I can hardly believe that the end of the year is approaching. It feels like yesterday I was anxiously starting graduate school or staying up late to get my mid-terms finished and submitted. After completing my first semester (and unfortunately disappearing from this blog for a few months), it feels good to complete my accomplishments. Although I have plenty of semesters ahead of me, I’m happy to report there is more than graduate school that I’ve added to my list of achievements. 2016 has been a fantastic year of opportunities for career, travel, fashion, and friends. So, before 2016 comes to an end, here are some amazing highlights from this past year:
- Sometimes the most terrifying moments can turn out to become the most humorous circumstances. While traveling with my family for my cousin Jasmine’s wedding in Costa Rica, my mom, dad, cousin Issac, and I experienced an unfortunate encounter with a cockroach. At first, I found a cockroach upside-down on the floor of our apartment in Tamarindo. It wasn’t dead, so my dad put a Kleenex on top of it and tried to step on it. To our surprise, the cockroach was still alive and began to run around the living room looking for an escape. My mom attempted to move furniture to help my dad find the cockroach while Isaac’s fiancée Megan waited to open the front door to let it out. Isaac and I were standing on the couch, afraid for our lives. In the midst of this situation, my aunt Francis opened the door to our apartment shouting, “I need a key! Do you have a key for the front door?” We tried to tell her there was a cockroach, but it didn’t seem to bother her as she continued inquiring about a key for her apartment. Running into a cockroach may sound like a situation without any hilarity attached, but with my family, that’s a completely different story.
- Revisiting places from the past may not sound like the greatest travel adventure, but you can end up finding more than you anticipated. Returning to places you’ve lived nearby as a child may not sound as glamorous as traveling to an exotic location like Azores, Palawan, or Thailand (which are all top places on my bucket list). However, coming back to Southern Utah for graduate school, I’ve uncovered more than I originally expected. Return visits to Zion National Park and driving along Dixie National Forest gave me a new look on the atmosphere around me. Coming back to the Utah Shakespeare Festival to work in a different department gave me a refreshed outlook on my involvement in the arts. This renewed sense of Southern Utah gave me more confidence and positivity than I thought it could, and I’m pleasantly surprised with the results.
- Staying at home gave me the opportunity to explore other stories and inspire me to find future experiences. Being at home gave me time to learn the story behind my fashion choices and encourage others to do the same. Instead of worrying about where I might go next, staying in one location allowed me to explore other stories and see where I could go in the future. Moving around throughout the year can often be overwhelming, and being able to stay in one place made me realize how much I want to travel again. Thinking about the people I could meet, the places I could see, and the culture I can experience makes me ready and energized to pick a place and go. It’s funny how spending time constantly on the move and rearranging makes you feel less inspired to travel, but knowing you will be somewhere for a longer time allows you to think about where you can go next and what you can discover. What matters in the end, is not how much you travel, but whether or not the travel experience was a fulfilling and meaningful one.
- Making new friends takes time, but when you meet the right people, it makes all the difference in the world. Being in a new job and starting graduate school it wasn’t easy to make friends right away. There were people I connected with, but I wondered if any friendships would develop. I’ve always been a very independent person, so it probably appears like this wouldn’t matter to me, but with close friends far away, having a support group was something I wanted. Luckily, after a few months of getting to know people and work with them, I found all kinds of support and new friendships. The important lesson I’ve learned is that I may not be close friends with everyone I work with, but we can get along and find ways to look out for one another.
2016 has been a year of even more change than 2015, but it has been a fantastic one as well. I’m still learning to balance everything I want to do with my responsibilities, but it seems that will always be a constant learning curve. I’m looking forward to more friends, fulfilling travels, and stories to share in 2017.
What have been your most memorable moments of 2016?