A couple of reasons why: 1. It's the year I graduated and started work. Oh the PAIN of work and the burden of having to experience the responsibilities as a working adult. No longer can I just take the afternoon off if there are no tutorials or if I just FEEL like taking a break and going off for some foot reflexology. God, I miss those days. But I suppose, there's nothing like finally receiving some money every month that can be put towards travel. ;p And while there have been so many tiring/trying/downright depressing days, I have survived this far... and in a way it's a relief to think that the most difficult Intern year will be finishing soon... ok in another 4 months but that's a teeny detail.
2. It's the year I had the most incredible graduation trip(s) with my mum and a group of the craziest/best travel buddies I could've asked for (recall New Zealand ;p). 'Nuff said. I love those guys I travelled with and I always feel like giving them a great big hug everytime I look through out photos. Ever tried driving a 5 person caravan through the long winding NZ roads for miles and miles with a wonky sound system? Hilarious.
3. It's the year I got to do some great traveling with awesome experiences. :) Not only did I manage to have a great time with my mum in Europe, my grad trip group in New Zealand, but I was also able to go to Montreal, one of my favorite cities, for the Osheaga Festival. That was pretty amazing because it was something I had decided on almost on a whim, after seeing the incredible line up for the 3 day festival. And after I had bought the tickets to the festival it was like... ok now I need to buy the plane tickets. And then everything else fell into place. I loved seeing everyone's shocked expression when I told them I was going to Montreal over ... 8 days? :) I had maxed out my leave for that period of time to travel but it was so worth it. And I DID sort of wipe out the paltry amount in my bank account since I had just started work as well but really... I have no regrets at all. It was such a wonderful, relaxing experience for me. Well, a lot of it was just me walking the streets of Montreal, enjoying the gorgeous late summer - early autumn chilly weather, popping into cafes, finishing up that tome that is The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (and I would definitely recommend that it you're looking for a book to lose yourself in) and walking up early in the mornings feeling slightly stuffy because there was no air conditioning in the Air BnB room that I was staying in but it was so peaceful and quiet nonetheless. Ok after recapping it briefly in my mind, I'm all prepared to go back again. :) But hopefully with some people this time. Montreal is too fantastic a place to experience alone.
4. It's the year of counting blessings. I started this ritual of posting on Facebook every few days something about work that I was grateful for, because I knew that if I didn't actively do something like that, I would just become depressed and full of angst very easily since I don't particularly look forward to work. But counting blessings really does help lift one's mood and overall outlook on life. :) I'm so grateful for the tiniest of things... perhaps a text message in the night while I'm on call that keeps me company... friends/colleagues who can sympathise with everything and who offer an invaluable well of emotional support... warm barley water cooked by my dearest Ahpo (grandmama) when she knows I'm tired out from work (that I happen to be sipping now :D)... the joy of going on leave and packing my luggage in the middle of the week when everyone else has to go in to work the next day hehehe...
Oh it's just a whirlwind of emotions all the time. For every bit that's that much more trying, there's always something else to be grateful/thankful for which buoys my mood and helps me get through things. It's something that I want to continue doing for the rest of my life. Always being grateful for things.
(Happy Christmas. Taken while in Ginza (probably) in Tokyo, Dec 2013.)
Now it's time for me to settle down and get ready for work tomorrow. Yes, working on New Year's Day and through the night as well. But hopefully it'll be incredibly uneventful and smooth-sailing. I'm just grateful for these quiet moments at home tonight that allowed me to reflect on the past year of events. Facebook's 2013 in Review thingamajiggy sort of prompted this rumination as well.
Here's wishing everyone a blessed New Year ahead. :) Would love to hear about your thoughts on the year past/ahead as well.
Happy New Year.