This past year wasn't a great one for Eliran Ifrach.
The 24-year-old Fairfield resident, like many people in his town, was hit hard when Superstorm Sandy roared through the state in late October. His car sustained so much damage that he had to get rid of it.
Penfield Pavilion in Fairfield, where Ifrach and his fiancee hope to get married in 2014, was also affected by the storm. The pavilion is expected to remain closed through this summer.
"There were a lot of ups and downs for me this year," said Ifrach, who works part-time at Starbucks in the Fairfield University Bookstore.
Ifrach isn't alone. Many in the state look forward to seeing 2012 disappear into their rearview mirror, and it's no wonder why.
The year brought a potent storm that caused major damage in Connecticut, particularly along the coastline, and cost several residents their lives.
More recently, 2012 saw the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The massacre left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead.
Add the divisive chaos of a national election and the strain of a sluggish economy, and 2012 is a year that most Connecticut residents can't wait to leave behind.
"There's a lot of worsts for 2012, with all the weather and tragedies and that sort of thing. I couldn't begin to think of a favorite memory," said Chris Stack, 48, a social worker in Stamford. "I'm hoping 2013 gets better than 2012."
"I hope things change for the better,'' said Soyak, who was shopping at Copps Hill Plaza in Ridgefield. "I hope the economy improves and I hope that people are up, rather than down. I pray for the people of Newtown. I pray they find the strength to continue.''
The fading year has been so trying, at least one person said she hasn't even started focusing on what 2013 will bring.
Betsy Delany, of New Fairfield, said she was elected president of Knollcrest, a private community on Candlewood Lake, in 2011. During her time in office, there has been an earthquake, Tropical Storm Irene, the October nor'easter, and finally, Sandy.
Twice, Delany said, she was without power for a week and huge trees were knocked down in her yard by the storms.
"I'm afraid to look that far into the future,'' said Delany, when asked about 2013 during an interview at the U.S. Postal Service office on Backus Avenue in Danbury.
Not all took such a dark view of the passing year. For some, 2012 had its bright spots, including weddings, engagements and professional successes.
Giorgio Fareira, who works with Ifrach at Starbucks, is one of those people. The 24-year-old Fareira is perhaps best known as the Sonic Drive-Thru singer -- the musician whose video of him singing his order at the fast food chain made him a viral sensation.
Fareira, who lives in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, said the video made 2012 "a weird year" that included a guest appearance on the talk show "Ellen."
But even Fareira's year wasn't perfect after he lost power for a week after Sandy. Still, Fareira said he's looking forward to 2013 for a number of reasons.
"I have a lot of big plans," he said. "It's sort of nice to have that fresh start feeling that comes with the new year."
Southbury resident Tim Ramsey, 24, concluded the year on a high note, after he became engaged to his girlfriend, 23-year-old Katie Weidlein, of Andover, Mass., on Sunday.
The ecstatic young couple was in Fairfield on Monday, along with Ramsey's mother, Barbara, 58, of Southbury, and his grandmother, Alice Kine, 81, of Stratford.
All were looking ahead to the new year with the excitement of wedding plans ahead of them.
"I'm actually happy to see 2012 go," she said. "Living in a bordering town to Newtown, and being a teacher, it's been a tragic time."
Her son agreed.
"We definitely are moving forward and looking ahead," Tim Ramsey said.
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