2009: A Year in Review in the World of Joel

"Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed." Corita Kent

If there was ever a year where I was going to have difficult time writing a post recapping a year, it would be now. The year of 2009 was one of so many great highs and at the same time some lows. The year didn’t start out all that exciting. I was just getting my feet wet at my new job at Southern California Edison and Jenn was enjoying her last few weeks of freedom before she too started work at SCE on February 1st.

The beginning portions of the year felt like the beginning of yet another transition period for both Jenn and I from students to full time employees, from a dating couple to eventually becoming husband and wife. We started taking our pre-marital classes in early 2009 at The Grove in Riverside. It was a six week class that at times was helpful but for the most part seemed like just yet another hurdle to go over before the big day in September.

Jenn and I spent the majority of the first few months of 2009 really ramping up for what was to become a very up and down 2009. Some of my favorite times in the beginning of 2009 were when I would go pick up Jenn from work on Friday nights in Rosemead so she wouldn't have to take the train home and we would go on date nights. Often times we would go to furniture stores (my favorite IKEA) and just start to think about getting our own place, furnishing it, and just what life would be like with just the two of us. I remember the drives home talking with her about our future not caring about traffic, or the long drive, but just enjoying the prospect of what was to come.

We ended up taking a mini vacation in March of 2009 to Indian Wells, CA where Jenn scored us a great deal on a 2 bedroom casita. A video we posted on YouTube for that stay actually scored us two more free nights at the hotel that we are going to use in 2010. This was the first mini-vacation that Jenn and I had taken alone, and although we couldn't make it to the tennis tournament it was a wonderful quick trip.

In late March, Jenn and I decided it was time for us to get a place of our own. We knew the day would come where we would know it was time. Of course then came the decision of where to live. Originally our plan was to move to Orange County but our work locations at SCE really didn't call for us to move to Orange County. So we decided to look in Chino, kind of in the middle of where Jenn and I were working at the time.

I remember the drive to Chino, Jenn and I were on the edge of our seats, excited for the prospect of our own place. We looked at some really nice communities in Chino and felt like it might have made a good starting spot for us. After we left the community we decided to drive around Chino to see what was around the apartments. We drove around and I remember stopping in a parking lot and looking at Jenn and knowing we both were thinking the same thing. Without really saying anything we drove straight from Chino down to Orange County and the rest is really history. We ended up signing a lease a week or two later at our current place in Newport Beach and haven't looked back since.

April 2009 was the month where everything seemed to go from calm to crazy. On April 4th we went down to Newport Beach to sign our year lease on our apartment, which was one of the most thrilling and scary things we had ever done. Jenn and I were on top of the world, we spent our weekends moving our stuff from Riverside to our apartment in Newport Beach, and we had started shopping for everything from a paper towel holder to furniture and art work. At the same time we had Jenn's Mom that only a few weeks after getting the keys to our apartment was diagnosed with cancer.

In May of 2009 I ended up buckling down and got LASIK done at TLC Laser Eye Center in Newport Beach. I have been kind of hot and cold on the idea for the past few years but with SCE paying a good amount of the cost I couldn't help but go get it done. The procedure was as easy as they come, less then three minutes from start to finish and I never really had any major irritation from it. To this day I am seeing perfect without glasses and loving it.

There was a time during the summer of 2009 that Jenn and I seriously thought about pushing up our wedding to a small ceremony to ensure her Mom concentrated on getting better. But in the end those thoughts passed and we pushed forward with our September 19th wedding date while Jenn's mom went every few weeks for her chemo treatments.

As summer moved along it seemed like every weekend had something to do with the wedding. Whether it was picking out the flowers, Jenn's wedding shower, meetings with our Pastor, picking out tuxes, buying the rings or whatever else comes with planning a wedding it seemed like every weekend was something. As September grew closer and closer I think Jenn and I finally had the chance to sit back just for a few moments and finally grow in anticipation for our big day.

When September 19th finally rolled around it so far exceeded my expectations of the day I cannot even begin to describe it. Jenn looked absolutely phenomenal, she was just stunning. The day could not have been any more beautiful. My groomsmen were great and Jenn's bridesmaids did a great job as well. It truly was the best day of my life. What is funny however is that I had gotten so much wedding advice from everyone leading up to the day and one thing that everyone said was that it goes to fast, and boy does it! From the moment I rushed my "I Do" to the next day sitting at LAX waiting for our plane to London it felt like everything was moving at 1,000 MPH. The wedding and reception were amazing and I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it. Our Honeymoon was spectacular, the weather cooperated from start to finish and the trip itself was both relaxing and enjoyable.

When we got back from our Honeymoon everything seemed to fall into place. Jenn's latest rotation at SCE put her only 10 miles away from our apartment which let us spend a lot more time together. Jenn and I started to really work out a nice routine and to be honest had an amazing start to our married life. Jenn's Mom got great news that the cancer that they had found earlier in the year was all but gone. We spent a lot of great weekends with my brother Jake who got us
into Jenn and my latest addiction the TV show "Lost" which we are now on Season 5.

Jenn and I took a great mini-vacation in November up to San Francisco, our first as a married couple. It was the type of mini-vacation that we had talked about wanting to do for years and it finally came to fruition. It was such a surreal experience to just wake up one morning book a hotel and head out. We had a great time up in the bay area and look forward to all of the quick trips we can do in the future.

The final few weeks of the year were fantastic. Jenn and I got to decorate our apartment for the first time, bake cookies that turned out to be some of the worst Christmas cookies on record, and celebrate our first Christmas together. Jenn did an amazing job getting our place ready for the holidays and that mood was set throughout all of December. We had a great Christmas, to some it might even seem a bit crazy, but all in all it was a fantastic first Christmas as a married couple.

The year didn’t end without any slowdown as Jenn’s car a Toytota Celica started to have some mechanical issues. We ended up buying Jenn a White Certified Pre-Owned 2007 BMW 328i and sold her Celica to CarMax. It was actually a great car buying experience and we finally got Jenn a new car, something she has needed for a while. All in all 2009 was an amazingly crazy and exciting year. I got to marry the woman of my dreams and now look forward to spending the rest of my life with her.

Goodbye 2009 what a year you have been, and Hello 2010 I cannot wait to see what you have in store for me!