Anna Maria Locke

New Year

I'm finally back home again in Illinois for my last week of Christmas break, after driving WAY too many hundreds of miles all around the midwest to visit family and friends.  I haven't been blogging much because I preferred to enjoy the "real" world and haven't had internet access much of the time!  I can't believe the holiday season is over once again; it's a time that I always look forward to and it always passes before I can think about it.  It's nice to be able to finally relax after all the whirlwind craziness though, and start to look forward to getting back into my own routine at school.  (but NOT looking forward to the drive back to PA).

I'm excited for 2010 because I know it will be an exciting year full of unknown changes for my family and lots of my friends.  I don't know if it can compare to the crazy tumultuousness(word??) of 2009 though. 

As I sit in my pajamas that I have worn for the past 2 days and nights, anxiously waiting to see if I will catch the deadly stomach flu that assaulted my best friend and resulted in a trip to the Emergency Room on Sunday during the last night of my visit (EEK!!! so far so good...shoveling down the malt-o-meal and tea) I feel like I might as well do a 2009 photo recap just because SO MUCH HAPPENED last year!


After kicking off the New Year, the festivities continued with my friend Angie's wedding! And my first time as a bridesmaid :)


I spent my (ridiculously early) senior Spring Break on a random/awkward/amazing trip with my advisor and another student to North Carolina to visit Duke and UNC on my grad school quest.
I fell in love with Duke, was accepted into their Masters in Environmental Management program, but decided I didn't want to go $80000 in debt :( and rounded out the trip with a drive up the barrier islands.
North Carolina, I love you.


Spring Term of senior year at Augustana began, and also the bittersweet mad rush to create as many memories as possible.

Birthday Month!

1920's themed formals and birthdays were celebrated.  I turned 22!
Aaaand after a long stressful process I decided to go to Penn State for grad school in Geography.


a BIG month!!

final posters were presented

Grammy turned 80!

Crazy Sigma Alpha Iota seniors said farewell with a bang

And I graduated on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Senior year I took on way too many responsibilities and classes, ran cross country, held 3 part time jobs, took the GRE and applied to 5 grad schools, had a rough adjustment to a long distance relationship, and completely burned out both physically and emotionally.  I was unprepared for the overwhelming feeling of relief that I felt on graduation, and it was one of the happiest days of my year.  I can't believe I made it through all that happened!  [And I still can't believe my BA in biology is virtually worthless in today's economy :P]

Right after graduation I took a trip to Baltimore to visit Ben and had a quick, random trip to DC for the first time!


I stayed in Rock Island (my college town) for the summer with my roommates to work and adjust to "post-college life". [whatever that entails ;)]
My sister came up to visit for Gumbo Yaya, a ridiculous Cajun-themed summer festival. We all accummulated a lifetime supply of Mardi Gras beads :)

I picked up Ben, who spent his summer back home in the Chicago burbs, and drove to Indiana to meet my family for my Uncle's annual "going-away party" before he goes to Holland for a few months to work every fall.
[He designed and built the tiki hut by hand!]

I also traveled to the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania with my mom to visit my future school for the first time and sign for my first very own apartment!


I continued my U.S. Fish and Wildlife intern adventures, spending many days driving around the greater Midwest area and Mississippi River basin and many long nights netting and tagging bats. 


After four years, I finally said goodbye to the Quad Cities and my college girls to embark upon my next adventure!!

My dad, sister and Ben helped me move to Pennsylvania to strike out on my own, going wayyyyy beyond my comfort zone! Luckily everything worked out amazingly.


I discovered I loved grad school, and also loved being able to DRIVE to see Ben!!!

...can be seen on the blog...


I finished my first semester of grad school, finally made it home, and had a wonderful Christmas with my family in IL and IA.

The year ended in my all-time-favorite way...a New Year's party in my basement with my family and best friends from high school and college.  I have spent all the New Years Eves that I can remember at my house; when we were young my parents would invite family friends with kids our ages that we would only see once or twice a year, and I still think the best way to celebrate is the place where your own bed is only a floor above, waiting for you to crash :)

 WHEW what a crazy ride!
Happy 2010 everyone :)