I honestly cannot understand how some people can look back on 2016 and say it was an awful year…as if it was all that awful! Yeah, sure we had war and tragedy, blood and death. The United States had an election that was less than ideal and yet life goes on. We are still breathing. We are still alive and well. We’ve been through worse. In light of 2016, 2017 might be worse. We don’t know. I won’t say that 2016 was the best year of my life because then I would be lying. It definitely wasn’t my favorite year but I had so many wonderful experiences this year and so many memories I want to hold on to.
DISCLAIMER: I might be a little emotional in this and when I get emotional I start writing poetically. Bear with me. This year was bittersweet so I have a lot of good memories mixed with past memories. And also I have a whole year to break down so I jump from one thought to another quite often.
I had the most wonderful opportunity to go snorkeling with my Bio 2 class in high school to the archipelago of Karimunjawa, Indonesia. It was a great learning experience and a memorable bonding time with people I hadn’t talked to much before. It was definitely a great memory and adventure that made my senior year of high school not suck as much. To be honest I was smack dab in the middle of some situations that I wish I wasn’t in. Drama is real in high school and I’m glad to be away from it.
I wouldn’t say graduation was fun at all, especially since at my school it is more of a funeral than a graduation. People are in tears rather than beaming with happiness because we can’t be certain we will ever see each other again since I did go to an international school which entails my class being spread out across the world. Even now as I look at the yearbook and the senior pictures of my class on my wall of my dorm room my eyes get a bit glassy and I can feel a swell of nostalgia. I truly miss everyone.
My favorite part of this year has to be all the traveling I did in the States this past summer; that and watching the Olympics. (I’ll try to put everything in chronological order) I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Delaware, mostly because we visited some old family friends of ours: a great couple who have always been so generous and kind to my family. Absolutely love them to death! I was given some graduation money which I partially used to buy the Ari perfume that I’ve waited so long to buy and a pair of white lace old fashioned gloves. (Why I bought the gloves I can’t really say. But they would make a great touch to any wedding gown) My time there was well spent going shopping, visiting a creamery, and relaxing on a beach or two.
We drove up to Ocean City to visit some people there and I was lacking in decent pictures while staying there but here are a few that I took below. This was my second time to Ocean City and my second time on the boardwalk and like everything else I enjoyed it very much. Any walkway, I realized, with people and just people makes me so happy and at home. It is the strangest and most comforting feeling. I got myself a very touristy sweatshirt that says Ocean City across the back of it because why not? We were only there for a few days so we spent the time chilling.
Originally, I wasn’t too thrilled about visiting Kansas again partially because it is so wide and “barren”. But I went with my family for the second time anyway and it turned out to be a highlight of my summer. We saw some old friends and were hosted by an extremely lovely family who lived in a beautiful house on beautiful land. We were so blessed to get to know them and for them to welcome us into their home so generously.
I went with my family and a friend to the Stratica salt mine museum in Hutchinson. I kinda went in a little hesitant about how interesting it would be but I was surprised at how cool the mining process for salt actually is and all the things they make out of it. The dark tunnels and mini train rides were interesting and I brought back a couple of salt rocks for memorabilia. It was also very cool to see what they can store in a salt mine because of the perfect preservation conditions. (altitude, humidity, temperature, etc.) They had movie props and costumes (batman’s suit) and old original drawings of Bugs Bunny. Overall, I adore the people I met in Kansas and the small adventures I had there. Wouldn’t trade that trip for anything.
My family and I then drove to Colorado in a rental car to visit family. I always love every single visit to Colorado because it is such a beautiful place and I haven’t seen my aunt, uncle, and cousin in awhile. It was a surprise to see my other aunt again as she came for a surprise visit that time. She is the epitome of the classy aunt who defies all family expectations to chase her dreams and travel. (in a good way) I truly look up to her.
An evening in DC made for a beautiful memory as well. My parents brought my younger brother and I to visit an old family friend of theirs and I’m glad they did. My younger brother and I decided to take a stroll outside as the sun was setting on the District and it was so perfect. The pathway lamps were lit and the river/channel glistened from the lights. A pastel painted sky made the ugly docks on the body of water and the construction look less…ugly. At the end of the pathway we came across a monument built for those who died when the titanic went down. It was all quite beautiful and a fun and spontaneous walk.
Beautiful, beautiful Williamsburg. Oh, how I love you. One of my favorite places in the States has to be Colonial Williamsburg. My grandparents on my dad’s side live in Williamsburg and in walking distances from the College of William and Mary and this colonial attraction. Every Saturday morning at 9:00 they would walk down to the farmer’s market there and get scones and a cup of joe in the campus book store. I am obsessed with farmer’s markets, scones, coffee, walks, and Colonial Williamsburg so this all was so very appealing. I couldn’t say no even if it meant waking up early on a Saturday summer morning. I would walk down with my dad as well during the week to get some exercise in and to explore this historical area. I had also downloaded the Pokemon Go game on my phone and this place was loaded with creatures so why not join the bandwagon?
