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  • Kennedy Jones

A Year-in-Review


Well, I said it at the beginning of the last post and for once in my life, I didn't say an idea and then immediately forget it. So, I wanted to do a little look back on 2021 (hence the snippet of my '21 vision board above). Kind of month-by-month highs and lows style. I've picked out 3-5 pictures from each month and figured we'd just walk through the year and maybe round it out at the end with a few things I've learned and goals for the next trip around the sun. This might be the most self-indulgent post I've ever written, but I know I'm gonna appreciate the ability to look back at this one day. And don't worry, I've included plenty of humbling pictures as well ;)


1

January brought the start of the session at the Idaho State House of Representatives where I worked as an attache. This job was a whirlwind and a dream, it feels like such a huge part of me now I can't believe it was only last year that it started. Little did I know I was in for the longest session on Idaho record, lifelong friends, and a whole lot of learning and growing.



First day fit at the Idaho House of Representatives


We celebrated my moms birthday in Downtown Boise, it's always an adventure with that crew.


And I took one of my favorite photos of the year. This cake was left with no context, it was in fact both ugly and delicious. My coworkers and I laughed about this for about 30 minutes, it took a great amount of restraint to not tape this sign to someone's back. Rember when I said the House job brought learning and growing? That hadn't quite taken hold yet.


2

February meant settling in at the House and gaining a bit of confidence. I go to be a bridesmaid for the first time (finally, I've been asked TWICE before, but never been able to attend)! I kept learning about myself, continuing to work full-time and live on my own, and possibly most importantly, though I never could have known at the time, I took the first step to one of the biggest, scariest, best things I have ever done in my life.

Look at my beautiful best friend as a bride. (Also, Cheers to my dress that was the perfect color and cost me $12 second -hand, I'm a rockstar)


I continued to carve out my fashion game by working in a full professional setting for the first time. Maybe this isn't the best example cause it's a black top with white pants, but trust me! I looked cute and I loved getting dressed up for work every day.


My CBYX/PPP Interview was in February. It was over 3 hours long and was one of the toughest interviews I've ever done... I wanted it so bad. I remember I had to be late to work because of it and I was SO NERVOUS. But, hey, I'm writing this review from Germany so I guess I did something right. Writing that just made me tear up.... Ew.


I watched Call Me by Your Name for the first time in February 2021. I loved it. I hadn't necessarily been avoiding it, but it just never felt quite right to watch it before this moment. I like to think I have a superpower of knowing exactly when a movie will have the most impact on my life and waiting until then to watch it. I nailed with this one, it changed the way I wanted to be in the world, the way I wanted to communicate with the people around me. I've watched it again since. It's still special, but that shit was magic the first time around, I want to tell stories that make people feel like that.


3

March was month 3 at the House. Still loved it, still dressing amazingly (if I do say so myself) and having even more fun to avoid the stress of it all. I think I will always look back on this job with such good memories, for whatever reason I felt like I came alive in that building. Sometimes, a moment away from the art world (in which I have spent my whole life) makes me appreciate all it has taught me so much more. If all I did in this job was bring some color and light to the white marble halls of the capitol, I take huge pride in that, I do also think I did more, I am a Virgo after all, the stars basically designated me to be the perfect assistant/secretary. And of course, on the very last day of March 2 minutes after 5, I got the good GOOD news, Germany was a go!


This is one of my fav outfits of the whole session. I thrifted this shirt, skirt, and belt and the shoes are from Ross. She may look expensive but she is a cheap gal, and if that's not trying to be a professional in your 20s I don't know what is.


First trip outside the dome of the session. God I love Boise.


Saint Patty's day with the crew in Green. I can't believe these people were strangers in January. I love them!


Mom came to visit one weekend in March. We had an excellent time. Getting to play tour guide, specifically for the downtown bar scene, was a treat. I loved this day, and I love this bar, but I said I would be honest and humbling and I gotta level with you guys that was the worst drink I have ever ordered in public. It had Tequila (usually my favorite), walnut bitters, basil, egg whites, and other stuff but honestly, that's already TOO MUCH. This was a good lesson, stick to what you know, and when you do decide to branch out, do it when your mom is paying so you don't personally feel the money go down the drain when you're unable to choke it all down. :)


And this two-part photo moment is dedicated to the members of the Blick family who have absolutely never let me down when I'm in need of a drink. I had the 31st off. I remember trying to keep busy all day to not look at my phone. I remember getting in my car and going to Nordstrom Rack around 3. It was too late in the day, I had received no email. I know what this meant, I didn't get in. Then I left the store, and in the parking lot checked my phone and my acceptance letter was there. I cried, I called my mom, and I just really wanted to go celebrate. But my aunt was out of town, my brother was working, my co-workers were covid quarantining. But I knew Henley worked downtown and maybe I could catch her before she went home. Such a small thing, but she celebrated with me in a moment that I just really wanted to share with someone! She bought my beer that day, I told her I owe her one next time, but in my heart, I feel like I owe her 1,000 beers. I should tell her that, I should tell more people when I appreciate them, anyway!


