2021: A Year of Great Change

A little addendum since I can’t tell a full story on cards. You know the meme with the football player saying, “Not gonna lie, the first half had me.” The first half of 2021 was like the last three quarters of 2020: not much going on, everything was still virtual, the few outings I had were limited to a certain number of people and I had to be masked. I was also spending a lot of time alone and even got involved in a scavenger story hunt. I wrote for it, but I think the creator got overwhelmed because the creator deleted the Instagram. I don’t think my story was posted.

I was promoted to analyst at RTI, and it was a rough transition, especially since we were still remote. I’m not an analyst and I looked for a new job, which I found in mid-July.

My last day at RTI was 13 August. I took a trip to Brighton Beach/New York City, where I spent time at the beach, learned Russian, went to comedy shows, the Stonewall Inn for a drag show, and got inked in China Town. Logan, the one I had a summer crush on, drew the Star Compass design for me. While it didn’t work out, the tattoo tells a story, an important one. It tells how Logan helped me come out of my shell a bit, post trauma, and opened my heart. It led me to something beautiful that happened in November and is my current story, which you will read about later in this letter.

I stayed with a kind Russian family and there was another guest visiting from Russia. She was on holiday in America and heard that Brighton Beach is a home away from home. Her name was Eva and on my last morning in Brighton Beach, we spent chatting for a few hours, with Natalyia (our host) chiming in. Eva agreed to a selfie with me, which I added to my Happiness Box Project. I can’t wait to go back. I look tired in this selfie because the shoulder tattoo was a swollen and it wasn’t a restful sleep.

 I’m glad I had two weeks of down-time before I started my new adventure.

I started my role with the Montgomery County DA’s Office on 30 August 2021 and at the end of November, I celebrated three months as a legal secretary, paralegal in training. I really love my job, even though some days are challenging than others since I am still learning. I love the people I work with, and I like how the County feels like family. In October, we had a Halloween party, and it was a blast. I’m in the right job now and it just feels good.

On the day after my three-month probation period ended, the County held a Menorah, Christmas Tree, and Kinara (Kwanzaa) lighting ceremony. It was enjoyable and after, I had the chance to meet the Commissioners. They let me get in a few photos with them and they welcomed me to the County family. It was so beautiful!

The DA and his Chief of Staff are really pleased with how well I am doing. The DA called me at the beginning of December and asked how things were going, I told him they were going well and he was happy to hear that. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a forensic investigator. My dream has been realized to an extent, a paralegal in training is a cross between a writer, which is my forte, and investigator.

I went on my first date in 9 years on 6 November with a guy named Tom. It was an arcade and skate date. Tom noticed my skates didn’t have the right bearings; we went to Zumiez and I let him change my skates. Much better! After the arcade, we enjoyed our time together that I canceled plans I had with someone else and went nine hours together. Tom taught me how to skateboard, we had a pizza dinner at the Angelo Pizza, and walked around Philadelphia. I felt comfortable with him, and we planned date #2.

It was cute how he asked me to be his girlfriend. We were walking through DSW and he pointed out a pair of Tom’s sneakers. I said, “I used to own a pair. They are very comfortable.” He replied, “You have your very own Tom now. What do you say? Be my girlfriend?” I’m still blushing. It’ll be two months on 11 January 2022 and we’re happy.

I’ve been teaching him how to ice skate, we’ve been walking around Philadelphia and Clifton Heights and in the coming months, I’ll introduce him to the skate park in King of Prussia. I feel comfortable and safe with him; he makes me laugh, I make him laugh and I make him feel at ease too. He feels just as comfortable.

Here we are at Pain’s Park in Philadelphia, PA. I’m so used to roller skating in a rink with a flat surface. I’m slowly getting used to skate parks. We’re planning on meeting up with some of his friends and having an evening skate session complete with a picnic.

On our third date, we had pizza in one of the parks in Philadelphia. We couldn’t eat inside, and it felt lovely eating pizza with him in the darkness on a Saturday evening. With the time change, 6 pm felt like midnight. It’s an experience I can’t forget and wrote about for my Happiness Box Project.

Tom has truly been a blessing.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022!

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “2021: A Year of Great Change”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Now I’m all verklempt, dear friend! I was with you every step of the way throughout this past year and remember these people, places, events and activities you enjoyed month by month, including your new Russian friend Eva whom you met on this year’s trip to Brighton Beach. You’re right. 2021 was a year with a “split personality.” Like the decade of the 1960s which began as a continuation of the sleepy, placid Eisenhower 50s and changed radically and permanently when the Beatles exploded in 1964, 2021 was a year that seemed like two different years. It started out as more of the same from 2020 but, in the second half of the year, things really started to break your way. You have a new job that you love. Not many people can honestly say that. Best of all, you and Tom found each other and became “Tomessica.” All evidence shows that Tommy is attentive, caring, affectionate and romantic. He truly is a blessing and I am very happy for both of you.

    May 2022 bring a continuation of the great things that happened in the second half of ’21. Happy new year to you and your family, dear friend JM!


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