2016 Year in Review

It’s MAY 2017, and you know what that means? It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated my blog! I see it as both a good and bad thing, because it means I’ve been so busy (in a good way), busy (in a bad way),  exhausted, fatigued, and/or depressed to push myself to write. But now I’ll finally post this pending draft that I had planned to post sooner because people were genuinely always confused about where in the world I was for the latter half of the year.

It’s mind-blowing thinking of how much happened and changed in my 2016. Despite all the moments of unhappiness or generally negative emotions, I’m grateful to have been able to experience those feelings.

Here are my 2016 highlights:

January – May: San Diego Work and Play

Aside from one weekend in Vegas, and one weekend in SF, and one weekend glamping in Anza-Borrego, I stayed in San Diego for these five months and loved it.

Things that were rough: job dissatisfaction (feeling overqualified and underpaid), exhaustion, never-ending sickness, and a ton of car troubles. I was waking up painfully early (for me) at 6am to try to avoid San Diego’s morning northbound traffic… However, this meant I had more time for evening activities.

  • I drank a bunch of craft beer (City Beat Beer Club/used to be $1 beers; Scripps TGIF; Barventure discounts; volunteering at beer fests).
  • I got caught up in Shaquille’s weekly weekday schedule of open mic karaoke at Sandbar and Backyard, as well as line dancing at In Cahoots a few times.
  • I attended lectures and talks hosted by UC San Diego and the San Diego Foundation / Future 40 series.
  • I took rec/fun classes through UC San Diego and Groupon (hip hop, go go dance, aerial silks, a self-defense class, 2 sessions of pole dancing).
  • I went to concerts and shows (half of the time by myself): Hawthorne Heights/The Ataris, 9.33 Summer Kickoff Concert, Motion City Soundtrack, Yuna, LED Anni.
  • I volunteered around San Diego: Oneonta Elementary beautification project, Chelsea’s Run, Triton Day, City Beat Beer Fest, Feeding America SD.
  • I saw movie screenings and plays: Romeo and Juliet (ballet), Rain (musical), Hollywood (La Jolla Playhouse), Miracles from Heaven, Imperial Dreams.

I was fortunate to have homies that were always down to eat or go to events. Also, meeting people from the Scripps Oceanography and broader UC San Diego communities (including the San Diego UCSD Alumni Club) led to many more lunches and scattered social happenings.

June – July: India, Vietnam, Big Sur, Tahoe

With my acceptance of my new job offer, I was able to give myself a gap between Scripps and FTI/San Diego and San Francisco. I wanted to participate in a service trip abroad upon graduating, but was lacking funds at the time. Now was the time!

I participated in a 4-week UBELONG program in Delhi, India with a homestay house I shared with 3 University of Michigan ladies. I was able to visit Varanasi, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Agra. It was an unforgettable experience that gives me mixed feelings (more later).

After my program, my mom visited India for 2 days (Delhi and the Taj Mahal) before we departed to Vietnam for a week. It was the first time she had returned to Vietnam since leaving at the age of 16. It was difficult traveling with her, as it often is with family… But we experienced Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Halong Bay, and the stomach flu together.

Back in the states, I was scheduled to chill in SD for a bit before taking off for domestic travels, but I embarked on a spontaneous road trip with Amy and friends that somehow landed us in Big Sur.

A day and a half after returning from Big Sur, I flew back to NorCal for apartment hunting and our FEDA Tahoe trip! (I only saw two apartments and took the second…!) Golfing, torturous trail run, Cards Against Humanity, and Rage Cage with the soon-to-be coworkers and bosses.

August: Maryland, NYC, SF, San Diego

By now, I was pooped. I planned for 3 weeks on the east coast. I flew in and spent a day in Philly. Then I had a relaxing 2 weeks in Edgewater/Annapolis, Maryland with Cathy, Guy and the twins, followed by a week in New York.

I flew directly to SF from there in my genius plan to move clothes to my new apartment instead of driving. I had a final, actual goodbye in San Diego before taking off to Seattle.

September: Seattle, DC, SF

Seattle for Bumbershoot 2016 with UCSD Fudan friends! A hectic amount of tourism and festival-going with a packed Key Arena. Highlights: Porter Robinson, Jai Wolf, Marshmello, G-Eazy singing Fuck Donald Trump THREE times, St Lucia in the sprinkling rain.

One week of work at the new job, followed by a day trip to Napa and a week of training in Washington, DC.

October – November: Austin + SF, SD, LA

I was staffed on an engagement in Austin, Texas that ended up lasting 8 weeks for me. We had to stay and work 2 weekends, and I voluntarily stayed 2 weekends to explore the actual city (including going to Austin City Limits Music Festival by myself for a day).

I unexpectedly met up with Cathy and Guy, who were in the area for a wedding. One weekend, I flew back to San Diego and everyone was annoyed I wouldn’t just go away and stay away.

For Fudan Friendsgving, we met up in Los Angeles, and I realized I’d only been a couple times despite living only 2 hours away. We visited the Broad (“Brode”), Walt Disney Concert Hall, and had Chinese food for Friendsgiving dinner.

December: SF, SD, LA, San Bernardino

I was finally off “the Austin project” and work was slow (nonexistent) because of the holidays and my lack of technical experience. I mostly recovered in SF.

I originally planned to spend Christmas in San Diego and come back to SF for New Year’s and work. Then I realized there was nothing worthwhile happening in SF for the 2016-17 transition. I flew to SD for Christmas, drove with the guys to Snow Valley (east of LA) for snowboarding for the first time (!), flew back to SF, onboarding for a new project, flew back to SD, drove to San Bernardino (east of LA) for Countdown NYE, and flew back to SF.

Alesso messed up the New Year’s countdown and I only realized it was 2017 because I saw someone turn on their phone screen and saw the time… 12:00am

‘Twas a crazy 2016. Pictured in my photo: FTI holiday party SF, Infinity Room at the Broad, snowboarding at Snow Valley, grad photos in Carlsbad, Humayan’s Tomb Delhi, Big Sur, Varanasi, Lodi Gardens Delhi, San Diego.

In conclusion: San Diego is amazing, travel is amazing, planning and hard work can lead to amazing things.

From 1-10, how do you feel overall about this past year?

9…. point 5. It was exhausting, but felt a great time to be alive.

What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of the year?

Appreciate. I wish I made more of an effort to reach out to acquaintances and old friends in SD before I left.

What were the three biggest lessons you learned in this past year? What is one way to incorporate these lessons into your life?

  1. Sometimes, it’s ok to take it easy.
  2. Embrace yourself and the awkwardness of being by yourself and you’ll only grow stronger.
  3. Be persistent and stand up for yourself and you might just get your way.

Review your planner for the past year and assess your priorities. Are you happy with how you spent your time? If not, what steps can you take this next year to adjust them?

I wish I had more self-control and didn’t prolong my sicknesses with poor decisions. Overall, very happy with how I spent my time.

How are you different between this year and the last?

I learned even more about myself in 2016. I gained a lot more self-confidence and balls in doing things by myself, for myself and my own satisfaction. After about 8 years of being in relationship after relationship, I embraced being single for the entire year, and it’s definitely been empowering.

What or who are you especially grateful for this year?

My family. My study abroad fam. New friends I’ve met who have expressed genuine interest in keeping in touch.

Name three things you can improve on next year. What are concrete actions you can take to work towards these improvements?

  1. Read more
  2. Exercise more (cliché I know)
  3. Save more
  4. Cook more

How similar to last year’s

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Published by

christinaluu93

UC San Diego grad with a double major in Economics and International Business. I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, but I love to travel (and eat) around the world.

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