Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A year past, and a year ahead

Well, this has been a really special year, hasn't it? I'd just like to make a quick post looking back over all I have to be thankful for, and then maybe take a quick glance ahead into 2015 and beyond.

Welp, this year was great. Not perfect, but no year is. The summer was especially amazing. I got to spend it up in Wheaton IL helping an elderly man manage his absolutely massive book store (think movie style old libraries with a huge creepy warehouse in the back and endless rows of leather-bound tomes). The man I was helping is a dear friend of my father's and a wonderful Christian, so just getting to be around him for nearly two months was a dream come true.

Then of course came How To Train Your Dragon 2, and I was up in Wheaton when it came out. One of my best friends had come up to stay with me, and we went to see the movie at a pre-showing. Man, that blew me away. I left that theater in utter shock. I had expected to be excited when I left, or I had excited to be really bummed and disappointed. I was neither. I was just in complete shock but at the same time utterly satisfied. I didn't know how to emotionally process what I had just seen, but I knew that the story had been incredible. It had been daring and dealt with great themes. It had delved deeper into Hiccup and Toothless's friendship and really played well off of the first movie. I was in no way disappointed with the film. Not at all, and after waiting four years that truly surprised me.

Haha, but I was traumatized! I got back home from the showing at about eleven (and by home I mean the flat that me and my friend were sharing). He went to bed after about thirty minutes of conversation with me. I tried to sleep, but I was too spooked to do so. I couldn't believe that Toothless had actually done what he did in a canon story. He had been sort of an imaginary safety blanket for me, and now that was stripped away and I was honestly creeped out by him. I sat up for three hours just shuddering on the couch with the lights on. I don't know what being traumatized feels like, but that is the closest I've ever been to it! I came to call the phenomenon "Toothless Jeebies". It is just that after four years Toothless as a character had always been so close to my heart emotionally, and I had affiliated with and loved Hiccup so much. To see all that happen took more than just an hour to process. I would spend the entire rest of the day trying not to cry. Oh, and that scene with Toothless totally cured my Skrillophobia.

But, even after all that I loved the second film. I was also extremely lucky and honored to get to meet Justoffravenpoint (she has a tumblr account where we had met online. She goes by Rima online). So, her parents actually drove her to meet me and we went to watch HTTYD2 together. This would be her first time seeing it. It was an unbelievably fun time, and I couldn't believe how neat it was to be meeting an online friend (she had read all my Dsplash Chronicles as well as Inhonoredglory's web novel and all the HTTYD book series... so add that to HTTYD2 and we had PLENTY to talk about!). I was so sad to see her go, and it felt awful to say good bye. Thankfully I got to visit her again! And yep, we watched HTTYD2 again. That was probably one of the highest highlights of my already highlight filled summer. I look back really fondly on those visits... though I must confess that the first thing I said to her after the movie ended was, "Are you traumatized now?" I suppose she was... as her later communications with me were just about as grief filled as mine were. I actually would really like to meet her again, and she sent me a very nice Christmas gift.

After summer things got rather less awesome. I went back to school, and though I made good grades it was a very stressful and difficult semester. If any of you have come to my blog since the end of summer, you really missed its "Golden Age". There was a time when I had time to post once a day, but not any more! Still, I try to keep active, and I really do appreciate all of your comments! One awesome thing about this last semester was that the friend who had come with me to Wheaton also came to my college, so we had dorm rooms right next to each other and would spend many late nights "studying" together (mostly him making coffee and me rambling about upcoming Dsplash plots). That was fun. And, as usual, I tried to keep in contact with a few of my HTTYD friends from the days I used to run a Tumblr blog. They were really fantastic as usual, and I am really honored to be friends with them. They don't comment here much because they usually just mail me directly and they often get to see my projects before I wind up posting them.

Oh, and I turned twenty this year :) That meant I was Hiccup's age (AGAIN), and that actually meant a lot to me. Really fun to be able to relate to such a great character. I'd like to be like him in a lot of ways.

Well, during this year I also (for the first time actually) played through an entire Legend of Zelda game! I really fell in love with the plot, and it felt neat to fan over more than one thing. My little brother is a HUGE LoZ fan, so he helped me into it. He even got me a Hylian Crest Tee shirt for Christmas (and I got him an HTTYD one). Yeah, Midna made me fan over Twilight Princess. What can I say, I love buddy stories and she was a really well designed character (who reminded me slightly of Toothless!).

And I was given AWESOME bday and Christmas gifts (Gah, and I'm gonna try and post the Christmas gift Inhonoredglory and Toothlesslove made for me because it is utterly amazing). So thanks so very much to everyone in the HTTYD fandom for thinking of me. I really don't deserve for you all to be showing me such kindness and paying any attention to this blog, so I want to through out a heart felt thank you to all of you who read this blog for helping make my year a great one.

This year hasn't been easy spiritually. I've really had to struggle with some things (including a tendency to pride in my academic accomplishments), but I do feel that the Lord has grown me, and I actually really look forward to seeing what He has in store for me this next year. He has given me such a good life with so many opportunities, I do want to use them for Him.

I want 2015 to be every bit as great as 2014 was, but I also want to grow in it. I still have so much to learn and so much to strive for. It may not be a big year for HTTYD, but that doesn't mean it can't be a year in which I continue to enjoy the movie, the friendships I've made because of it, and most importantly to grow closer in my walk with the Lord. I want to wish you all a happy and Dragonific new year. I want to say a very special thank you to Toothlesslove, Inhonoredglory, and Justoffraven point for keeping in such constant contact with me this year and for being such understanding and wonderful friends. You guys were such a help and a joy this year.

So, wishing everyone who reads this an extraordinarily happy New Years! Be safe, avoid Skrill (and Red Rage Night Furies!), don't drink the Yaknog, pick out eels, and always keep your Toothlesses beside you!

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