Au Revoir 2016

What a whirlwind of a year 2016 has been. It has beat me down, it has built me up, and it has continued to do what 2015 did –  challenge me. Ever since graduating college, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching to figure out just what I’m meant to do. Spoiler alert: I still don’t know what I’m meant to do. However, I have learned to hone in onto what I love to do. Which is giving back, traveling, writing, and creating content.

#BestNineof2016

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Giving Back

At the beginning of 2016, I was feeling lost and simultaneously inspired. You all know how the New Year tends to do that. I decided to finally sign up to volunteer at the local animal shelter to keep me occupied/sane during my job search. I did that for almost half a year, and I’m eager to get back to continue! The joy I get from volunteering with dogs is borderline silly, but it brings such happiness to me!

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Traveling

This year I was also fortunate enough to do some traveling and cross off some bucket list items. In March, my sister and I traveled with EF College Break to Costa Rica – my first visit to Central America! That was where I embraced the Pura Vida lifestyle, and who knew that half a year later I’d be working at Pura Vida Bracelets!? More on that later.

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A week later, I was off to the valley – the Coachella valley to be exact! I’ve been meaning to go to the Coachella Music Festival since Vanessa Hudgens put it on the map for me, and it finally happened this year. With three of my best friends, we made this dream a reality. My first music festival was THE music festival and it was probably one of the best weekends of my life. Being able to see some of my favorite musical artists (The 1975, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith) brings literal tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Ah, what is life?!

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Another highlight of 2016 was my trip to San Francisco with Diana. I’ve been once before, but not as an adult (okay ew, not using that term ever again). This meant that I also got to experience Wine Country with my best friend, and it was so much fun. Diana and I always manage to go on fun trips, which I’m more than sure we’ll continue in the new year. What do you say to Mexico in the summer, Dee? VAMOS!

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Then there was my trip to Canada, which has been in the making since the end of semester abroad in 2014! It meant a lot to me to see and hang out with Amanda and Sudiksha after all this time. It also got me closer to my imminent return to Europe. Before I travel to Europe again, I wanted to see more of North and South America. It’s actually my goal to be in London in 2018, so I’ve got to get a move on ;)

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Writing + Creating Content

I’m actually really pleased to see that I documented on the blog all of this year’s travels. It was a personal goal of mine to write more and I used this blog to do just that. Admittedly, I’ve fallen in and out of love with this blog. But at the end of the day, it is a passion and a creative outlet. Writing and content creation are things I love, and it’s important to me that it is part of whatever career route I take.

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Which brings me back to Pura Vida Bracelets! These last few months of 2016 I have been grateful enough to get hired at a wonderful company and dip my toes into the world of social media and influencer marketing. It’s been a learning process and I’m so fortunate to finally have the chance to show what I’m made of. I’ve been able to create content for their Instagram, and I have realized that I really really love it. And it’s something I like to believe I’m good at! So here’s to creating more and more in the new year!

Au Revoir, 2016

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2016 also saw another revolution around the sun. Who knew that a person could have an existential crisis at the ripe old age of 22? It was a hard year and I have a feeling 23 will be just as tough, but you know what? So am I. Bring it on, 2017.



2014

What. A. Year.

I will always remember 2014 as the year I didn’t take “no” for an answer. The year I lived in Europe, and made it my playground for the first 7 and a half months of it. The year 16-year-old me fantasized about. The year dreams were made into reality.

It’s already 2015 in my part of the world, and most of the world for that matter. But I couldn’t not talk about this past year. Because it’s been the best year yet!

A year ago I was ringing in the new year in Paris, France, with my famille française – and to this day I am still touched by the kindness and hospitality that I was showered with. Followed by several days in the City of Lights – in a 17th Arrondissement studio apartment – with my French pen pal whom I’ve been exchanging letters with for around 3 years now. How does one top that for a start to a new year?

Then, it was time for my semester abroad in Toulouse. Five entire months of 3-hour long business lectures taught in French that were actually spent on Buzzfeed, Facebook, travel sites, and 2048. These distractions made “study” abroad a bit more tolerable. That and the best distraction of all – the ever-elusive Colombian exchange student: hi Manu if you’re reading this ;)

All jokes aside, the best part of my time abroad (and of 2014) was all the travel I got to do. Paris, Carcassonne, Tarn, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Budapest, Prague, Nice, Monaco, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, London, Cambridge, Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, and last but certainly not least, Dublin. I left Europe not only with a few more stamps in my passport, but also with a yearning to return for a much longer stay. I also came out of it with newfound knowledge and life-long friends from all around the world. A dream.

And then it was time to return to a bittersweet reality. I completed the penultimate semester of my college career. Soon I will be off into the “real,” adult world and the mere thought of that is terrifying. And I think I finally have a clue of what I want – in every aspect – which has got to be even more terrifying.

But most importantly, I believe that 2014 was a year of tremendous personal growth. The Jasmin that started 2014 is different than the one ending it, and it’s a change that was inevitable and must be embraced. I’m ready for you, world.

So with that, I would like to bid adieu to 2014. Thanks for another amazing year, ’twas truly a dream come true.