What a whirlwind of a year 2017 has been. I started the year in the middle of the ocean, ringing in 2017 with my ship family and a lack of fireworks (because the most dangerous event that can happen onboard is firrrrre). I quit my ship life and moved back home. I got rehired at my old job. I traveled to five different countries. I checked several things off of my bucket list. I fell in love. 2017 has been absolutely incredible.
As I mentioned, I rang in the new year on the Carnival Elation. There was a huge party onboard for both guests and crew. I met a few friends in crew bar for a couple drinks then I went to watch the countdown to 2017 and the balloon drop. They had a little shindig for officers and staff on deck 11, champagne included, so of course I was there. It was honestly the perfect way to start off what turned out to be an amazing year.
A few days into the new year, I said good-bye to one of the most wonderful people I met in Camp Carnival, Nono, and hello to the person who would end up being my ship bestie, Dann!
I spent a lot of time at the beach, particularly at Junkanoo beach. I had a girls days with some beauties and had a random adventure day with a few people from the ship where we went paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkeling.
I also went to Key West for the first time in my life and had some fun adventures.
My February started with a break-up. I’ll just leave it at that.
This month, Dann for real became my adventure buddy. We got off the ship together as often as we could, including going to the Bahamian Brewery which has apparently became a thing for us now, visiting breweries.
I got to celebrate one of my favorite holidays on ship – Mardi Gras. Camp hosted a party in crew bar, and I bought a sparkly dress just for the occasion. Valentine’s Day was also fun. Most of the entertainment wore black because of that single life.
The weather at sea was pretty crazy this month, so we experienced a few detours, but it led us to another day in Key West, albeit a wet one.
On March 2nd, we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which was an absolute blast. We had a balloon drop, story-telling and some colorful and delicious food. Some kids came onto the ship to celebrate with us for a few hours, and I got to paint some of their faces. They were absolute sweethearts and even started requesting my face painting by name.
There were so many hellos and good-byes while working on the Elation, and this month, I said good-bye to my first roommate, Lauren. She got transferred to another ship to take over a teen club position. I also said bye to my friend, Cassie aka the only person on the ship who loved Harry Potter as much as me. We went on a dinner date in the dining room and had a drink in crew bar.
My Mardi Gras was equivalent to Dann’s St. Patrick’s Day. Camp hosted the St. Patrick’s Day party in crew bar, and it looked like green threw up in there. Dann had to buy me a shirt for the occasion because I didn’t own anything green apart from our Camp uniform.
The Dannffany adventures continued in March with many trips to the beach, including to Taino Beach, my favorite beach in Freeport, many window shopping dates at Port Lucaya and Panera breakfast in Jacksonville.
I was supposed to sign off the ship in April, but they asked me to extend after my roommate, Sarah, left unexpectedly, and I happily accepted. During my extended month on the ship, I did everything that I originally wanted to do while working on the ship but hadn’t, like going horseback riding on the beach and snorkeling with stingrays.
In April, the ship had a USPH inspection, the second since I had joined the Elation team. We passed with a 100, so they threw us a huge party called “The Big Event,” and it was so much fun. They had specialty cocktails, a dance floor and of course a couple areas for us to take photos with our favorite photogs.
I also met my Floridian twin this month. She was a vessel transfer and stayed with me for a few cruises before signing off. Paige is one of the craziest and most fun people I met during my contract. I was happy to share my space with her (I had gone two cruises living by myself and it was glorious). Paige, Dann and I went on a Bahamian adventure to Atlantis, and it was one of my favorite days of working on the ship. We went on all of the slides multiple slides, and Paige went on one of the kiddie slides and got in trouble for it. Whoops!
This month we had a uniform swap party where you wear a uniform of someone from a different department. Paige scored some whites for both of us and we went as engineer officers. We went a little crazy with our uniforms and added some Camp Carnival flair with stickers and rubber medals.
I started May with many good-byes. So many of my friends left the cruise before my last, so there were quite a few fun nights in crew bar.
I had an amazing last cruise and did the thing I most wanted to do while on the ship – swim with dolphins. I was going to go by myself, but my friend, Sharene, surprised me and came with.
My last night on the Carnival Elation was an absolute blast. I went to crew bar, drank a lot, played some games and felt so much love. People gave me gifts, I gave out lots of hugs, and I honestly felt like I just wasn’t ready to leave! It was a bittersweet feeling to be going home.
My first couple of weeks back on land were so fast-paced. That first weekend, I went on a roadtrip with my family to Oklahoma for my cousin’s wedding. It was also Mother’s Day weekend, so the next day, we had a BBQ before heading back to Louisiana.
The next weekend, I went on another roadtrip to Gulf Shores, Alabama for Hangout Music Fest, which of course was amazingly incredible. I love music festivals, as I’ve mentioned so many times before, and this one was extra fun because I was also getting to reunite with my friends that I hadn’t seen for several months.
In June, I went on a loooong road trip to visit some friends and family. My first stop was to see my blog friend, Nina, in Tennessee. We went on so many adventures, including going to three states in one day, and I got to meet a few of her friends.
I also went to Charleston, South Carolina to visit my family. I spent a lot of time with my dad, had lunch with my grandma, spent the night with my step-mom and step-sister and got to meet my first nephew, Cooper, who is an absolute doll.