4

April was a mix of some time at home, and continuing in the House. This was maybe when the learning and growing started to take hold. I made mistakes at work, I thought it would die over them, SPOILER ALERT I didn't. (V important lesson for us Virgos to learn). I felt like I got to be a bit more of an adult, ya know like watered plants, scheduled my own appointments a few times, read good books that changed the way a think about the world. Nothing crazy and life-altering happened in April I don't think, but those quiet months of steady growth are kind of beautiful and oh so necessary every once and a while.

A nice Falls walk during a week at home. I really love this place. I have lived a few places now where outstandingly beautiful things begin to feel normal to me (the acropolis in Athens and the castle here in Heidelberg) This feels criminal to take these things for granted, but when you see them every day you forget to remind yourself how lucky you are to be around them. I think my largest offense of this to date is Shoshone Falls, but hey, I'm trying to get better. Being grateful in every moment for everything, big and small, momentous or mundane.


This picture makes me lol. This was the day of the aforementioned mistake, it was literally nothing in hindsight. But the perfectionist in me lost my mind. My co-workers and I got drinks after work, we laughed it off, I had a beautiful moment of peace with this statue that I really love. It's one of my fondest memories of the entire session which is HILARIOUS considering that at the moment I wanted to bury myself in a hole. Life is crazy but our brains are crazier, find people who help you quiet the voices.


Part of the same post-mental breakdown, post- champagne and cinnamon rolls photoshoot. Can you tell I was having a weird day?


I took on a new role as a mother to these two plants in April. I love them so much I watered them and moved them so they had the perfect amount of sun, obviously they have cute matching pots. I had to leave them behind when I moved to Europe, I have a sinking feeling they have died in my absence. Mom, if you are reading this and they are dead, please do not tell me, I will learn when I return home, just know that I forgive you, but this does not bode well for your future of babysitting your grandkids.


April was also the month I began what is now quite possibly my favorite book I've ever read. This book is a part of how I think about the world around me every day now. Give it a read if you've got some time.


5

May brought the end of the legislative session. It was an absolutely bittersweet goodbye. I truly love the people I met and worked with there, but I knew I had new adventures ahead! I got to return home and spend some time with my crew as I started to prep to come to Germany. In the last week of May, Mom and I took a huge trip to Alabama. I have spent two summers working there in the past and have friends there I call family, getting to introduce her to all of them was just a huge joy. Life is cool man!


Okay, a touch out of order with the photos here but oh well. Here is another picture of the falls. Seriously, I live there! How cool!


Last day of life in the House Offices. I really didn't want to forget a moment of this experience. Including, apparently, what the sign looked like. :)


Truly humbling picture number one. I read some more good books in May, clearly, this one struck a chord. I believe it is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I cant look at this too long, or I will remember what happens and be ugly crying all over again. I also highly recommend this one... its worth the pain I promise.


First night in Alabama, mom got some rest while I got to go catch up with some friends from Greece. Sometimes I think that if absolutely nothing came out of my first study abroad (and many things did) it still would have been worth it just to meet these two. They were one of my biggest confirmations from the universe that my people are out there, I just have to find them.


Again, out of order picture of the dogs, but LOOK HOW SWEET MY GIRLS ARE!?


I think one of mom's favorite parts of the trip was getting to see Fiddler's Green. If you are looking for a wedding venue, start here, and If you know someone who is looking for a wife who already has her wedding venue picked out... hello, nice to meet you.


A fav pic of me and Sharhonda in front of Green's store. Once again, your people are out there, they just might live in a REALLY small town, you gotta go looking for 'em.


Mom went kayaking for the first time in ...... well idk how long exactly, but I think it was a really long time. But she nailed it!


Got to take mom to Green's Store. This place literally blew my mind the first time I visited, sometimes the world is beautiful because of castles in the alps and sometimes the world is beautiful because of dusty cans of Surge Soda next to a shelf full of spare tires. I'm so lucky to know both kinds of beauty.


6

June was another month of adventure in the 2T. Time with family and friends, all the while knowing time was ticking before I would leave for a full year. Toward the end of the month, mom and I took another trip this time down to Vegas and continuing into Cedar City. What can I say, we love a girls trip!?