The last place I visited summer of 2016 was a more personal trip for my mom and I. We both took a train up to New Haven, Connecticut and her cousin who I call aunt drove us to her home in Guilford. Guilford is home. It is a home that I get all emotional over every time I think about it. It isn’t like I lived there ever in my life. But so many deep memories were built there. Good memories. It is where my mom grew up. It was her home and it became mine. I can’t explain how but it is.
That old house built by my grandfather set back the woods is embedded in the deepest part of my being. My great aunt had lived in a house just up the gravel driveway. That is now where my mom’s cousin lives with her husband and their dog. My mom wanted the house her father built to stay in the family so we sold it to her cousin’s son. I honestly never thought I’d be back there again after all that had happened and all that we had lost, all that my mom had lost. I never thought I’d see that little brown house again surrounded by tall pines. Even the bad memories I’ve had here seemed to have no significance and they had faded into the past covered by all the good memories.
We went to the Fish Tale, my favorite seafood restaurant, the diner my grandfather was a regular at, and the grave site where he now lies beside my grandmother. We planted fresh flowers there. They deserved the best. I went to an art fair or two with my mom and my aunt. we bought some jewelry pieces and an angel figurine. One of my favorite parts was when we took the dog for a walk on the quiet unused road shaded by an abundance of trees. The feeling I get when I think of this place and when I remember gazing up at the sunlight through the branches is a feeling I can’t describe. It is a feeling that screams stay. A feeling of peace and tranquility wash over me when I look up and around. Without fail you would see my eyes get misty and brim with pure joy when I’m there because I’ve lived in a lot of places but no place ever felt so safe and so free than in Guilford.
I don’t mean to get all emotional and sentimental about Connecticut but I can’t help it. Guilford is so embedded in my heart and my memory that it would be impossible for me to talk about it in a single paragraph. In fact, it would almost be shameful of me to show so little regard to the one place that brings out the best in me and that represents me and my character the best.
While in Guilford I watched the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics and some of the sports. I tell people I’ve waited 4 years since 2012 for the Olympics to happen again, not my high school graduation. And it’s true! The Olympics is more important to me than my graduation because to me the Olympics represents a world peace that only exists there. It may be the only world peace we will ever know. And world peace is more important than a small graduation of 24 students from high school.
I watched a little bit of the women’s gymnastics but I kinda had a suspicion of who was going to win. I watched the men’s gymnastics in 2012 and rooted for King Kohei and Germany’s Marcel Nguyen. This year I chose to cheer for King Kohei again because… LOL he’s the king of gymnastics. The German team is one of my favorites and team U.S.A was good this year. Also, Oleg Verniaiev was so very interesting to watch and his rise to glory exciting. He truly has extreme talent in the sport and almost dethroned the beloved Kohei Uchimura.
Now, I don’t see a need to explain why I like men’s gymnastics the most out of all the other sports. However, I’m telling anyone who wants to know right now why because it just takes too much energy to tell them all each one-on-one. To be completely honest, I get teased because it’s the guys I watch rather than the girls because well…I’m a girl. I find that sexist. I’m not a sports person but an artist. And what sport is closer to art than gymnastics? I watch to see talent and art. I find men’s more interesting. Also, the sportsmanship is unbelievably touching in men’s gymnastics. Go watch some men’s gymnastics and you will think to yourself, “why can’t the world be like them?” Because after winning or losing you see humility, civility, and kindness.
On another note, I was disheartened by Germany’s Andreas Toba’s injury but what he did for his fellow teammates was worthy of mention on my Instagram because he is just a true Olympic hero. I gave it a mention and I absolutely freaked out when he liked my post and to this day I get all fangirly inside.
I went into college in the middle of August. It was definitely a transition that I’m still going through and I’m still in the process of finding my place. I was put in an environment in which I was forced to be social and extroverted which is totally against my nature. So, I’m currently trying to find a balance and still try to be true to myself. I must be honest it was stressful and still is, but I think it was all good. I made some really great friendships with some people from my campus ministry: BCM and a couple friendships outside the BCM. I learned some very important things about myself and how to make hard decisions where you lose some to win some. (I will write another blog post on that in the near future Deo volente) I am absolutely certain though that I will find peace in this place and I will come through with the help of God and the people He’s placed in my life.
I am currently in Kentucky visiting my dear ole dorm parents from high school. They are truly like my second pair of parents and my mentors who helped me survive both boarding school and my first semester of college. I am here for two weeks and I’m excited to spend all this good time with them. I’m incredibly blessed to have them in my life and just to learn from them. I’m so grateful I have a transparent relationship with them and I sought them out in certain situations because if I hadn’t, the situations would have eaten me alive from the inside out and I’d be an emotional wreck right now. No words really can describe how grateful I am to them and for them. And into the new year I go with them to push me off into my second semester of freshman year with a new major and a little more confidence.