a bullet train from Tokyo to Hiroshima, and then jumped on a ferry to Miyajima where we stayed two nights in the most luxurious of Japanese resorts.  Our room had a private hot spring bath which I obsessed with day and night, but we also managed to eat incredible food, tour the Itsukishima Shrine, take a rope car to the top of the mountain and hike down it.  Before leaving the area, we tour the Hiroshima Peace Park Museum and saw children singing at the Children's Memorial.  We hopped back on a bullet train and arrived in Kyoto in no time, where we searched for and found both the old and new Nintendo headquarters.  Back in Tokyo, we went to a baseball game, which was an unbelievably hilarious good time.  Some craft beer and shopping ensued in our last day in Tokyo; I helped Jaiman with the Japanese alphabet, allowing him to locate a rare CD he's been on the hunt for, and Jaiman having mastered a few key Japanese phrases to interact with the retail workers.

Upon returning from Japan, Jaiman and I were both mysteriously awarded with "matching promotions," Jaiman promoted to Store Manager of his own store not two miles from our house (a much shorter commute than what he previously had), and I was promoted to Demand Manager for laundry, taking on our very challenging brand, Persil (challenging because it keeps GROWING!!).  Lesson learned, we need to take more trips out of the country for weeks at a time, apparently it makes our employers promote us.  

I performed multiple times this year with the Gypsy Jitterbugs, including at Swingdependance in July.  For my birthday, we did another little getaway, this time down in Bisbee.  We played Knockerball with some friends from swing dance, and went to multiple ASU football games.  Jaiman and I also went to California to activate our Six Flags passes and catch some Pokemon.  For a birthday present, Christy got us tickets to see Straight No Chaser down in Tucson, a group we saw in 2015 in Mesa, and we will be seeing again on New Year's Eve this year.  You could say we're fans.  

For Thanksgiving, we went to Las Vegas with the intent of gorging at a buffet.  Unfortunately, our first choice buffet had a 4 hour wait just to get in, so we opted for our second choice, which still had a 3 hour wait, but we paid the extra for the "express pass" to
get in with just a 45 minute wait.  Christy, Jaiman and I also did the Hot Chocolate 5k, and we cheered Matthew on as he completed his first (and last?) 15k there.  For an early Christmas present, Jaiman took me to an Arizona Cardinals game.  When I asked if he had a shirt I could wear (meaning borrow from him), he presented me with another gift - my very own Cardinals shirt - a shirt I'd been eyeing in his store.  Jordin Sparks sang the National Anthem and the halftime show.  We lost, but it was still a fun time to see Arizona play their last home game.  

In June, my company announced the exciting news that we would be acquiring Sun Products, doubling our presence and position in the US laundry market.  This was especially exciting since I had just joined the laundry team with my promotion.  However, the writing on the wall was a potential re-structuring and re-location.  Sure enough, in October, it was announced that we would be moving our North American headquarters to Stamford, CT.  I have recently accepted a position as part of this re-location, doing the same thing I am currently doing but back on the beauty side of the business where I came from.  So, sometime next year, Jaiman and I are expecting to move to Connecticut.  We expect to take lots of weekend trips to theme parks and cities of historical and cultural significance, eat lots of new foods, see lots of shows on Broadway, and experience all sorts of different things.  

For Christmas this year, my family decided to rent a cabin in Show Low, Arizona.  The weather forecast does not show snow, but we're still hoping for a little holiday miracle.  Matching pajamas, karaoke, board games and typical Winger craziness is sure to ensue.  Stay tuned for more on that, and for our big adventures in 2017!  

Happy holidays! 


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