Love and loss. Travel and food. Heartburn and indigestion. Weather. These are a few words that stand out and define the past year.
2015 involved Matt interviewing and exploring different options for graduate school.
2016 was the year of moving to Texas and beginning school.
2017 is the year of completion, seeing Matt finish his classes in what is the culmination of nearly 20 years of school. It’s possible that he could have done something else worthwhile in that time such as cultivating a small forest or raising a teenager, but it is nevertheless a proud accomplishment. He has accepted an administrative residency with Texas Health Resources hospital system in Fort Worth and will relocate and begin work in January. This company has consistently ranked on Fortunes list of top places to work for diversity, so he should fit right in. Unfortunately, he now has to start his search over for the best taquerias.
Having fully embraced the Texas food scene this year, I’ve experienced both positives and negatives. There is a Filipino word, “umay,” which doesn’t directly translate to English, but indicates having eaten so much of a particular food that you grow to entirely loathe that food. My umay list has grown exponentially to include the following:
- Fried butter
- Fried turkey legs
- Fried deserts
- Anything fried really…
- Trashy Trailer Park tacos from Torchy’s Tacos
- Whataburger (only ate once)
- Eating more than 2 lbs. of brisket at a time
- Eating more than 2 lbs. of most food at a time
- Anything from Buc-ee’s
- The 4-pack of guacamole from Costco
Luckily with 2018 looming near, this list may be wiped clean and I’ll continue as if my metabolism isn’t actually slowing down.
In March, Matt was hitting those reps at the gym when he experienced a sudden pop in his upper back. After various doctors poked his back and professionally asked if it hurt (it did), he was prescribed a foam roller, with which he entered into a deep and committed relationship with. Every night and morning, that roller was there for him. In addition to physical relief, the roller also provided relief from neighbors back home who continued to ask if he was dating anyone. Some continued to prod and ask insensitive questions such as “why would a parent name their child “foam roller”?” Funny, coming from parents who give their children names such as “Rexalyn*” or “Roczek.”
By the summer, my back was feeling better and our relationship ended amicably. However, there was another relationship that perhaps did not end as well. This was difficult to deal with the rest of the year, as it is never easy when someone you care about exits your life, but was also a source for self-improvement. Love and loss is a part of the game of life. Additionally, I happened to lose my jacket in London and a pair of gloves in Italy recently. Loss is never easy.
I had the opportunity to visit 8 countries this year, drove to Canada twice, drove back and forth from Texas, and spent countless hours in airports and on planes through Europe. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
- Everyone in Europe is overdressed and you WILL stand out in khakis
- Netflix has a much better selection outside the US.
- Chocolate is much better outside the US
- Europeans like you more if you pretend you’re not American
- Making friends with airport staff overnight gets you good food and better places to sleep
- When driving from Utah to Texas, most of your drive is across Texas
- Jim Dale is essential to any road trip
- It is possible to drive 19 hours straight
- Americans love singing the Canadian National Anthem “O Canada”, but only know the first two words (which happen to be the title)
May your holidays be merry and your cheer be many. I truly wish the best to anyone reading this (but only to those reading this).
*Ask your doctor if Rexalyn is right for you