An Open Letter to 2017

Dear 2017, you were one heck of year, probably one of the craziest years of my life if I’m being honest. You really changed me. Sometimes you made me really happy, sometimes you made me cry, sometimes you made me feel small and alone, and sometimes you made my heart feel like it was going to burst from joy, but most importantly you helped me change and grow and learn more than I ever have before.

You started off with a huge adventure that took me to the other side of the world. I nervously stepped on a plane taking me away from everything  familiar to me. It was scary. It was exciting. It was nerve racking. It was epic. I should have known what kind of year I was in for based on how you started!

You gave me adventures that my heart has been craving for a long time now. You introduced me to so many cultures, countries, and life experiences. Because of you, I got to experience my very first real, snowy winter! I got to play with snow monkeys in Nagano, make snow angels and even bathe in a Japanese onsen. I was able to travel to Hong Kong, and cross my fourth Disney castle off my list! I made memories that I will cherish forever with one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had. I laughed, I got lost, I climbed mountains. I rode around Thailand on a motorcycle with my fiancée, I danced with elephants, I befriended beautiful local people. I learned that a smile, or a kind gesture (or a princess twirl) can surpass all language and cultural barriers. I chased waterfalls. I ran through tea plantations and watched sunsets on mountain tops. I ran through bamboo Forrest’s in Kyoto, got lost some more, and played with wild deer in Nara. Thanks to you, I went surfing in Taiwan, I explored the city by moto, I made amazing new friends. I tried new foods and even learned some Chinese! I climbed Mt, Fuji in the middle of the night and watched the sunrise from the top in the morning. I twirled through sun flower fields in Kiyose and went ice skating in Yokohama. You somehow managed to quench my thirst for adventure, yet keep me constantly craving more.

Secret waterfall hike in Taiwan

Making deer friends in Nara

Taking in the sunrise on top of Mt. Fuji

Hong Kong Disneyland

Phu Chi Fa, Thailand

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Thailand

Kyoto

Exploring a tea plantation in Thailand

Making friends with locals in Thailand

Bamboo Forrest in Kyoto

You gave me so many things to celebrate. I chased dreams that had been stirring in my heart for so long. I performed in parades and shows I’d been dreaming of for years. I got engaged to the love of my life as the sun set in front of Mt.fuji. I turned 22. I started a blog. I stopped saying I would do things and I started doing them.

You and I both know it wasn’t perfect, nothing ever is. There were hard times too. There were tears, and anxiety, there was a lot of wrestling with God and asking “why,” there were heartaches, and failures. But more importantly, there was a lot of growth, a lot of letting go of the things I can’t/shouldn’t control. There was a lot of learning, there was a lot of success and love and joy. There was laughter and dancing and loving and celebrating.

Thank you 2017 for giving me the hardest, craziest, most wonderful roller coaster year of my whole life. I’m thankful for every twist and turn you threw my way, and I’m cherishing every moment and memory. I’m a little sad to be saying goodbye to you, but I’m more excited for what is to come.

2018, I know you must be feeling a little intimidated right now, but I believe in you. You’re gonna do great things, I just know it. Let’s make this the best year yet.

 

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