Tick, tock, tick, tock. It’s the start of a new year, which means making another set of New Years resolutions.
I always get to the end of the year and think, “Where the hell has the year gone?” Well, let me tell you where my year has gone.
I had always wanted to spend New Years Eve in Times Square, New York City. I made that dream possible, or at least I tried. I went to NYC on NYE to ring in the new year. Unfortunately, getting there at 4:00 PM was not early enough. (How are you supposed to not go to the bathroom for eight hours?) Instead, we watched as the new year started in a crowd of people about five blocks from Times Square. Maybe another time?
I turned 24 years old in February. I had planned to have friends over for food and drinks, then go to downtown Annapolis for more drinks, but the snow (as with every other year) had different plans. (It’s no surprise because I was born during a black ice storm.) It wasn’t the picturesque birthday I had planned, but I had a really great, drunken night.
March brought bearable temperatures. And I planned to use March to finally learn how to sail. One of my friends in Annapolis took me out and tried to teach me how to sail. I really liked being out of the water, but I didn’t exactly understand what he was teaching me. I would continue trying to learn how to sail until mid-summer.
My great grandmother passed away in April, so I went to New York to be with my family during this time. It was a difficult time, but I was able to see my grandparents, my aunt, and my little cousins. I also started realize how unhappy I was with my job this month. After sitting at a desk doing the mundane tasks every day for six months, I started to go a little stir crazy. I wanted to travel more than anything!
I started May off by going to a conference for work in Chicago. I was happy to get away from the office and get back on the road, even if it was only for a few days. Memorial Day lead me to a blue grass festival known as Dell Fest. It was a three day camping trip. I was really tired the entire trip and I didn’t really know any of the artists, but the weather was great, the music was good, and the river was great for relaxing. It was also my last weekend before my insane “body makeover” in June, so I ate like crap and drank like a sailor that weekend.
I decided that I wasn’t happy with my body the prior month, so I worked really hard to lose weight and gain muscle. I worked out for no less than an hour, but usually two hours, every day in June. I increased my cardio intervals and started strength training. I also didn’t go out to eat, didn’t eat any junk food or unnatural sugary foods, and didn’t drink anything except water (not even alcohol). I lost almost fifteen pounds in one month!
I also went on my first (and only) long sail. I went on an overnight sailing trip with a friend from Annapolis. It was a lot of fun, even though I couldn’t drink with everyone. It made me wish I had closer friends in Annapolis because it’s such a great city. I also tried my luck (and didn’t fall) at paddle boarding, which I quite enjoyed.
Travel, travel, travel. I met my boyfriend Chris in July. He decided to visit for a month. I was only able to take two weeks off work while he was visiting, so we tried to make the most of it. We went to Florida and visited Miami, the Everglades, Sarasota, and Sanibel Island. The next weekend we went to NYC, stopping in Philadelphia along the way. We also spent time in Washington, DC and Annapolis in the beginning of the month.
I called in sick with a doctors note in mid July. It was the first and only time in nine months of working for that company that I called in sick. (I also was never late.) But I still lost my job. It was truly a blessing though!
We traveled to Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park, Monterey, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Chicago over the course of two weeks. Some highlights: going to Disneyland, seeing a black bear in Yosemite, going to the Monterey Aquarium, biking across the Golden Gate Bridge, drinking at the Portland Brewfest, and going to a Seattle Mariners baseball game.
I was really confused about life in August. I found myself without a job and without any idea of what I wanted to do when my lease ended in October. I knew I wanted to travel abroad, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to plan a trip around the world or if I wanted to take a teaching job abroad. I deeply contemplated where I would go and what I would do next. I also worked on a TEFL certification so that I could teach English abroad, if I decided I wanted to.
I decided in early September that I was going to move to China to teach English. I had always wanted to move abroad and teach abroad, so this was very exciting. Unfortunately, it’s also very stressful. The entire process of applying for jobs, applying for visas, and packing up your entire life is tough. I spent as much time as possible with my mom and my friends. I think I saw my mom almost every day in September.
I moved to Nanjing, China. It was one of the biggest decisions of my life. I took a job teaching Oral English and Business English at a maritime university. I soaked in the new culture. I missed home, but I was very excited by all the newness of the country. I spent time exploring the city, visiting the nearby lake, and trying Chinese foods. I also spent a weekend in Changzhou visiting a dinosaur-themed amusement park and hot springs. I formed my own first impressions of this new, odd country.
As the weeks passed, it was became more difficult to adjust. (It still is.) The weather got really cold, really quickly. And I was sick for most of November. I had to spend my first Thanksgiving abroad. I started taking Chinese lessons and learned a popular Chinese dice game to try to immerse myself and to learn about Chinese culture, Chinese people, and Mandarin. With all the cold weather and sicknesses, I decided to start travel blogging from my warm, germ-filled bed.
I was also able to visit Lianyungang to see HuaGuo Shan (a beautiful mountain) and Suma Bay (a beach in between mountains) in mid-November. I was treated to delicious seafood and the local food by several Chinese families that weekend. I felt so welcomed!
I started meeting more Chinese people and going out to new restaurants and bars, but more cold weather and more sickness made me want to leave Nanjing to find familiar food and warm weather. I started the month in Shanghai eating the best foods I could find and getting pampered at a massage parlor.
As it was my first Christmas abroad, I decided to go to Hainan for warm weather. Swimming, laying on the beach, and cocktails were exactly what I needed, even if I did have to return to snowy weather after only five days on the beach. With few foreigner options, I decided to spend New Years Eve in Shanghai. It’s not NYC, but it’ll do.
New Years Resolutions
My New Years resolutions are simple:
1. Continue traveling (even if I’m not living abroad). Visit at least six new countries.
2. Continue travel blogging.
3. Figure out a long-term career path (even if this requires going back to college).
4. Lose weight.
5. Eat more healthy.
6. Make more friends.
7. Be a nicer person.
8. Be happy! :)
What do you think?
What are your new years resolutions? Did you stick to your new years resolutions from last year?