People have been posting their responses to Gwen Bell's Best of 09 Blog Challenge all over tumblr and twitter as #best09. I'm a bit late to the party, but better late than never, right?! So here's my part 1, I'll post the other half tomorrow.

December 1 Trip.
Oooh! This was a good year for traveling! I visited three states and four countries. My trip to Europe goes at the top of the list, of course. If I have to pick a favorite experience in that trip, it'd be hiking through Cinque Terre, Italy.

December 2 Restaurant moment.
The tapas & wine restaurant in Barcelona; Santa Maria I believe it was called. My sisters, my guy, and our friend -- great tapas, awesome conversation, yummy yummy wine.

December 3 Article.
Hmm, this one's tough because I am always reading, so I don't really remember things for very long... That article about McDonald's in France?

December 4 Book.
I read so many books this year, and yet none of them really stand out. *browses through Goodreads read list* Oh yes! Everything Changes by Kairol Rosenthal is probably the one that touched me the most. I actually have gone back to look through it a couple of times, and throughout all of this health care debate stuff, I've been thinking about it even more. Maybe I'll write a post about it...

December 5 Night out.
I'm not sure if the night "rocked my world," but the night in Barcelona with the tapas bar I mentioned above. That night was pretty damn memorable. Because tapas and wine was just the beginning of a night that featured mojitos, absinthe, a bar in an apartment, a Lauryn Hill sing-a-long through las Ramblas, and more.

December 6 Workshop or conference.
Definitely WAM! This was the year of conferences and trainings and whatnot, but WAM! was definitely the best. I got to meet some amazing people, make great connections, and learn a lot.

December 7 Blog find of the year.
I discovered a lot of blogs this year, but most of them haven't been around for that long, so I'm guessing they don't count. I can't really think of anything, but I guess I'll say Cake Wrecks for sheer funny.

December 8 Moment of peace.
There were a few moments during my hike through Cinque Terre (well, the second day, not the first day) that were the most peaceful I've felt pretty much ever. They were the moments that my sister and I stopped to catch our breath, where we just looked around us and enjoyed the beauty of the ocean, the towns in the distance, the greenery all around us... It was beautiful. My body was working over-time, but my mind felt at peace for the first time in a long time. Nothing else mattered -- not the work I had back home, not the plans I need to make, the goals for the coming months, nothing. It was just me and her and the beauty around us.

December 9 Challenge.
I don't have a great answer for this... I feel the entire year was a bit of a roller coaster, but nothing was really resolved. My family situation is all over the place, my finances are a mess, I'm not really where I want to be. I guess the biggest challenge has been trying to get a handle on what I want to accomplish and what really matters to me. Over the past couple of weeks, that's been clearing up for me a bit more, but this isn't something I'll feel comfortable with until I actually have a plan ready.

December 10 Album of the year.
I suppose I can't say the entire Beatles remastered stereo catalog? I discovered a lot of good music this year, but nothing fantabulous. But best of the year? Damn. Alanis' Flavors of Entanglement came out last year, but I rocked it hard this year. Maybe that's cheating, but that's all I've got.

December 11 The best place.
I don't have a place... Is that sad or what? Can I say Paris? Not exactly a "place" I frequent but I love Paris and had fun there! Or if it should be more local and regular, I guess I'll have to say the lawn at my building complex. I spent many a summer morning and afternoon there reading and writing. Not exactly my favorite place (certainly not better than Paris!), but it's nice.

December 12 New food.
I didn't really try anything new this year. Those tapas in Spain were yummy, but that's not really new lol.

December 13 What's the best change you made to the place you live?
I moved this year, so that pretty much covers change, doesn't it? We now live in a neighborhood where there are supermarkets, bars, restaurants, and banks within walking distance! Good times!


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