One year ago, I started a blog called “Where My Feet May Fall” and one of the first blog posts was called “Goodbye Fear, Hello Happiness.” This post was all about my 2016, what had happened, and what I hoped would be waiting for me on the other side of New Years 2017. I detailed my 2016 accomplishments, and my hopes to start a personal renewal when the clock stroke midnight.
Now here we are, one year later and oh has it been a year that was filled with incredible highs and horrible lows. Nationally, 2017 has been a year for the story books… and by that I mean a YA dystopian novel about a nation controlled by a withered old orange man shouting, “FAKE NEWS” at hardworking reporters, grabbing women by the pussy’s and building walls “Attack On Titan” style on the Mexican border.
The Turbulent nature of America’s political climate has affected me personally as an immigrant, a women, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, a journalist and just plainly as a human being.
But all together these unforgettable moments have made up the experiences that have undoubtedly shaped my year.
So, here it is.
My year in review: The Unforgettable Adventures And Enlightening Realizations
The Adventures and Experiences:
- Flying from Cleveland, Ohio to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia all by myself, leaving on December 30th, 2016 – arriving January 1st, 2017.
- snorkeling in Cairns, Australia on the Great Barrier Reef.
- Visiting beaches… to many times to count.
- Touring the interior of the Sydney Opera House.
- Sinking my feet into the surprisingly brisk Bondi Beach water.
- Jumping a fence to get a breathtaking picture of me on the edge of Sydney’s Coogee Cliffs.
- standing atop one of the pillars of Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and taking in the view of so many beautiful sights all at once.
- Attending Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.
- Getting to know the Australian family for which I had spent only two-week periods of time with every couple of years and becoming really close with them. (This made it exponentially harder to leave Australia in the end.)
- Getting on a Flight from the Gold Coast to Melbourne in the middle of a Hurricane.
- Visiting a good friend in Melbourne who reminds me everyday that friendships can happen even when you’re a world apart.
- Going three floors under in a goldmine and turning off the lights
- Seeing the Birdseye view of the city in the Melbourne Eye
- Going bar hopping until 4 a.m. in Melbourne, with a stop at a secret bar called Mantura that had us entering through an unmarked door in a dodgy alley.
- Spending my 22nd birthday at Byron Bay with my aunt, and almost dying while climbing up a mountain to see the lighthouse.
- Walking through the beauty that is the Crystal Castle, which is filled with giant geodes, Buddhist relics and contains the calmest energy I have ever felt.
- Getting sunburnt… a lot. Though I did learn my lesson and started bring sunscreen with me everywhere.
- Letting my hair down and getting absolutely hammered.
- Having the worst hangover of my life that lasted two full days.
- Getting lost and eaten by mosquitos on the Coobabah Koala Trail on the Gold Coast.
- Relying on public transportation and only getting lost a couple of times.
- Continuing my studies at Bond University and experiencing all of its stunning architecture and quirks. (How I do miss that beautiful arch and canal.)
- Living in a shared dorm and realizing that I don’t like living in a shared dorm.
- Watching the Irwin Family interact with Crocodiles in the Crocodile show at Australia Zoo with my Aunts family and holding onto the sadness of not sharing the experience with my mother also at my side.
- Going on little excursions with my aunts family and feeling like a part of something.
- Celebrating others birthdays and actually being present.
- Driving on the wrong side of the street and not hitting anything.
- “Trying” to learn photography… I still can’t remember the F-stops.
- Letting the day/night take me where it liked. (Resulting in many nights with my feet in the sand after drinking a bit too much in the clubs at Surfers Paradise… Shout out the Bedroom and Sincity! lol)
- Sitting on my small and brown duvet clad dorm bed and clicking send on the email to apply for Editor-In-Chief of The Cauldron, my home universities student newspaper that was half around the world in that moment.
- Saying goodbye to Australia on April 25th and traveling back home to Cleveland.
- Sitting in the Communications Lounge of Cleveland State University, dressed in my best blazer and my “fancy” pink pants and waiting to be interviewed by the panel of 8 judges on whether or not I should be voted to become Editor-In-Chief of The Cauldron… all while trying not to vomit.
- Leaving the meeting and sobbing all the way home, thinking that there was no way in hell that I would be voted in.
- Getting the call that I had in fact been voted in as Editor-In-Chief of The Cauldron… and crying some more.
- Spending days and hours building the foundation of what The Cauldron would be and interviewing handfuls of people to become a part of my entirely new team.
- Publishing the first issue of The Cauldron in the fall of 2017 as the Editor-In-Chief and feeling as if all of the time, useless meetings and tears were all worth it and a manifestation of my pride.
- Co-writing a 6000+ word feature that is by far the best piece of journalism that I have been apart of and am extremely proud.
- Becoming an Editorial Intern for Cleveland Magazine.
- Australia voting YES on marriage equality!
The Enlightening Realizations:
- Learning to be alone.
- Making myself consistently step out of my comfort zone.
- Striving to feel comfortable in my body, and sometimes actually succeeding.
- In Australia: feeling comfortable and safe (even when walking around a busy city at night while very, very drunk.)
- Finding my undying love for Australian coffee.
- Building an increased emotional resilience.
- feeling truly happy and unbelievably sad but not defining or judging myself because of it.
- Remembering to not underestimate myself and my abilities.
- Realizing that people change and that sometimes means that its time to say goodbye.
- Loosing people who I believed were my friends and that would be there for me in my decisions but eventually being thankful for the break.
- Faking it till I made it.
- My editorial team becoming a second family for which I know that I can count on and talk to.
- Finally feeling proud of my accomplishment and not afraid to show them off.
- Always being honest so if something happens at least I’m cleaning up an honest mess.
- Feeling like a role model.
- Feeling like I am finally on the right path.
- Knowing that I have fantastic role models to look up to.
- Being assertive and not taking no for an answer.
- Feeling confident.
- Being part of a group of strong, talented and supportive women.
2017 was a year unlike any I had ever experienced before and I will never forget the unexpected opportunities afforded to me and can’t wait to see what will happen in the future.
Bring. It. On.