My 2016 Reflection

January 5, 2017

As the time changes to 12:00:01 am of January 1, 2017, and people around the world cheer, kiss, and hug those around them, we end the year 2016 and begin the first day of 2017.
2016 has been a year of loss, discovery, self-love, and passion. As cliche and overused as the "book" and "life" metaphor is...this chapter in my life has come to a close but I'm excited to start writing the next one. 2016 was the year that had me crying, discovering, traveling, stressing, and creating. I went through so many emotional roller coasters this past year, but everything happens for a reason and I know that I am stronger today because of it. 

- jan 21 -

A day in which I admired the sunset but didn't realize that as I was taking pictures of it, my grandfather passed away at the same exact time. I still can't get over how odd it is that things happened that way. rest in peace. <3

- june 9th -

I ended my first year of college with the best group of girls by my side and a trip to Big Bear. I don't know how I would have survived if I hadn't had my roommate to come home to every day, my friends to stress with, or my gals to laugh with. "Thank you" is most definitely not enough. 

- japan: june 20-27 -

Imagine getting picked up, and then dropped into a world that is vastly different from your own. It's organized, clean, quiet, and just so...different. Everyone is either extremely passionate about something or monotonously going about their daily routine. That's the best way I can explain Japan. From overcrowded, but always quiet, subway rides to stumbling upon random gardens that turn out to be part of the imperial palace (??), I really wish we had more time there because there is still so much I haven't seen.
Plus I took a selfie with a deer which is pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

- hong kong: june 28-30 -
The last time I visited Hong Kong was a couple of years ago, and I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. Maybe it was the family reunion, or maybe it was the food (too good), but I felt a unique sense of community that made me so incredibly happy. Also getting to eat HK egg waffles every day is not a horrible thing :)  

- guangzhou: july 1-3 -

Guangzhou is the home of my parents, and because of that, I have also adopted a sense of nostalgia and love for it. I love hearing my parents reminisce about drinking beer with their friends on the front steps of the run-down apartments, sneaking in to that one restaurant down the block from us, finally being able to afford a scoop of ice cream, or staying up as late as possible before they were yelled at to come back inside. It's nice to walk down the same streets that my parents had when they were younger, but be able to form my own attachments and meanings to them. The ice cream place that reminds my mom of the feeling of satisfaction that she got when she could finally afford a scoop of deliciousness, instead reminds me of how my mom was so excited to order her favorite drink (red bean ice) and share it with us. 
My parents had an elementary + middle + high school + neighborhood (I KNOW) reunion and it was so sweet seeing everyone get so excited because they were all together again. It just shows that distance and time doesn't matter in terms of friendship. 

- australia: july 4-19 -

After my trip to Japan, Hong Kong, and China, I hopped on a plane with my best friend and headed to Australia & New Zealand. Although I was excited, I felt homesick, alone, and out of place during the first couple of days. But as the saying goes, "time heals everything", and I found myself getting lost in the rush of exploring new places. I grew to embrace my love for the sun and its shows (aka sunrises & sunsets), my almost instinctual happiness to being in water, my irrational (mild) fear of birds, and above all else, I realized that I will always love and try to travel. 

- new zealand: july 19-26 -

I remember exactly how it happened. 
The crushing disappointment when we found that the path to the beach was blocked, the pounding in my heart when we found an alternative route, and the moment I felt like I had stepped into nirvana. My jaw dropped, my eyes widened, and I literally screamed the words "oh my god". Our anticipated 15 minute walk along the beach turned quickly into 2 hours and before we knew it, the sun was setting and we were running back to our car so we could make it down before it was dark. If I could camp out on that beach and spend my entire life there, I'd probably do it. maybe. (I mean I'd probably be frozen but maybe).
That was when I fell in love with New Zealand.

From that moment on, we were greeted with rainbows every day (not an understatement) and friendly Kiwis. I walked on a black sand beach, went white water rafting, went out on a boat to see a Maori rock carving in the rain, went to a hot springs water park, went to HOBBITON (!!), went caving, and went (+ solved) my first escape room! I can't wait to go back soon. 

- internship #1 -

Having an internship over the summer wasn't in my plan. I came back from vacation in late July and just assumed that companies wouldn't be hiring in the middle of the summer. Plus, I was heading back to school in about two months. But I took a chance and winded up becoming the Marketing Intern for SUSI Studio. It was a brief internship, but I learned so much and I can't thank the ladies there enough for taking me under their wing.
It was the first fashion internship that I had applied to and am so proud of what they stand for. vegan. eco-conscious. ethical. AND run by the most hard-working females I know. Girl power all the way.

- moving in, job #1, and job #2 -

I moved into my first apartment this year!! My family helped me put my room together (you can watch the time-lapse here), and I love how it turned out. I applied and got my first job at Nekter. Technically this is my second job, but it's the first job where I actually had to clock in/out and whatnot. I later joined The Style Club team and am currently their Social Media PR Director. We're growing so quickly and I'm still so excited to be a part of the team. 
Within 3-4 months, I was promoted to the shift lead position at Nekter (which I'm still freaking out about). But a few weeks later, I made the decision to quit. I loved my job, but I was juggling two other jobs, a sorority, 18 units, and my youtube channel. It was a hard decision for me because it almost felt like I had failed because I wasn't able to manage my time well enough. But in reality, that isn't true in the slightest. My time management skills have never been better. But certain tasks take a certain amount of time and energy and sometimes it just isn't possible to do it all.

- joining a sorority -

I sort of jumped all in for my second year of college. I basically analyzed everything that I didn't like about my first year, and vowed to change what I could so that I wouldn't be facing those same disappointments in my second year.
In my first year, I didn't meet enough people, I didn't get involved enough, and I could have gotten better grades.
And so I joined a sorority (checking off #1 & #2). I love my sisters and I would highly recommend rushing if you're interested! If anything, it's a great way to meet more people :)

- voting for the first time -

What!! Crazy. Bernie 4ever, but it was so cool to vote for a female candidate.

- getting my highest gpa and getting into business administration -

Although this quarter was the most stressful, I also got my highest GPA and I AM SO HAPPY/PROUD OF MYSELF. I don't know if I can say that I successfully managed my time because while I was somehow able to juggle three jobs, stay involved in a sorority, and keep my grades up, my health suffered. I got 6-7 hours of sleep (not bad though) a night, rarely ate, didn't exercise, and just didn't take care of myself.
But OMG I GOT INTO THE BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION MAJOR AT MY SCHOOL!!! It's a really impacted major and I've been working on the prerequisites ever since I got into the school so it was amazing to get in.
SO hi! yes! My name is Shirley, I'm a second year, and I'm a Business Administration and Sociology double major. :)

- cabo: dec 27-31 -

Cabo was such a great way to end the year. We woke up when we wanted to, walked down to have breakfast by the beach, swam around in the rooftop pool, drank mimosas and ate until our stomachs were happy. It was an incredibly relaxing vacation (which is honestly very rare for my family to have) and I'm so happy to have been able to spend it with my family.
OMG ALSO WE SAW TWO HUMPBACK WHALES LIKE FOUR TIMES. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. I can't believe creatures like that exist. how is that possible. wow. we are so so lucky.


2016 you were an absolute whirlwind and I still can't believe how many extraordinary things happened. I'm so proud of myself and of how much I grew. I can't wait to see what else I achieve and overcome in 2017.
What was your favorite memory in 2016? Let's reminisce for a bit.


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