What a year it has been.
Words are insufficient to describe how many things has happened and thinking about it makes my mind swirl. A year ago if you told me I would be writing this post from my bedroom in Shanghai, I probably would have found that hard to believe. But yet, here I am. Hopefully this collection of easily a hundred photos will speak 100,000 words and remind you of how there is so much love around you.
Japan 2017- 2018
Aren't I lucky to count down to 2018 with these fools? 5 years of friendship and counting. The ones who taught me to take life a little less seriously and have probably seen me cry more times than most LOL. Also always there to joke and make me laugh when I do. Might have said 'good riddance' when i left SG for Shanghai but I'm coming back to you all soon!!
Probably the most memorable thing that happened this year. I got to express my heart to almost every person who has been there for me through the different phases of my life. A rare and special moment, I hope everyone who came left feeling a little more loved.
!!! Thank you guys for all the kind words, except for Chole Koh, when I see your photo I just want to laugh. Thanks for telling everyone I made you cry during rag.
Having been myopic since birth, I've always dreamed and wondered what it's like to see things clear. Never in 21 years did I think I would be able to, but I did!! I was so touched I cried that night HAHA.
Witnessed the coming of age of many
Honoured to witness the coming of age of many who mean so much to me. Thank you for letting me share in this special moment with you. I had fun at every party, every gathering, every dinner and I can't believe we're officially adults! And to those that I could not attend and be there to witness your special moment, why are you born so late in the year?! (but ok y'all mean just as much and if it weren't for the fact that I'm in a completely different country, I really wouldn't miss it)
The Missing Piece Internship
Ended a unique internship experience with a boss who became a friend. Someone similar to me in many ways and also a person I respect! 2 semesters spent with her and a good run.
Spent too much time with the same people
To the same people who I spent my entire Year 2 sem 2 with. From pool to badminton, bowling, eating non-stop and driving shenanigans, I saw y'all too much for comfort. Our inside jokes of homeschool kids and 'only like skinny girls' will never get old. For witnessing my down moments when I cried in the car and for constantly reminding me that I am sleeping too much and need to drive better. For all the jokes that revolve around how Eugene needs to get his shit together and move on. Thanks for keeping me in check! Love y'all, see y'all in half a year!!!
Thanks for serving me well
Speaking of poor driving.... this was the year I got to drive the most, which means it's also the year I had the most tragic incidents. From being wheel clamped to being laughed at by coffee shop uncles while trying to parallel park for 10 minutes...and finally bidding this poor guy farewell. Thanks for taking the weight of me and my friends and even though I know many times you were gonna fail on us all, you made it through!!!
Growth of full crew
New additions to the crew this year which meant a lot because instead of spending less time together, we somehow managed to integrate our lives. Also our last sleepover and supper together where once again I fell asleep and you guys tried to wake me up. When I opened my eyes at 4am all I saw were heads around me and I felt like a hospital patient. The only thing that got me out of bed was Stace saying 'this is the last time we are going to do this before Shanghai'.
A summer of trying new things
Instead of taking on another internship, I decided to enjoy my summer, work on my self-growth. I tried things I've never done before. Learnt to sew, picked up premiere pro, lightroom, photoshop, said yes to random jobs and just had fun. (Check out the last 2 pics for a top I sewed and poor photoshop skills).
Spent time catching up with people I love and currently miss, sang too much Karaoke, ate too much and treasured our last few weeks before exchange and NOC.
Zoo Keepers went to the Zoo
One of my best days of summer. I laughed too hard, shat too hard (bless Yoogane and Bingsu). You guys know how special this is to me la, we are the same kind of people.
Vietnam and Hong Kong
Travelled with the ageing parents and brother when he got back from NOC. I spent a lot of time with family this year despite school and work and many friendships. Something I am really proud of and honoured to do. Ate lots of good food, had great conversations and it was the best way to end off summer.
Can't beleve we actually made Bintan happen and got a crazy bodyache after... Probably the most physical activity Rachel and I had done in a while. Rode e-scooters and I screamed my heart out but I would do it again. If you are reading this Rachel, I am really glad I met you through NBC and I can't believe we've only been friends for 1.5 years because it feels so much longer.
Went back to rag AGAIN
A family I hold so close to my heart. So many inside jokes and things only we will ever understand. The oddest combination of people, yet so accepting and balanced. Got to contribute to and witness another good year for rag, so precious!!!
Start of a new chapter
Moved to Shanghai in September and found a new family. 4 months in and I am grateful every day. Probably the best decision I've made so far are my housemates. I don't think any of you will every read this but I hope y'all know how thankful I am for this support system! Thank you for looking after me!!
A new Job in Shanghai
Took me a while to get here, but somehow I did. Ended up in a job I wanted, met new people, attended events, Fashion week, learnt new skills, had good and bad moments, laughed a lot and most importantly, improved my Chinese!!
Essentially forced my friends and family to download wechat just to call and talk to me LOL. To be honest, these are the conversations that keep me sane and remind me that no matter what, I am not alone. Y'all have turned some of my worst days into the best days and I am so thankful!!!
This 2nd half of the year, I was also blessed to be able to travel to places I never thought I'd go. I made new friends, had new adventures, took a ton of good photos and created memories I know I won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Something a little more surprsing and unexpected, I made a new local friend who resides in Suzhou. I never thought I'd find someone here who I would get along so well with and instantly too. The sweetest person who brought me around Suzhou, let me stay in her house, lent me shoes and share her life with me.
I've been to Suzhou 6 times now in the past 4 months, each time a different crazy experience. From staying at my friend's place, to doing my hair, negotiating with security, missing my last train back and working at W hotel. This city will always, always have a special place in my heart. I know it.
Inner Mongolia & Beijing (1-7 Oct)
When it comes to holidays, I'm a definite follower. I usually just tag along with my housemates and friends. This time, it led me to Beijing and Inner Mongolia. Probably the most exotic place I've been to yet. From freezing together in an unheated yurt, to riding horses, camels, zip-lining in the desert, watching fireworks just for us and climbing the rural parts of the great wall, I honestly had such a good time I didn't want it to end.
Xi An and Huashan (28 Dec'18 - 1 Jan '19)
Finally we end off with Xi An and Huashan. Not quite sure what I was thinking agreeing to climb a mountain in -7 degrees on the last day of 2018, but I have no regrets. From seeing the Terracotta warriors in person and realising how much history and genius there was put into it, to cycling around in the cold, eating local food and complaining about the cold daily. Without a doubt one of the best New years I've had, and one for the books.
Wow, that took me a long time to write. 2018 was a mixture of high and lows for sure but ultimately I think this has been a year of opportunities, a year of humbling my own ambitions and reminding myself that I don't have to have it all figured out. It was a year of independence but also weirdly a year of learning to be dependent. Life is funny isn't it?
Here's to a great 2019 and to not thinking too much. It' going to be another adventure!
With love, Joy x