In rough sequential order, a run-down of my 2016:
In January and February I burst my ski ego. Racing for CMU’s ski team humbled me, being both out-skied and out-drank by a group of fun-loving undergrads. East Coast ice is tricky, especially after 4:00 am Fireball shots. Oh, college.
March brought me and friends to the Arizona for a hairball trip down the Upper Salt River.
The landscape we traveled through remains my favorite of river passageways. Pity we only managed the first 20 miles of it, owing to a certain incident in which I flipped my boat and lost the oars during the very first stretch of river where we weren’t stuck on rocks. Camilo’s ingenuity and paddle-guiding prowess saved the day, along with Anne’s optimism, Saskia’s graciousness, Jason’s steadfastness, Jon’s fun-loving enthusiasm, Gordon’s hearty good cheer, and Sagar’s selfless support of his friends (dispite near hypothermia, stomach illness, closed roads, flat tires, and other mishaps).
The trip coincided with my brother-in-law Tory’s 40th birthday, providing a wonderful occasion to celebrate him and reconnect with coworkers from Arizona Pain Specialists.
My light load in January and February to accommodate travelling every weekend to a ski tournament corresponded to a heavy load in March and April that nearly sunk me. I made it out (and, to the best of my knowledge, passed all of my classes).
May took me to Seattle to celebrate Hope’s graduation from med school and for a sailing trip to Blakey Island with quadlings.
I spent the summer working for CREATE Lab under Randy Sargent, building visualizations of environmental data on a planetary scale, e.g. the animation below of the seasonal advance and retreat of vegetation (green = vegetation, white = no vegetation). I loved the work, and the lab challenged me every day to think about the values I brought to work and how to affect positive change.
Austin? Austin. I went to Austin to revel in Erik’s last days of bachelordom. Austin is a super fun place. Enough said about Austin.
I spend most of the winter, spring and summer running. I’m not surprised by this, given the lack of mountains around Pittsburgh. I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon in Boston-qualifying time in May, and attempted to outrun old age in July by participating in the Never Summer 100k ultramarathon with TJ.
I should note that after the 100k race, I’ve barely run (or done anything active) at all. Good riddance.
Despite the day’s lows and highs (literal and figurative), I failed to outrun old age, which found me on July 26, in the company of good friends and amazing food (Abram, those squid-ink steam buns with pork belly still haunt me).
September brought me back to Colorado for Erik and Amanda’s wedding. Although I’m not much one for weddings, Erik managed to squeeze a lot of fun into the weekend, in addition to the lovely ceremony. I’m privileged to have been a part.
This fall I upped my concert photography game, taking concert photos for The Cut Magazine and The Tartan Newspaper (both CMU student publications). I’ll miss Pittsburgh’s amazing access to live music.
Somewhere along the way I’ve fallen in love with transit and transportation. This summer I published a project on Pittsburgh’s bus’s that picked up some local press coverage (including Pittsburgh’s mayor). In October, I found out that I had my first academic paper accepted for publication in the Transportation Research Record (TRR Paper …).
And, somewhere along the way I fell in love with Pittsburgh. The city is gritty and burgeons with character. Old, diverse, up-and-coming, and fun, Pittsburgh is a real treat of a city. My suggestion for the future: let’s round off Colorado at an even fifty 14ers, and move the extras next to Pittsburgh.
I enjoyed sharing Pittsburgh with my parents in May, and my siblings, Rachel, Andrew, Grace, and Judah this fall.
I’m not sure I fell in love with Pennsylvania in the same way that I fell in love with Pittsburgh, but I did enjoy poking around in its hills a bit.
In December, I wrapped up my time at Carnegie Mellon University, having learned the skills I had set out to acquire, broadened my mind and worldview, and having made a host of wonderful friends.
Anne, Abram, Sagar, Jon and Ken surprised me for graduation, appearing in my local bar and leaving me (to this day) entirely flabbergasted.
This fall I interviewed for a bunch of jobs I didn’t want, before finally interviewing for one I did actually want. As luck would have it, they liked me as much as I liked them. I’ll be starting as a transportation data scientist with High Street in May.
Once again, 2016 was book-ended by soul-searching and snow-playing with friends in the Montana backcountry.
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind tour of PA, WY, CO, AZ, MT, CO, VA and DC. I’m currently packing my bags in preparation for departing to France for ten weeks of furiously skiing uphill wearing spandex.
I’ve included here only a thin sliver of the friends and experiences that enriched my life in 2016. I’m grateful for the privilege of grad school and all my friends and peers who I made and miss already.