This is the absolute best photo of Shilo and I have ever taken. No one can change my mind on that, and it was taken in June of 21.


This is the one photo I have chosen from our vegas trip. Mom will love that, lol. I love this photo, I had such a great time on this trip. I don't ever need to go to Vegas again, but we had a great time. lol


Shoshone Falls Appreciate Installment #3

Mia Scholes appreciation Installment #5,000,000


We attended a family wedding in June and were rewarded with the most iconic selfie ever taken, why this was not our family Christmas card, I'll never understand. Kevin is a wizard with the Camera.


Jazz on the Canyon with my gals. Sometimes there is a sadness that only dancing with your friends from kindergarten can cure.


June also brought the completion of my biggest DIY project to date! I flipped this black bookshelf, which took weeks of work, and then immediately filled it with books so you couldn't see any of it. I LOVE THE WAY my brain works!


7

July was my last month stateside before the big European adventure take 2. I started the month continuing from Vegas to Cedar City and getting to visit friends I haven't seen since college abruptly ended due to covid in march of 2020. Being back in Cedar was a bit surreal. That town shaped so much of who I am. I'm so grateful for every moment I spent at SUU. I'm glad to be out, to be experiencing the world now, but honestly wouldn't trade a moment of it. What a lovely thing to be reassured of as I got ready to leave the country, how to appreciate something and be away from it all at once.


Big, BIG smiles back with my girl.


Sweaty post-show selfies are the best kind of selfies


A cedar breaks adventure for the GODS.


And mom got to take the graduation pics I never got to take. I've never been a fan of endings, too sad for my taste. But having no end to my college experience was challenging in a whole new way. I don't quite know what to make of that yet, maybe to let myself be as sappy as I want when it comes to ending and goodbyes, its beautiful to care so much. I'm so so proud of the work I did at SUU. I'm gonna frame this picture in my house one day.


Crying photo number... 2? 3? I lost track. Hello from one of the saddest days of my life. The day I boarded a plane to leave for a year. I was so excited, we all were, but damn, y'all ever had to walk away from your family for that long? Shit's not fun my dudes, NOT FUN.


8

August...Salt air, and the rust on your door. Sorry I had to do one! okay, It's the only one, I promise.... maybe. August meant Germany. New Country, new house, new friends, new family, NEW ADVENTURE. It was so fun! Life was exciting the sky was blue, the weather was warm, the year felt endless before me. good, GOOD stuff. I had some amazing memories in August. Language school 8 hours a day, my first time ever having 8 siblings! And August closed with what is simply a birthday I will never EVER forget. I hope I never forget 1 moment of August 2021, it was a good one.


The first view of the home I know lovingly call 'Linsler Proper'. Little did I know how much was waiting for me in this house. We make jokes now all the time, that should I die while in Germany I want to be cremated and sprinkled here. Too much? okay. Fine.


Our little Saarbrucken language crew. you know that tik tok trend where people say tiny things that changed their whole life, I feel like me getting placed in Saarbrucken and not one of the other 2 cities was one of those moments for me. my whole year would have been different without this place and I am so grateful!


Every member of the Linsler family has so much space in my heart, but Jules was the first one to truly feel like a sister. This is one of my favorite pictures of us. When I think about how much I love this family, it is impossible to think that I only met them in August, simply IMPOSSIBLE.


My 23rd birthday is a day that I will never forget. This family and my friends did just so much to make me feel so special. If you want the rundown of the full day, go read my post about it, but just truly know that this is like top 5 days of my life, easy.


Look at my FACE and tell me that's not the happiest girl you've ever seen!? Tell me!


9

September brought settled Saarbrucken Shenanigans. Now that we had our bearings a bit more we were able to explore. September was the first time I was ever in Paris (outside of the airport) it also was the first big transition here in Germany as we had to say goodbye to Sophie, Caleb, and the kids when they came back to the states, it meant finishing language school, and I packed up and moved to Heidelberg. More adventure was waiting.


A random day at Staden, but gosh this picture makes me smile.


September nights in Stockweiher is something I will also never forget. A fancy cocktail and a little Udo Lindenberg sing along and I'm happy. This place is paradise.


Paris, Paris, Paris. Again I have a whole separate post on this, but this trip was amazing. I loved Paris, I can't wait to go back. Just look at my smile here. Were serving sisters in the city!


Sometimes things are popular because they're good at what they do, that is my conclusion about bus tours. It was the perfect way to spend the day.


One of our last days in language school. This crew had our ups and downs, after all, we spent A LOT of time together, but I'm so glad we had this phase together, it set me up for this program perfectly! Ellen made us run around and line up by height we giggled the whole time, you're never too old for a good kids game.


