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From Michele Bachmann to Kansas sports… Wait, what? The tie that binds

December 30, 2012

They aren’t necessarily the best, but they definitely aren’t bad. They aren’t all unique, but they aren’t boring. Big or small, significant or trivial, they are the moments that help define my reflection of 2012. This is Allison Hammond’s year in review.

Hanging out with Michele Bachmann in December 2011

Bonding with Michele Bachmann in December 2011

Late night in the fog… of politics: the Iowa caucus proved single votes can make a difference (well, in state elections) as the election continued into the late hours of the morning and political nerds everywhere waited to see who would win the Republican caucus. Of course, those late-night hours proved that sometimes it is better to just go to sleep rather than count votes because the initial result of this election (declaring Mitt Romney the winner) was later overturned, giving Rick Santorum a slight victory. And the next day the one, the only, Michele Bachmann took her hat out of the ring, guaranteeing that the Republican nominee would again be a man.

Beware of the Phog: February’s final border showdown against the Missouri Tigers was the epitome of heart-stopping excitement. With the Jayhawks down at the half, some began to fear the worst. But, after Coach Bill Self almost surely put the fear of God in every single player during halftime, the Jayhawks returned with a vengeance and won this one in overtime. I don’t know how another basketball victory in Allen Fieldhouse during my time at KU will ever stack up against this one.

Watching the men's basketball championship in Allen Fieldhouse

Watching the men’s basketball championship in Allen Fieldhouse (on the screen)

NCAA tournament(s) in Allen Fieldhouse: in April, I watched my Jayhawks fall in the men’s basketball championship game; I was in Allen Fieldhouse, they were in New Orleans, but it was just as memorable. Especially the heat. In December, I sat front row as the Jayhawk volleyball team took down its opponent in round one of the NCAA tournament in Allen Fieldhouse (both of us, this time) and then drop the second round. As a die-hard Jayhawk volleyball fan, I watched the team struggle last year and defeat the predictions this year, as record after record was broken. The fall semester for me was filled with attendance at home volleyball matches (and the K-State away match where the Jayhawks came from behind with the win) and some Saturday and Wednesday nights screaming at my computer while listening to away matches online. I can only hope to sit in the exact same spot in Allen Fieldhouse next December (and April, for that matter).

Residence Hall Life, take one: the first half of 2012 places me on the sixth floor of Ellsworth with people who would become close friends. There was the usual TV show watching, junk food gorging and event attending, but one night close to the end of the semester highlights what it really meant to be a college freshman: the night of the E6 Olympics. Of course, only three of us were actual participants in the games, which included airplane throwing, dancing, hand-stands and arm wrestling, among other things. But for the three of us and the others who helped judge and run the show, it was a pretty epic night. In the final event, we had to break out of chairs to which we were duct-taped. I failed miserably, but it was awesome.

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah the traditional Jewish way

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah the traditional Jewish way

Residence Hall Life, take two: the second half of 2012 places me in Templin, where I have great suitemates and do lots of homework. Some highlights of this res hall include the time I had to shower in the dark, light saber battles outside the window, a guy blasting Star Wars music from his car and a kid playing catch with a cigarette in his glove. Oh, the memories. And, of course, I can’t forget the time my roommate almost caught our room on fire, or when my suitemates helped me ring in the Jewish New Year on Rosh Hashanah. Our room also witnessed the dozens of items taken from Mrs. E’s this year, including an entire chocolate cake.

Presidential election vote, check?: 2012 marked the first presidential election in which I could cast a ballot. My absentee ballot was mailed to me, no problem. I filled it out as my roommate documented the occasion in photos, no problem. We went downstairs to place it in the mailbox… problem? Well, I forgot to put a stamp on the envelope. So… I’m not entirely sure if Johnson County counted my vote or not, but we’re going with yes.

She responded! And she did! And so did she!: because of Twitter, I had digital interactions with three of my journalism role models this year. Campbell Brown, my first role model, now knows she was my role model. Michelle Kosinski told me Italy misses me too. And I made Ann Curry cry with my ceremonial speech.

Martin Luther King, Jr. MemorialRunning through 100 years of history: when my family went to Virginia this summer, we stopped by Washington, D.C. on our way to visit family. We were running late, so my brother and I quickly stepped out of the car (once it was finally parked) and speed walked to the FDR memorial, where we had a nice look at the Washington Monument before taking off running to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. We paused, took a photo and ran to pay Lincoln a visit, before returning to the car and seeing family we hadn’t seen since 2009.

The most tan I’ve ever been: a month in Italy sent me back to the U.S. wiser, savvier and, yes, tanner! Ladies and gentlemen, I had a wristwatch tan line. But no, that wasn’t the most memorable part of July 2012. Was it when my roommate cut her thumb in Rome and almost went to the hospital? Was it when a friend fell between the train and platform in Pisa? Was it when we had no idea where we were heading in Venice? Was it when a ticket-validator almost sent two people (strangers) to jail on my first bus ride in Florence? Was it the clear blue water of Cinque Terre? Was it checking the Emmy nominations during a group meeting? Was it the overnight at the Rome airport? Was it the mosquitos, gelato, lasagna, crostata or olive oil? No on all counts. I can’t pick just one moment, but if you’ve read any of my Italia posts, you’ll know how much this trip meant to me.

And that’s all, folks. Thanks for reading “Between the commas” in 2012. When I started it last January, I never imagined I would end up posting so often. Actually, there were many things that happened in 2012 that I never imagined would happen last January. But, they did, and for that, I am grateful. Look for more in 2013. Unless something else happens these next two days…

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