Happy New Year everyone! I realize I’m slightly late with my 2012 year-in-review; I took the past week off to celebrate the holidays in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau. But you know, better late than never.
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky: since 2008, every year has been exponentially better than the last. When I was 18, I thought my year spent in China couldn’t be topped; the year after, I had an extraordinary junior year of college and summer spent in Shanghai. In 2010 I graduated and moved to Singapore, and 2011 was spent traveling across Southeast Asia. Every December 31 I think, It couldn’t get better than this. But then came 2012, the best of them yet. Some highlights from this year:
January: New Year’s Eve in Sydney + Moving to Paris
A year ago, I wrote that being in Sydney to celebrate New Year’s was “the perfect beginning for 2012.” I’m a strong believer in starting as you mean to go on and figured with a beginning like that, 2012 could not let me down. With that in mind, three days later I moved to Paris and kicked off my first year in Europe. I spent most of January adjusting to winter weather, taking French classes, and overdoing it on the cheese and baguettes.
I was ecstatic when I found out Mike’s best friend was getting married in Ireland. We spent a week there in total, visiting Dublin, Galway, and the tiny little town of Ballinasloe where I met Mike’s mates for the first time. The trip made me realize that I never want to go more than a couple years without paying a visit to the Emerald Isle. Read all my Ireland posts here.
April: French Riviera
A work trip at the end of April saw me in a tiny town called La Londe-les-Maures, with the Mediterranean literally at my doorstep. Despite it being for work, I spent most of the week biking through vineyards, walking along the beach at sunset, and thoroughly enjoying the slower pace of life found in southern France.
May was one of the most eventful months of the year. On the Paris front the French elections were fascinating to witness; on the blog side I wrote my most popular posts to date, about how to travel after graduation and experiencing racism abroad. And of course, there was that whole getting engaged business.
July-August: Bastille Day + Olympics
The summer was filled with unforgettable high points, including the strange-but-awesome celebrations of Bastille Day, followed by a month in London covering swimming, athletics, and various other events at my first Olympics. Read all my London 2012 posts here.
After London, Azerbaijan was my greatest adventure of 2012. I went in knowing nothing about the country or even the region, and after a month in Baku and Azeri countryside I cannot stop talking about how much I loved my time there. Read my Azerbaijan posts (so far) here.
November: Bristol + London + Versailles
November was the month of friends and family. I spent two and a half weeks entertaining guests: Mike came for a visit from Singapore, my mom from the US, and a girlfriend popped over for a weekend from London. In that time I went to Versailles twice, London twice, and met Mike’s family for the first time at his brother’s wedding in Bristol. I also attended three Thanksgivings, reminding me how lucky I am to have such generous and kind people in my life.
December: Paris + Singapore
December was the month I finally became my usual social butterfly self — a personality I was known for in Asia but lost somewhat when I moved to Paris. Every day was filled with coffee, lunch, and dinner dates meeting new friends and catching up with old ones — which led to plenty of outings to see Paris’ many Christmas markets and festive decorations.
I hardly slept that month — and I don’t think I’d ever been happier in Paris.
I finished the year on a high note: I’m currently in Singapore for the holidays, soaking up the sun and eating all my favorite Asian dishes until my contented little heart explodes from joy and cholesterol.
So why am I scared for 2013? It’s hard to top a year where you lived in Paris, got engaged, and went to the Olympics (among other things). After five consecutive years besting the one that came before, like a long crescendo built up with more and more momentum, I fear my good luck can’t go on anymore. I fear I’ve peaked and that 2013 (which is also the year I officially hit my mid-20s) will disappoint in some terrible way.
Then again, I’m probably completely overreacting. I’ve signed on for another six months in Paris, so 2013 can’t be that bad.
Who else kind of wishes it was still 2012? Who’s extremely excited for 2013?