On my way back to Louisiana, I made a stop in Jacksonville, Florida to spend the day with some of my friends that were still working on the Carnival Elation. We went on so many adventures, including going to the beach, and when I met up with Dann later, we took another brewery tour.
My last stop before going home was in south Louisiana. I visited my friend, Haley, who used to work with me before she transferred to LSU. I also reunited with Nono who worked with me on the Elation and was currently working on a different ship that docked in New Orleans. We had so much fun walking around the French Quarter and catching up.
Toward the end of the month, my sister turned 21, so I had a blast taking her out on the town.
Independence Day was the only holiday I was supposed to spend at home this year, so I made sure I had plans to celebrate. I went to the race track and went to my first horse race, and for this particular day, it also included ostrich and camel races. That night, we went to a friend’s house for a BBQ and some yard games. Low-key good at cornhole. Just kidding. I’m awful.
On the last day before I left for my second contract with Carnival, I helped my friends throw a big party to celebrate their promotions. We had a pool party at a local casino then we went home, got gussied up and went to a different casino for some dancing. What. A. Night.
The next day, I had a last brunch with my friends then I flew to NYC to start my contract on the Carnival Sunshine. Long story short, I hated it, but I did make a few friends, eat some good food and explored some beautiful ports.
I only spent a month on the Carnival Sunshine before going home. On my last cruise, I visited the most beautiful beach I had ever been to, the Pink Sand Beach in Bermuda.
When I got home, I had a couple of weeks of free time before I started back at my old job. I took advantage by spending time with friends and sleeping in almost every day.
My friend Katherine came to town, and we were reunited after almost a year. This was the first time in ten years that we all had significant others at the same time, so we took advantage by going on a quadruple date, which also came with the news that Katherine was engaged. She’ll be the second in TASK to get married.
One of my college roommates came to town for a wedding, and we went wine tasting and bowling and I got to introduce her to my boyfriend.
My boyfriend was gone for almost the entirety of September for a work trip, but before he left we went on our first road trip together to Baton Rouge during Labor Day weekend. Neither of us had ever really explored the city before, so it was nice to be able to experience it for the first time together. Also, we didn’t want to strangle each other, so I think that’s a sign of a successful first road trip.
I leaned on my friends a lot during this month while my boyfriend was away. It was nice because I hadn’t spent quality time with them since working on the ship, so it was almost like rekindling friendships. I also made a few new friends this month and started getting back into the swing of things at my old job.
In September, I said good-bye to my friend, Alyssa, who I can actually thank for the friend group I have now. She introduced me to so many people at a party at the end of 2015, and we even lived together for a few months before I went to work with Carnival. I was so sad to see her go, but I know that our paths will cross again. We’re still besties on Snapchat.
At the end of September, my friend, Rachael, and I took a road trip to New Orleans and had the best weekend. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the US.
At the beginning of October, a few friends and I went to my favorite Shreveport festival, the Red River Revel. I got to introduce a few of them for the first time, and honestly, that’s one of my favorite things – introducing people to others who I know they’ll get along with. After the Revel, we went to my favorite local brewery, Red River Brewing.
My boyfriend came back after his month away, just in time to celebrate his birthday. I threw him a Halloween-themed party at his house, which was so fun, and we dressed up as beer and pong.
Speaking of Halloween, we celebrated it a lot this month. My boyfriend and I had so many couples costumes, including BoJack Horseman and Princess Carolyn and Shaggy and Scooby. We even helped throw a Halloween party at our favorite local restaurant, The Levee.
We also went to the haunted corn maze where my boyfriend learned a lot about me. I seriously jumped into his arms Scooby-Doo style, more than once. To get even more into the Halloween spirit, a group of us went to a local haunted house. It wasn’t nearly as scary, but I did get quite a few screams in.
In November, my boyfriend and I took another road trip to Denton, Texas, right outside of Dallas. One of his friends was getting married, and it would be a mini reunion for him and his friends. This was my first time meeting all of them, so I was nervous, but I love weddings, and it turned out to be a great night with some delicious food.
My boyfriend spent Thanksgiving dinner with my family and me. It wouldn’t be the first time he met any of them, but it would be the first meal he had with all four of us together. I love Thanksgiving so much and ate way too much food with no ragrets. That night, two of our friend were having a Friendsgiving. We got there just in time for game night.
The day after Thanksgiving, we took road trip #3 to Houston, Texas to visit a couple non-mutual friends. I was excited to meet more people from his life and introduce him to an important person in mine. It ended up being a fun, spontaneous trip.
I also started volunteering with the Shreveport Bossier Rescue Mission this month, and it’s been such an incredible experience.
December is always one of my favorite months of the year, and I feel like I’ve done so much Christmas this month, which makes me happy. When my boyfriend got back from another work trip, I picked him up from the airport and we went on a double-date roadtrip to Natchitoches, Louisiana to see the Christmas lights. We did car-aoke on the way there and got to see the lights from our friend, Sarah’s, barge, complete with hot cocoa and the sweetest puppy.
I also celebrated my 28th birthday this month with an ugly Christmas sweater party. A lot of karaoke was sang, games were played, cookies were decorated (and eaten) and it was overall a really fun time.
For Christmas, I flew to Michigan to meet my boyfriend’s entire family. I was so nervous, but of course his family was wonderful. I’ll be sure to share more about my trip later.
What were some of the highlights of your 2017?
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