What a year it’s been! I’m not going to lie to you guys, there’s been more than a handful of downs. I think last year was a lot of figuring out what I definitely don’t want from life, dealing with rejection both personally and career-wise, and kind of just getting from month to month.
I guess if I could explain it in a broader sense, the election hit me a lot harder than I thought it would, and I couldn’t really figure out how to deal with my anger and frustration in a healthy way.
Anyhow, that’s not what this post is about! Because despite some rough patches, I’m still extremely lucky for the way my life has gone in 2017. There’s been a lot of travel, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and, of course, making another huge move back to Korea. If there’s one thing to take away from 2017 is that I am forever grateful for the incredible friends that are in my life, whether they’ve been there since middle school or we only met this month!
Allow me to self-indulge a bit and look back at the adventures 2017 has brought with it :)
2017 in Review
January: South Africa
I spent most of January in South Africa with a small layover in Frankfurt, Germany. It was as incredible as you’d hope South Africa would be! I rang in the new year with my friend enjoying jazz music at one of Paarl’s wineries, got to see a bunch of lovely places in the Western Cape, spent a week in Cape Town (and rode a helicopter!), a few days in Port Elizabeth, and then a few more days on a farm near Pietermaritzburg. If you can’t tell, I still have a lot of content drafted from this trip, and I still haven’t had a chance to finish writing!
February: NYC + Philadelphia
I don’t remember February being too hectic with travel, but Elissa did manage to come out to the East Coast to visit me! She lived in DC for a year, so she wasn’t brand new and we could go back to places she knew she liked. We stopped into Philly for a few days and then took the Megabus up to NYC for a two-day trip as well.
I actually had never been to Pats or Genos for a Philly Cheesesteak because my family makes some pretty good ones, so we went to test them out. I don’t actually remember which one we liked better because we ate them outside and were freezing the whole time!
March: Cape Charles + Atlanta
I can’t remember when exactly but I somehow got Fran and Corinne to meet up in Cape Charles in early March. They were both coming from North Carolina and I was coming from Pennsylvania, so it was the perfect midpoint. It was the first time I had seen Fran in a year and a half and Corinne in over 2 1/2 years. I think the last time we had all been together at once was right before we graduated college!
Also, I went to Atlanta for about a week to see my friend, Kate. I can’t even remember the last time I’d seen her but we’ve always met up at least once a year since I graduated high school. She moved to Atlanta for school, and, believe it or not, this was the first time I had the budget and time to go down to see her! It was awesome seeing each other for longer than just a lunch or dinner, and I definitely liked Atlanta a lot more than I thought I would. If you’re thinking of cities to live in in the US, I’d seriously consider it. The cost of living, the mix of city and Southern culture, the proximity of the airport…
After going home for a bit, I went to Chile for about a week and a half with my friend, Natasha. We booked tickets in November or December when we found a really good flight deal without really knowing too much about the country! We spent a few days in the Atacama Desert and a few days in Santiago. Let me just say, the Atacama Desert is insanely beautiful. I want to go back a little more prepared!
May: NYC + North Carolina
I actually randomly went to NYC for a week! Someone in one of my groups listed her apartment for $50/night in Manhattan, which is pretty incredible pricing, so I jumped on it. It was just nice having my own space for a week, and I also had more time to get to know the city and see some places I’d had on my list for ages.
I then went down to NC to stay with Fran before our half-marathon. I wound up staying into June and also stayed with Corinne for the Memorial Day weekend.
June: North Carolina
I was in NC for a few days in June, but I was mostly home that month to finish up paperwork for Korea. I also just remember spending an absurd amount of time in Panera since they have an actual food menu and free wi-fi.
July: NYC, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Colorado, + Korea
July was absolutely bonkers. I’d already booked tickets to visit my friend, Allison, in Wyoming later that month. I drove all the way back down to North Carolina for a bit after Corinne said I could crash in her room whenever I needed to, and I also wanted to say goodbye to Fran in person. Then I drove all the way up to Rhode Island with a weekend stop in NYC. I did get to stay at this gorgeous place for the night and met up with some friends, so it was a very fun stop.
Another thing, let me tell ya, I’m about 100% more confident in my driving skills now than I was a few years ago.
Anyhow, I housesat for Corinne and her boyfriend in Providence then went home, packed up my life (again), and went to Wyoming until I left for Korea. I actually didn’t know when I’d leave for Korea and it kept getting pushed back to the point that I left the US without a visa.
August: Jeju, Yeosu, Fukuoka, + Moving In
August was still pretty crazy! I stayed with Nicole in Mokpo, then we went to Jeju. Honestly, if I can give you one piece of travel advice, it’s to never go to Jeju in August. Unless you actually like humidity so insane you feel like you need a nap and a shower five minutes after you leave your car. Even the flowers looked like they’d given up on life at that point.
After I said goodbye to Nicole and her boyfriend, I stayed at a, now, friend’s extra apartment in Yeosu. I then had to go to Fukuoka to get my visa.
I spent maybe 3 days in Japan, and I fully planned on doing more, but it was still crazy humid! I did get to eat tonkatsu ramen, and I’ve honestly spent time thinking about the plausibility of going back to Japan one weekend just to eat it again… If anyone knows a good tonkatsu ramen place in Korea, please tell me!
I also had my birthday at some point in there! I honestly slept for most of the day.
By the end of August, I moved into my apartment and was settled in. It. Was. Glorious.
September: Suncheon + Yeosu
I spent most of September getting used to Suncheon and going to Yeosu for various reasons, including book club and some fun photoshoots. I think it was either September or early October when I met up with Nathalie, who’s friends with one of my good friends from Namwon, and I finally returned to Suncheon Bay!
The big trip I made in October was to Seoul! It’s actually more of a trek from Suncheon than Namwon, so I haven’t been as compelled to go like I normally am. I do love that city so much though!
November: Back to Naejangsan + Namwon
While I went to Naejangsan for an afternoon, that was the only really big thing I did in November. I went to Yeosu for Thanksgiving and Namwon for church! Going back to the Namwon church was really so lovely, and the craziest thing is seeing how all the kids have grown up even in the year since I’d left. I still can’t really get over it!
December: Suncheon + Yeosu
December has been quiet! I’m cold all the time, even though it’s not even that cold here. I really am meant for somewhere where it’s a balmy 70-80 with low humidity all year around.
I’ve been around Suncheon and Yeosu for various reasons, and it’s been lovely. Otherwise, it’s just been working and planning for 2018.
What a crazy, freaking year. I have a post about what I’m hoping to do in 2018, and I’m seriously excited for what this next year brings! Let me know what you’ve been up to.