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Thank you, 2012

Oh, 2012, you were a year of self discovery. It followed the trend of my life-each year gets even better than the last. I spent this entire past year living and working in Taipei, and although it sounds pretty mundane, it was anything but. Here are some highlights:

Team Max: My first team sport happened to be dragon boat rowing. Very, VERY competitively-and my girl’s team won FIRST PLACE! Definitely one of the happiest moments of my life because we worked HARD. Like, getting up at 5:30 am every weekday to work out like crazy, and then going to work smelling like lifejackets and river water. Also, I met very cool people, some of which are my best friends here in Taiwan now!

SHIDA: I love going to Chinese school. I took a second term at National Taiwan Normal University this Spring, and almost finished Book 3! It’s amazing being able to read out sentences and whole stories and understand it all. Plus, my classmates were a wild bunch and made the whole term unforgettable. It’s never too late to learn a new language!

Lu Dao Island: That was also unforgettable. This trip showed the power of true friendship to prevail against all weather. Mariel, Joanna and I went to Lu Dao, an island off the east coast of Taiwan, to spend Joanna’s birthday weekend. I was absolutely miserable but ironically I also had one of the best weekends ever. We were cycling around the island, most of which was uphill, during a typhoon that lasted all trip, and I refused to wear a poncho. Good times.

BEING SINGLE: Yes, that was one of my highlights this year. I enjoyed the heck out of it too! I went hiking with friends, I partied, I went on causal dates, bought a guitar, I went on all-day cycling trips, went to concerts, jumped off rocks, ate everything I wanted, and soaked in my summer of freedom. I was insanely happy, in great shape and barely had to work. I was proud of myself for standing tall and being able to laugh at my future with confidence.

Taipei 101 Run: One of the coolest things I can tell people when I’m old!!! I ran up the stairs of Taipei 101, from the bottom ALL the way to the top. Taipei 101 is one of the tallest buildings in the world! (2nd? It keeps on changing! Stop it, Dubai.)

Bali: Sun, sun, sun. Beautiful beaches, streets full of colorful shops, Bitang beer, perfect.

My Students: Over the summer K2 graduated, did a spectacular job on their graduation performance, and now I am their K3 teacher as well! I know every parent brags about their kids, but this class is really talented. I know each one well by now-I know what they want to be when they grow up, I know what they are allergic to, I know which ones have lost which teeth, I even know how many rooms their apartments have (cause they tell me everything). I taught them Gangnam style and they picked it up in an hour. I can teach them any song, in English, and they’ll singing and making up dance moves for it by the end of the week. I adore them, and they adore me.

Gaelic Football-the Celts: After Team Max, there was the Celts. Gaelic football is a cross between rugby and Australian football. You catch with your hands, kick, or pass it over the goal. It was the most confusing game to learn, but it was good fun. This is how I was covered in dirt every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday over the summer into the fall. And I almost picked up an Irish accent too. Well, at least I picked up an Irish boyfriend…

Love: Most definitely always a highlight! Sometimes the most unexpected things turn out to be more wonderful than you could ever have imagined. (I’m pretty sure that’s been quoted by someone, somewhere.) No room for the whole love story here, but we met on Team Max, went river tracing w a group of friends, ran into each other at a few more parties, I joined the Irish sport, and BAM now we’re taking on the world togetherrrrrrrr.

So, here’s to 2012-may the next year continue to bring in good health, strong friendships, new adventures, and true love.

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