FC Saarbrucken game was the perfect send-off to two months in SB! Good beer, good game, GREAT company. I hope everyone has someone like the Linslers in their life.


Then we had to say goodbye and SHOCKER... I cried a whole bunch! I just didn't take any pictures of it this time. But here is my crew watching my train pull away. My time in Saarbrucken was magic, even magic has to end. But I keep it alive every day by looking at pictures, texting and calling, and channeling their generous spirit when I meet new people here in Heidelberg.


10

October meant autumn air and back to school, two things I love. I got to have the rush of a new beginning. New Bundesland, New city, New family, New friends. Returning to a school setting was interesting after some time away, a bit like meeting an old friend (the student version of myself) and a bit like getting a second chance (how can I do it better this time around) The newness is always exciting but always the scariest. I remember going to my first Erasmus event here in Heidelberg just freaking out cause I didn't know anyone and on that very day I met one of my best friends in town. Fortune favors the bold, baby. Just be scared and do it anyway.


I spent Halloween weekend on an international office trip to Bavaria. My first time like PROPERlY in the alps. It was a joy. Learned a lot, embarrassed myself a little, honestly... what's new?


A new home here in Germany, I got to hang up all my pictures in my bedroom. Each new place I enter I get to bring everything I learned from the last one, the pics are just a small reminder of that. How cool.


First time inside the Schloss here in Heidelberg. I should have known I did something right when I got placed in the town with the giant castle in the middle of it, something cosmic has been watching my dreams for that one.


Colder weather brought curly hair and pink cheeks. and I love it. I've been trying to take more photos at little moments where I think I love me, there good to keep for the moments when I dont. For some reason this was one of those moments, I get it, look at her little excited face, I love her now too!


And our first drunken adventure at the Alte Brucke Monkey. Contrary to my mind attempting to play tricks on me, I did find out he is holding a mirror, not a Eucharist.


11

November was a tricky one. It was certainly when I was the most homesick. The holidays were approaching, school was getting BUSY, the days were getting dreary, it was a lot. However, there were plenty of moments of joy sprinkled throughout as well. As we get to these last few months of the year it's a bit harder to make objective conclusions of things I've learned, it still feels too new. What a cool thing to learn about myself, that I learn best with perspective. Imagine how much I have to look forward to when I come home, I have months and even years to keep learning from this experience.


Got to visit SB for the first time in November, it was a delight. This photo is iconic.


This is what I mean when I say dreary days. Gray. Clouds. No Sun. But hey, we get sun when we can, we get fresh air when we need it, and we figure it out. I'm resilient as hell. That's what November taught me.


Another crazy night out by the monkey. We met four people from Singapore in a bar, spend the whole night drinking our way through the Altstadt with them. This is what I mean when I say it wasn't all bad.


Thanksgiving was hard, but hey highs and lows. I think I expected to be sad for Christmas but not Thanksgiving. and yet, here we are. Bottom line, sometimes some of the best experiences of your life (being here in the first place) come with the hardest challenges. But hey, every day gets better and easier, and even if the lows can be pretty low, the highs are just so unbelievably high, in my experience, it's always worth it.


12

December was joyful again. Celebration in the air. I did more to take care of myself in December than I did in November, that was a big change. I got outside more, I slept better, I set boundaries when I need to. and it made a world of difference. I had such a great time. I got to rest from Uni and celebrate the end of the year. Really just overall a dang good time.


The Philosophen's Weg Garten became a favorite of December I walk here multiple times a week. It's beautiful, it offers a nice perspective, and it gets your heart pumping climbing the mountain to get there. I love it.


and thus was born the "I can stay grateful for the sun, though it's getting in my eyes" selfie series.


Seriously, I took a million solo hikes here in December and took shameless self-timer photos. and that's on personal growth.


Now that's the face of someone who has had an amazing year but is thrilled to be celebrating that it is OVER!



in conclusion

If you've made it this far, you're a rockstar. Here is what I wanted to say in closing. This year was crazy. I learned so much sometimes in huge painful and exciting ways, and sometimes in tiny minute and beautiful ways. I'm incredibly grateful for both. This was one of the best years, if not the best. but I hope they all feel that way. I hope by this time next year, I don't even remember 2021 cause 2022 has been SO much better. I hope it's all uphill forever and call me nieve but I truly think it might be. My disposition as a person means I love resolutions and new beginnings, but I don't think it's just that. I'm getting good vibes lately.


May the next six months, be the best six months.

And if you were a part of my life this or any year, Thank you. I love you.


Cheers!

-KJ






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