2018- The Year in Moments

Happy 2019!!

It seems like I was just writing my 2017 highlights just the other day, but here we are again, 2018 in moments. This year has been absolutely crazy. I’ve been extremely open about my struggles this year, and even though it was one of the hardest years of my life, I learned so much about myself and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s made me appreciate the smaller things in life (as cliche as that may sound), and remember who the people who truly matter are. For me, 2018 was a reminder that family is everything, and I should never forget that. So here we go, first post of the year, my 2018 in moments.

 

January 1st // New Year’s at the beach- Started off 2018 the best way possible, laying out at Manhattan Beach. Even though it was cloudy and cold (and I was basically in a sweatshirt the whole time), being outside and with a bunch of my friends was such a fun way to ring in the new year. And plus, how lucky am I to be able to go to the beach in January?!

March 9th // Home for Spring Break- My Christmas present for the year before was a plane ticket home for spring break, since my winter break is so short (as you can imagine, I burst out in tears when I got my plane ticket). I was able to fly back to Singapore for 9 days and see all my favorite people, eat all my favorite things and go to all my favorite places. Being able to spend an extra week at home with my family was an absolute highlight of my year, and plus it was a surprise which made it twice as good.

March 24th // Marched for our lives- While it’s extremely devastating that it’s come to the point where we have to march for the safety of children’s lives, it was so incredible to stand alongside so many others who are fighting the same fight. After spending an evening making our posters, my friends and I were proud to show up to DTLA wearing our ‘March For Our Lives’ shirts and walk next to so many other people from all walks of life who were all there to end the most preventable form of death in our nation. That day made me extremely proud and brought so much hope.

May 13th // Mother’s Day back at home- And then we were back in Singapore for summer, and started off the break by celebrating the most amazing woman in my life. I was SO happy to be able to make it back in time to celebrate with her. My sister and I went as all-out as we could with flowers, balloons, presents and dinner at home to try and show my mom how much she meant to us. And Singapore even treater her to a gorgeous sunset to top it all off.

June 25th // Beach getaway with the family- With only a few more weeks to go in South East Asia, we had to get another Phuket trip in. One of our go-to destinations for long weekends and breaks, we were lucky enough to spend a few days at Le Meridien in Phuket as a family to soak in some beach time. We dined at our favorite restaurants in the area and got in tons of tropical cocktails during happy hour too. It was so much fun to be away with my family for a little bit and to celebrate 20 years of life in South East Asia.

July 6th // Last day in our home of two decades– Finally, after 20 years and 3 months, my family said thank you to Singapore for being the city that raised our family. We spent the last days on my favorite island eating all of our favorite foods, including hawker food, steamboat, dim sum, all the brunch and char siu noodles, soaking in all the beauty of the city and spending time with dear, old friends. There are no words to express all the feelings and emotions that were felt over those last two weeks. While it was with tears of sadness that we said see you later, the tears were also happy as we remembered all the amazing and incredible people and memories that Singapore had given us. Bittersweet, to say the least.

July 7th // First day in our new home, Tokyo- But as we said goodbye to one home, we said hello to another. While we had visited Tokyo many times before, this time was different. We slowly learned to make Tokyo our home. Couch by couch, street by street, house by house. As we went back to some of our favorite places, we also ventured out to new areas, tried new restaurants, met new people and slowly became more and more comfortable in our new home. And while it will never replace Singapore, it’s opened us with nothing but open arms.

August 25th // Juuban Matsuri (end-of-summer festival)- To get rid of all of those back-to-school blues we spent one of the last days of summer (and one of my last days in Tokyo) with friends at the Obon Matsuri in Azabu Juuban. We spent the evening walking through the crowded, vendor-filled streets eating tonkatsu (fried pork) on a stick, playing traditional obon games and sipping on frozen sangria. As crazy and chaotic (and sweaty!) as it was, it was so much fun to celebrate the end of an amazing summer in such a special way.

October 30th // A week in LA with dad- I was SO excited for my dad to come and to be able to spend a week with him in LA in the middle of the semester. We did everything from going to the Grove, walking around Beverly Hills, eating so much brunch and Dim Sum and exploring the original Farmer’s Market. We also headed over to Claremont for a night to spend some time with my grandparents and were able to catch up with close family friends. Having a quick break from campus life was much needed and so much fun!

