January: Started off the year with dear new friends watching fireworks explode all around me from a rooftop. Started off the year with four months under my belt living in a brand new country. Finished up a two week intensive Spanish immersion course. Made my way to my dream destination, Rio de Janeiro where I had the most amazing time of fun and self discovery. Traveled around Brazil alone, met amazing new people, discovered amazing new places and getting to know myself again. Met a Brazilian man who handed me back the confidence I had lost in the shuffle of movie. Returned to Uruguay and greeted my family, who needed to see first-hand where I had moved. January was a really great month.
February: Started a second semester with a little more sparkle. Said goodbye to my family again as they made their way back to the USA and the cold. Met Joao…hola baby…and the Uruguayan cold spell was lifted. Brought in the Chinese New Year. Experienced my very first Carnival. And started the first ever birthday card creation challenge at UAS for Katie. Went to one of my favorite bodegas, in Punta de Ballena. And ate some incredible sushi over at a friend’s brand new house. Started conversational Spanish/English exchange classes with Marisa. Lots of sunset bikes and wine nights.
March: Had my first Spanish card game night. Kicked all of my students’ butts with my school spirit. Played some darts and some pool at my favorite local dive bar. Had two former students visit. Decorated my door (yay, Sewanee’s Right). And then accidentally poured boiling water all over my legs. Spent a month stuck in my apartment and the British Hospital trying to regrow skin. Witnessed one of the greatest gift givings of all time. Katie’s parents came to visit and took me on my first outing since the burn. Got my first package from my mommy. Went on a friend-changing camping trip to Paysandu to the Beer festival. Got my first exposure to Spanish rock.
April: More trips to the British Hospital for burn treatment. Katie climbed a fence. Discovered La Resistance bakery and made a bomb bread pudding. Had one of my favorite parties I have ever thrown, the dog party. Got my first Uruguayan haircut. Enjoyed the first all-girls asado. More bikes and sunset nights. Stuffed my face at the International fair at UAS. Found my first Penny on the streets of Uruguay. Bodega visit number nine. Last days with the Seniors before IB testing plus a classic Senior prank. Kicked some middle school butt at the blow-up ball game celebrating 60 years of UAS. ROCHA baby! Punta del Diablo with some really great friends. And will boast that I won the party award (well, to be fair the one who was supposed to win left early…loser!)
May: Sunrises on the way to carpool become a thing again. Got the gift of a Paysandu beer mug. Discovered Jazz night at El Mingus and the pork of my dreams. Pranked a co-worked by placing Sex-ed papers all over his classroom. Party at Michael’s! Then first Mesabrava where I had some lovely food and a run in with my favorite bartender! Bodega Spinoglio. Diego made me arroz con leche. Yum! I had way too much time on my hands when I had no Seniors and decided to make a Ninja Turtle cartoon. Seniors did IB testing. My childhood dream came true when I got to play Ariel in Coffee House Under the Sea. Enjoyed way too much wine at Degusto. Was amazed by my students at the innovation fair. I even got to eat a cup made from Jello.
June: Got my face painted after losing Jenga. A magical graduation happened…all my babies walked! First night at Inmigrantes (RIP Anthony Bourdain). Attended my favorite Prom of all time and had way too much fun on the dance floor and in the photo booth. Becca came to visit and brought booze and coffee and a much needed hug. Saw a tango show. Awards day happened at UAS. Uruguay plays the first round of the world cup and we postpone exams so the whole school can watch. Another kick-ass game night was had and Becca and I showed our two-step skills. Went to candombe and came away with a Brazilian’s phone number. Enjoyed a lovely week-long adventure with William. Uruguay wins again! Date night one-year celebration with Katie. One of my favorite evenings with two of my favorite men and some gin and tonics. A final bodega visit to celebrate the fire evening. Wrote some deep shit on a paper and burned it. Then off to the good old USA. Spent a few days in New York with my brother. Walked my fur-niece a lot. Dragged Mikey to another Uruguay game…we win AGAIN! Ed comes to town. Had drinks with Brad and Friend. Saw Hello Dolly with Bernadette Peters! Then saw Come From Away.
July: Went home to Nashville and recharged on friendship, food, and music. Got to see James! Had Thai food and caught up with Kyle. Neel and Terra threw a party! Had hot chicken with Lesley and Lynne. Enjoyed wine and catch-up time with Carmen and Ashley. Revisited old stomping grounds with Heather. Made it back to San Antonio. Had Thanksgiving in July with the family. Ate all the yummy eats. Got behind the seat of my Prius to see Maggi. Got a needed color and cut. Went to REI to get some needed travel items. Had a Martini and Oysters date night with Dad. Snuggled my puppy. Made a last Buckey’s stop on the way to Houston. And off I went to Colombia. Bogota, Medellin, Guatape, Cartegena, Food Poisoning, Salento, Bogota, Leticia and the Amazons. Met incredible people, met up with Katie, had much needed adventures. Learned some things about myself. Came back home to Montevideo and immediately saw Mamma Mia!
