December 31, 2018

2018 Highlights + Lessons Learned

2018. Man. What. A. Year.

Do you ever have those "pinch me, I must be dreaming" moments? That was me this whole year. From living to a different state for half the year, being in a wedding for the first time, traveling to new cities and everything in between this year has been wild, to say the least.



*Disclaimer: this post is hella long and I suggest snagging a snack, pouring some wine or just getting comfy because this isn't just a recap post... this might as well be a novel. You've been warned

To say that this past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions is the understatement of the year. I knew at the beginning of the year that 2018 would be an adventure, but I would have never had imagined all the growth and experiences I would have to go through as well. Sure there were a few bumps in the road in the past year, but all the highs from this past year completely outweigh all of those.


From day one 2018 greeted me with new experiences. I rang in the New Year with my former college roommate, Rachel by bar hopping in NoDa. This was actually my first year going out for New Year's Eve and it was so fun ringing in the New Year with one of my college friends. Little did I know this would set the tone for the rest of year.


Right from the start of the year, my social life took off way more than it did in 2017. From having goodbye dates with to having a last hoorah in Charlotte with some friends I didn't realize this is how things would be for the rest of the year. I'm pretty sure there was a point in January where I was meeting up with someone every day for a week and a half... which for me at the time was wild. I love being around people, but I do tend to have my introvert tendencies.


I, of course, cannot mention 2018 without talking about the Disney College Program. Heck, I can't even go one blog post without mentioning it... Moving down to Florida and going through the DCP was such a big part of 2018 and I credit so much of what I learned about myself through that experience. To save you all the repetition of going through every detail I did a full post on my experience in the Disney College Program.


One of the biggest things I was so grateful for taking away from the Disney College Program was getting to meet so many amazing people and making friends with people who I really do believe will be in my life for a long time. I know I've probably said it a thousand times, but I really am so grateful to have such amazing people in my life through the program.

I was looking through my photos from this past year to help jog my memory on what has happened this past year and I came across a photo of a wall I had signed my second day in the program titled "What are you most looking forward to?" and I had written "making new friends" which I had completely forgotten about until now!


Working for the Walt Disney Company has been one of the craziest experiences I've had to date and has definitely pushed me out my comfort zone. If you all didn't know, my role was merchandise in Zone 3 at Disney Springs (aka, I worked retail at 5 different stores in Disney Springs!). I had actually worked my first retail job last year for a boutique in Charlotte for six months, but man that is nothing compared to retail in Disney.

Retail in Disney is like retail on crack. Again, ya girl has some introvert tendencies and can be pretty shy at first so the fact that Disney encourages their Cast Members to frequently interact with their guests and essentially put on a show when you work was a bit intimidating terrifying to me. Now, I wouldn't say ya girl can go up and strike up a conversation with any random stranger and not feel like she's about to have a full-on panic attack every time (LOL maybe more like 65% of the time), but I have gotten better, and improvement is all we can ask for, am I right?


Another big take away I had gotten out of the DCP was the importance of nurturing your relationships with others. I know this may sound like a weird thing to finally learn at 23 but it was such a big eye opener on how much I've neglected my relationships with others in the past (due to varying factors, of course).

I've really tried to make more of an effort this past year to stay connected to friends, especially those who are in a different state and visit as often as I can. This past year really made me open my eyes on the whole "you are the reflection of the five people you surround yourself with" and I think I've started to find my people.


I could go on and on for days about my time during the DCP, but I'll stop myself here. Getting able to live and work in Disney for six months was an absolute dream, but my eventful year didn't stop there.


This past year I was so fortuned enough to travel and add new countries and cities onto my list of places I've been to. Right off when I got back from Florida I made a quick turn around two weeks later to head back down to the Sunshine State to hope on a cruise ship to spend a week in the Carrabiean with some family!


Not only was this one of the best family vacations I've been on in a while, but it was a much-needed opportunity to get close with my family again (again, probs wasn't the best with maintaining relationships with others in the past tbh!!). I mean, being on a boat together for a solid week it's hard not to have some bonding time!


I also had the honor of being a part of one of my college friend's weddings as well! This was the first wedding I was ever in and it was so special being part of her special day. We had spent her bachelorette party in Savannah, GA and it was so fun to 1. finally cross visiting Savannah off my bucket list and 2. celebrating the beautiful bride!

The weekend of the wedding was actually held when Hurrican Florence hit North Carolina. Thankfully we were all safe and the wedding ended up being beautiful but it was definitely a little scary at the time dealing with all the rain! Which I would later find out is a common theme with my travels for the rest of the year... no joke, every trip I've made there has either been a hurricane (Florence or Matthew), severe thunderstorm warning, rain all weekend or some type of inclement weather.


One thing you all may not know about me is that I am not the biggest fan of driving. Driving low key stresses me out and especially driving in new cities / unfamiliar places so the fact that I drove from North Carolina to Florida not once, but twice was such a big deal.

But I didn't stop there. Pretty much almost every other week in the second half of this year I was driving to a different city to visit friends or just to have a day trip whether it be Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville or Charlotte! In fact, in the month of December I made the trip to Charlotte every other week which is wild to me considering that again, ya girl hates driving. I'm pretty sure I packed on more miles this year than I have four years in college... I'm a change woman y'all.

...oh, that's another thing. I started saying y'all this year and it's the weirdest thing, but I'm kinda rolling with it.


You'd think after spending six months in Disney it'd be enough to hold me over for at least a solid year, right? Wrong. In October I booked my (first solo) flight to Orlando to be reunited with my roommates and attend my first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! Even though it had only been about two months since I last saw my roommates, it felt so good to be reunited with them and getting to fully experience Disney as a guest... which was a bit odd tbh.


Continuing on the trend of traveling and firsts, this past Thanksgiving was the first time I traveled up north to spend it with my family in Philadelphia. The trip was very last minute, but again, very thankful and glad I made the trip up there to spend some time with family (are you all starting to see a common theme with this past year??).



I'm pretty sure I spent most of the trip eating and gained a solid 20lbs by the end of the trip (see my round up in this blog post), but it was so worth it! This past trip to Philadelphia made me realize how much I wish we had some type of Asian community near us because I 1. miss all the amazing food and 2. realized how out of touch I was with my own culture.

There was actually a lot of revelations this past year pertaining to me being Asian-American this past year.  I'm pretty sure some of it has to do with watching the Disney Pixar short Boa and Crazy Rich Asians that sparked it.

To wrap up the end of the year I finally got back into the swing of working out (just in time for the new year!) which was much needed since I definitely slacked off for most of the year. 2018 was definitely a rollercoaster and there are so many more highlights and lessons that I wanted to include but this would actually but novel. Even though there are certain areas I did slack on (my blog, fitness, career-wise....) this past year, I am still so thankful for all the growth and experiences from this past year.

I'm so excited to see what 2019 holds and can't wait to take you all along with me! Thank you so much for those of you who have stuck around this past year! I always love connecting with you all and hope you all have a wonderful new year!

xoxo,
Amy

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