2017 in Review
Just like that another year has passed right before our eyes. If we don’t act deliberately and intentionally about how we spend our time, it can simply slip away before we can begin to notice. This is why near the end of a year—or at the beginning of a new one—I like to reflect and take stock of what transpired, how I felt, what I learned and what I gained or lost.
In that spirit, for the last 12 days of December, I shared a photo a day on Instagram summarizing each month. While I’m far from a photographer, the image serves to distill the essence of the bygone month. Here is the complete compilation of 2017—in photos and videos.
After a year in Korea, I went back home to Chicago because I realized a year is the longest I can go without spending time with my family IRL. Returning felt like accessing an alternate reality I left behind—I made peace with the transition of certain friendships, and I had a case of the post-travel blues upon getting back to SoKo.
What an emotional roller coaster this month turned out to be. Lots of inner uncovering and untangling was done—crying galore, accepting, letting go... It was *intense* indeed. This would be the genesis of a beautiful art event (held later in the year) centered around self-expression.
During this month, Michelle (one of my closest friends) left Korea in favor of gallivanting through beaches in SE Asia and later for the unending sunshine of LA… I'm no stranger to saying goodbye to dear friends—both my bff's live in diff time zones. But I still mourn Michelle's absence.
The theme of interpersonal relationships started to solidify itself during March and has continued since.
This was hustle mode to wrap up the last details of my book baby—about the influence of my beloved abuelo Alejandro—which was 3+ years in the making! It's surreal to look back on this special project. I had all the feels throughout the long process—excitement, frustration, pride, anxiety, smug joy, self-doubt and so on. But it's all worth it for my gramps Nanito.
My book went live a few days before my 26th birthday! The outpour of love & support was overwhelming. I was (and still am) deeply moved by it.
Catharsis book launch/art event took place at the end of June and WOW. Poetry, dance performances, live music, a mini painting exhibition, a reading from moi… What a magical and special night that was. I still relish the sweet memory of it all.
This was a rough month. After the great high of celebrating my book launch and turning 26, a terrible low settled in. I felt lonely, melancholic and homesick. I hung in there because feeling lonely is part of being human. And, because "negative" emotions are a part of a happy life.
After a year and a half, I reunited with my dearest friend Rach in China! We had an adventure-filled 2-week vacation that included plenty of sightseeing, sisterly bickering and laughs galore. It's kind of sad not to know when we'll see each other again but also reassuring that despite the distance our friendship grows and strengthens.
I visited Osaka + Kyoto where I ate all the ramen, visited all the temples, and hung out with lovely fellow travelers (and locals). Zenning out solo in Japan was a little taste of the backpacking that awaits me in 2 months!!
I spent Halloween in Seoul. As always, trips to this vibrant metropolis are a whirlwind of dancing, partying and eating proper Mexican food. I dig Seoul *a lot.* Countless times I've wondered what it would have been like to live there instead of Daegu... Who knows, maybe one day I'll spend more than a few days there at a time.
Fall in Korea is a spectacular sight to behold. The crisper weather and the changing foliage are a great start to hibernation season. This November I became an aunt for the 3rd time to a lovely niece! I'm counting down the days to meet her in less than 2 weeks.
With 2 months left in Korea before I set off to backpack SE Asia, I enjoyed myself while hustling to meet the goals I set at the beginning of the year. December was about ensuring all the things I said I'd do were done or underway all the while establishing new goals for 2018.
How was your year?