The days leading up to the end of the year tend to be pretty reflective and stressful. I usually try to dig up whatever resolutions I made, or goals and I feel discouraged because I don’t feel like I accomplished them, or that I’m where I want to be. I find myself being pretty pessimistic about the past year. I usually think of all the things I had wanted to do and didn’t get a chance to, or hadn’t even found time to attempt.
I didn’t bake with my rice cooker, I spent this time last year living out of moving boxes with a coworker in a semi-awkward but less awkward than expected living arrangement as our housing was remodeled, which was insanely stressful. I spent my birthday last year having to figure out how to bring my mattress back into my apartment from where the construction workers had shoved it behind the giant old school TV that I couldn’t move, which is still living in my laundry room because there’s no way I can bring it back in my apartment by myself, and I kinda don’t want to. The rice cooker is living out there too and I doubt I’ll bring it back in when microwavable minute rice is so much faster than my hour long rice cooker. So that’s a goal from my original Korea to-do list that I don’t think will be ever be realized.
My last years’ new years resolution also just said “learn more Korean”. Which I suppose I accomplished but I also had hoped my Korean would get way better, that I’d be able to ask my coworkers how they were doing in Korean and talk with them more. But while I did study a little, I didn’t as much as I had hoped. I’m not where I wanted to be, but I’m better than where I was, and I just have to accept that and be proud of the progress I have made.
I also really wanted to write more and when the year ended I felt like I had nothing to show for it. But I’ve been going through my journal and even though it doesn’t feel like it I’ve done a lot of writing. I finished a rough draft of a novel and started a writing internship. I’ve also been doing a ton of editing and beta-reading for friends.
If I look at my resolutions and goals I realize I did kind of accomplish them in the simplest sense, but despite writing things like “write” or “learn more Korean” behind that I had meant a much loftier goal that I didn’t accomplish. But when I look at how the years gone I’ve realized I’ve forgotten everything I did and really I’ve done better than I feel like I’ve done. Even though it feels like this year went both fast and also as slow as quicksand.
I spent my winter vacation in Laos, with a little bit of time in Vietnam and Thailand. I did a tour for the first time and ended up loving it. I made new friends, stayed in a village in the mountains, ate a ton of delicious food and even met some elephants.
February is my birthday month and despite earlier complaints about having to spend the day reorganizing my remodeled apartment and moving back in, the month itself was pretty good. I spent the lunar new year in Taiwan, road on a motorcycle for the first time in my life, visited the city that inspired Spirited Away, ate a ton of street food with my friends and enjoyed so much tea.
Apri I went to Daegu, which wasn’t some place I’d never been to before, but I went on a short weekend in order to see the lantern festival for Buddha’s birthday. It’s was gorgeous and despite how rushed the weekend felt I was so glad I went.
I visited friends I had made last year at training and explored parts of Korea I had never been to before. Like Andong and their mask festival or the gardens in Daejeon. I also went to the rose festival in Seoul which was lovely.
After two years of being thwarted in my attempts to visit Jeju island I finally made it and it was amazing.
I visited Gangwon with my coworkers and had probably the least stressful teacher’s trip yet and managed to avoid the yearly drunken noribang.
I went home for the first time since moving to Korea. I visited 5 states and saw family and friends that I haven’t seen in ages. (I also lost my phone though it eventually made its way back to me). I spent a lot of time trying to cram way too much in (and was stressed because there wasn’t enough time to see everyone and everything I wanted to) I I managed to take my aunt to see Aladdin and even treated myself to see Hamilton. (Cause how often am I in the USA?)
I went to the camera cafe that’s been on my to-do list forever. I also visited Osaka and a friend I hadn’t seen in years then went to Tokyo and saw more friends. I ate amazing food, got into the spooky spirit at Tokyo Disney and met Simon and Martina from Eat Your Kimchi. (Not to mention I finally made it to the Ghibli museum after years of trying)
I spent November recovering. I had spent most of the year running around everywhere, and even if I wasn’t abroad I was meeting up with friends and saying goodbye to some that were heading home. I also had my first Thanksgiving meal in years with some friends at Wink.
This last month has been insane. I went with my coworkers to Paju, had friends visit and did a lot in Seoul.
When I get to the end of the year I forget this stuff. I forget how busy I was and just remember the days where I sat around watching youtube or binge watching TV shows or playing video games. Not the days where I was doing what I loved. But if I sit down and list it like this then it’s much clearer to see, I didn’t spend a single month without at least one small adventure, and that’s insane. Especially since my go-to state is a hermit who stays home drinking tea and reading books. (I crushed my book goal this year)
While I’m not sure how 2018 will go I do already have some things planned that I’m excited for come late January and February. I’m trying not to put too much pressure on 2018 to be amazing, or that I’ll even know where I’m going all the time, but I’m looking forward to it for sure. Even if all I did on the first day (today) was clean and look back on the year that had just ended.
What’s something you did in 2017 that you’re proud of? What’s some things you’re looking forward to next year?
Happy New Year!