November 21st // Thanksgiving road-trip to San Francisco- After my grandparents decided to forgo our traditional Thanksgiving, we decided to go on a short trip up to San Francisco. We started with a two day drive up the coast and spent a night in the cute little seaside town of Cambria (seriously, the cutest town ever!). After getting to SF, we spent the next few days walking around the city, grabbing lunch at Pier 39 and of course having steamboat for Thanksgiving dinner, because what else would you do? My grandparents absolutely love SF, so they took me back to all their favorite places, including their two favorites, Lori’s Diner and Sears Fine Food on Powell Street. And to top off the weekend, we were able to watch the first Macy’s Christmas tree lighting of the season.

December 13th // Home for Christmas- And finally, the highlight of my year for sure, being home (in Tokyo) for Christmas. I was crazy excited to be home with my family for the holidays this year, and to have a real winter Christmas. I was so lucky to be able to spend so much time with my favorite people doing Christmas shopping, eating at our go-to places (and a bunch of new ones), going to Disneyland (whole post on Tokyo Disney going up soon!) and of course doing anything and everything Christmassy. We had so many cozy movie nights, nice dinners out on the town, Christmas parties and endless cuddles with my puppy. It was simply one of the best Christmases ever.

I already have so many amazing things lined up for 2019 and can’t wait to see where this year brings me.
Happy New Year! xx

Life Through A Lens #21- BACK TO REALITY

 

New Year, Same Me

One of the best things about 2017, for me, was that it was a year of discovery in many ways. I learned so much about myself, the people around me, the places I love and the world in general. With so many huge milestones happening this year, it would be hard not to stumble upon new discoveries. Usually at the beginning of every year I write my new years resolutions, typically revolving around school and swimming. This year when trying to write them, I found it particularly hard to think of anything. I starting reflecting on the past year and everything that had happened and I had learned. Instead of writing resolutions for the year, I decided to write myself vows, vows that I know have been created out of the experiences I’ve had over the past couple of years. My vows for the year represent who I am as a person and all the things I hold near and dear to my heart.

With lots of new and exciting content coming to the blog this year, I thought a perfect way to start is to share some of my vows for the year with you all. What are some of your resolutions/vows/goals for the year? Let’s share them in the comments below!

My Vows

1. I vow to put my family above everything else. After leaving home for college this year, I realized that there is absolutely nothing that is more important to me than the close bond I have with my family.

2. I vow to love myself and my body no matter what and to appreciate all the things my body allows me to do . After dealing with many years of body image struggles, I feel like 2017 was the first full year where I never looked in the mirror and thought I was fat or felt the need to suck my stomach in while wearing a bikini. It also happened to be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

3. I vow to allow myself to try new things, even if it seems scary. If there was a theme to this year, it would be trying new things. I’m going to be completely honest, most of the new things I tried were terrifying at first (ie. leaving home for the first time), but they also ended up being some of the best parts of the year.

4. I vow to become an adventurer of the world as best as I can. One of my biggest passions is traveling, and I was lucky enough to travel to two new countries (New Zealand and Korea) last year that I absolutely fell in love with. I hope that I can add another new country to the list this year. But beyond traveling to new countries, I vow to allow myself to explore the areas around me, whether it’s in Singapore, LA, or Tokyo, and to appreciate all the natural beauty of the world.

5. I vow to treat my body and mind as a temple, but in a balanced and healthy way. Of course I love working out, staying fit and eating healthy, but I also love skipping a day at the gym or pool to go explore a new city with my family and to eat food I love (even if it’s not the healthiest). I felt like 2017 was the most balanced year I have had. I focused on my health and fitness every single day, but also allowed myself to take a break if I felt like I needed it.

6. I vow to open myself up to new hobbies and passions. I had an amazing moment earlier this year where I discovered what I felt my life purpose was. That moment only came from allowing myself to try and find new things I was passionate about. I vow to allow myself room to try new things that I have an interest in, knowing full well that I may fail.

7. My last vow is to allow myself to be 100% real, authentic and honest on my blog and Instagram. This is something that I learned to do over the past 6 months, and it has been amazing. It’s not easy to be out on social media sharing personal information about your life and struggles, but I think it’s important for all of us to show our true selves every day on every platform. My whole goal through my blog and Instagram is to inspire others to be healthier, happier and laugh a little more. I have been amazed at the responses and messages I get to my posts, it’s what keeps me going every single day and I vow to keep that up as best as I can through this year.

I just wanted to end this by saying how extremely grateful I am to all of you for reading my posts and following along on my life adventures. This blog and Instagram have quickly become one of my biggest passions and I am so thankful for that!