August: Date night with Nancy and Katie to celebrate our second year. Rasheeda moved into my apartment. Started school again with all high school this time. An awesome cover band played at Inmigrantes. Adoption of the dog project begins and I got to reap the benefits of playing with puppies. Went on a date with this guy name Nicolas. Tried to start Sunday dinner nights…fail. Ana has a bad-ass birthday at an Estancia. Had the most amazing meal and wine at Los Nadies. Lost a friend in the states due to gun violence. I miss you, Jaime. Ana and I became permanent residents.
September: We were supposed to go to a club, but ended up having a blast at El Popu. Then the second all girls asado happened. Got a package of scarves send from Mom that used to be Mimi’s. Was invited to the China/Uruguay assembly at the Senate house. Then had some pork at El Mingus before they changed the menu. Started to feel like doom was coming and decided I needed to get massages from Katie’s lady, Carla. Had a few more dates with Nicolas. Thoroughly enjoyed being a STUCO sponsor at family day at UAS. Was put in jail several times by my students. Nicolas gets invited to my boss’s house for a party/asado and comes. I got to be a pet sitter for a weekend with Britany. Another bodega on a beautiful day. Had a much needed game night. Brutus and Antony have an election at school. Brutus wins. Rasheeda, Katie and I go to Cabo Polonia and Punta del Diablo. Had a disappointing Mealsurfing experience and decide that I probably need to see a Psychologist about why I am feeling so down most of the time. Started watching Six Feet Under again. Gay Pride parade! Started to lose a friendship.
October: Went with Tavis and the 10th grade to Maldonado. Felt a lump on my neck the first day and joked it was my twin. Climbed Pan de Azucar. Met a boy from the interior who gave me my first Spanish kids book about Sapo Ruperto. Saw a pig be slaughtered. Michael has a 50th birthday party to top all parties. Nicolas comes with me. Holy shit, I have an Uruguayan boyfriend. Ana has a first asado at her new place. Nicolas takes me to the Fortonesa in Cerro. Gave a presentation to submit for a conference in Chile. College game night Part 2! Got to pet sit again with Leia and Britany. My massage therapist tells me to go to a doctor about the lump in my neck. I have my first doctor’s appointment, blood work, a sonogram, and more blood work. Wrote a difficult letter. Got a friendship back. Doctor throughs around the word cancer. Went to Rosario Argentina to see Shakira. Kicked the kids butts again for spirit week.
November: Had a date night with Gabriel and drowned our sorrows. Got invited to the theatre party for Rasheed’s play and meet my new best friends. Brad has his murder mystery party. Mikey turns 25 and can now rent a car. I have my surgical biopsy and my first PET scan. See Rasheeda’s play…so funny! Have a girls weekend at the Belmont House. Enjoy a final night with Nicolas and final tell him that I may have cancer. And the may turns into do. Was told I have cancer and need to start chemo. Go to see Herbie Hancock. Get the best birthday surprise at school…a classroom full of shoes. I have a bone marrow biopsy and a delicious choripan. Went camping at Salto Penitente with Brad and Seba. Have a nice little breakdown for my 31st birthday. I have a very special UAS Thanksgiving. A final trip to Santiago for Thanksgiving with Katie and Ena. Told my kids and co-workers that I have cancer and get the biggest outpour of love and support. Mom comes to Uruguay. I start my first chemo treatment.
December: Coffee House Medieval Times was a great success! Ana has her arts and crafts party. Tried to sell some stuff at Tristen Narvaja and ended up going through a self-discovery. Started yoga.I get a box of love from my friends at school. Had my second chemo treatment. Made it to Tavis’ 40th birthday and got to celebrate a very special friend. Mom makes a construction paper Christmas tree. Got my hair cut really short. Kids finish finals. Teachers finish school for the semester. School is out for the summer. Christmas Eve at Javi and Carla’s is a night to remember. Christmas spent watching movies in pjs. Nicolas has several fun visits with me and Mom. Chemo number three. Had a date with Gabriel and saw new places around Montevideo. New Years Eve at Tavis’ house surrounded by family and friends.
I finished where I started. It has been a wild year and only getting more wild. It has been a year of self-discovery, growing up, and really shitty luck. But it has also been a year of immense surprises and love. There has been more good than bad. And through it all are the people who keep me strong, who keep me going every single day of the year.