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In which this year is finally over.

Dear 2011,
You have been my most intense year yet. You've brought me some of my happiest times and greatest adventures. You have been a year of romance, of friendship, of hiking, of random dance parties with roommates.  You started with me slaving away at the piano preparing for my sophomore recital, which I somehow managed to prepare for and perform. You brought me new friends and reminded me how much I love my major, even when I feel insecure about it. You took me to Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany. I learned how to survive in airports by myself, how to deal with homesickness, and how much I miss my family when they're far from me.

You haven't been the kindest year. You took my brother and my best friend from me, replacing them with letters and weekly emails. You gave me scary and exhilarating questions about my future, which started full of excitement and optimism, led to confusion and doubt, and eventually ended in heartbreak. But even then, 2011, you gave me a family who love me, friends who don't mind when I cry in front of them, and classes and work to drown myself in. You've given me exciting new jobs and volunteering activities, and the best grades I've had in a long time.

2011, you've given me more pain than I ever thought I could handle. You brought me low enough to finally seek help. You gave me a diagnosis, and the beginnings of treatment. And somehow, you've brought me hope that things will get better.

Yes, my friend, it's been a good year. I plan to look back on you and smile at the thought of gelato, Doener kebaps, mountains, waterfalls, and castles. But 2011, right now the most honest thing I can say about you is that I'm glad you're finally leaving. We've made some good memories, but I'm ready to be done with you. You've really overstayed your welcome by a few months, and I'm ready for a new start. I doubt 2012 will be any easier, but it will be different and new, and hopefully, even better than you.

Thanks for the ride,

Karissa

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