Farewell, 2013!
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 @ 11:59 PM

It's time for the mandatory year-end post to sum up my year. I know I've neglected this blog for a huge part of the year, but I am back!!! Let's see how much I have achieved for the past 365 days:

Resolutions for 2013:

1) Learn to take better photographs
- I did manage to take nicer photographs this year, but that is credited to the beautiful places I explored during Summer and Autumn. <3 I've gotten a chance to really hone my skills through my job though, so I hope this resolution will be achieved in 2014 instead. :)
2) Travel, travel, travel!
- This I managed to achieve! With awesome friends I've made during W&T this year, I traveled so much. ^^ And Montigo with the n5girls plus Korea with some of my favourite girls. <3
3) Master basic Korean
- Erm. I can still read and write, but I've pretty much remained stagnant at that stage. In fact, I kinda think I de-proved - I cannot remember the vocabulary I learned at all now. :O
4) Stay close with my dear friends
- Once I classify you as my dear friend, you'll have nowhere to run HAHAHA!
5) Gymming & Swimming will make me slim!
- That obviously stopped. But USA was good, no Mcspicy = no sinful meals. USA makes me slimmer too. I NEED TO GO BACK.
6) More moments. More memories.
- Yes, this year was a good year filled with memories I will always cherish.
7) Spend more quality time with the family
- ... I will try to achieve that in 2014. :x

The first half of 2013 obviously was not eventful, for I had to go through with the dreadful exams. BUT, the main highlight is that was the LAST examination of my life. I got my degree as per my mum wanted. Both her children are graduates now YIPPEE. That is, unless I decide to continue to pursue my studies, which is kind of impossible unless I get to migrate to USA on a student visa forever or something. HAHA.

Earlier in the year, we surprised our cutest maknae with a surprise trip to Montigo, Batam for her 21st! It was the very first time the n5girls (plus Farah!) went on an overseas adventure together too. ^^ I remember us sneakily contacting her mum for her passport. She didn't know we were going overseas at all up till the time we had to check our passports, and how flustered she was that she didn't have her passport with her! We kept insisting that 'passport' was including in her list of things to pack for the surprise. HAHAHA. I probably have to update a travelogue of that trip. It was an hella expensive, but awesome short getaway! Montigo really lives up to its name as a luxurious retreat.

My sister and Khimwee FINALLY got married after 12 years of courtship. HONESTLY SIS, you could have donated me a year or two to have a romance. So selfish. HAHAHA. Anyhow, it was one hell of a busy day, with the gate-crashing in the morning, solemnization in the evening and wedding dinner at night. My sis kindly put me in the same car as the photography crew from MOJOIDEAS because she thought I would be interested. ^^ They are awesome by the way, and really professional! I love how they provide live-feed services (the kids were super excited by it too) and how beautifully their photographs turn out RAW and UNEDITED. Too amazing.

After which, I embarked on the long-awaited W&T2013, to a small town named Santa Cruz in my favourite state in USA - CALIFORNIA! There, I worked as a ride-attendant in Area 3 at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, where most kiddy rides are located. I love how the Americans never grow old. In the 3 months I worked there, I have seen grandparents taking the rides with their grandchildren, super old couples on Loggers together as well as super young fearless kids eager and excited to grow taller so they can finally play the rides! And the little kids are super adorable. I especially loved working at Bulgy, where kids as young as a year old can sit in little whales bouncing up and down. I also had many eye-candies at work to keep me entertained ;), and made many new life-long friends. <3

This year, because I wasn't alone, we had uncountable road-trips almost every Wednesday. #roadtripweds This Summer, I drove so many different types of cars. I probably drove more in these 4 months than I ever did in the 2 years I got my license. I got my very first speeding ticket in South Dakota, going at a speed of merely 91miles/hr. -.- They could have at least caught me when I was going at 100 or 110?! It's so lame to be ticketed going so slowly. TSK. I drove a convertible (Mustang) for 10 minutes and it was the most uncomfortable drive ever as the pedals were so far in I had to tiptoe the whole day, and MY HAIR WAS ALL OVER THE PLACE. Dangerous. But still, I drove a convertible! ;) Oh, and we drove all the way from Las Vegas to NYC, which was crazy because we were on the road 90percent of the time. I miss driving in USA though. And all 'my' cars. HAHA.

In Santa Cruz, we were introduced to house parties! It's mild compared to the ones we see on the O.C or other dramas of the likes, but it was still pretty fun. One main difference we found out through house parties: we Asians love to play drinking games, while the Westerners prefer to chill over booze.

This Summer, we rented cars every wednesday to explore areas around Santa Cruz. Kaiyang, who was studying in LA, came to visit for a few days. We went to on a scenic drive to Big Sur and beyond (HW1 is officially my favourite highway EVER), San Francisco, Monterey Bay, Napa Valley, Yosemite, Mystery Spot, UCSC and more. We had a few awesome adventures like driving in pure darkness with high beam under the starry skies, singing aloud in the road-trip all the way back from Yosemite, starving on the 5hr drive down the fucking beautiful HW1, spotted wild happy deers and raccoons and so much more. Did I mention how much I love road-trips? <3

I was really beyond fortunate to be roomed with both Marilyn and Carrian. These 2 girls were there for me throughout the Summer, despite the fact that I was totally undeserving of their care, concern and friendship for I was always disappearing, neglecting them or just being plain mean at times. They try all means to cheer me up when I'm down and out, willingly giving up their sleep at night for me to hold drinking parties in Room 502, putting up with my tantrums and moodiness, being genuinely happy for me when I'm happy hahaha, willingly playing wing-women, encouraging me and supporting me in whatever I did. And not forgetting all the lovesick heart-to-heart talks we have before we fall asleep each night. I miss the pillow talks the most. Thank you both for everything. xx

After ending our work in late August, we set off for our 1-month road trip! Me, Sherm and Shane shared an Elantra, which served us well as we made our way down the Californian Coast. For the first leg of the road trip, we drove down south to Pismo, Solvang, Los Angeles (Hollywood Walk of Fame, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Little Tokyo, Korean Town, Malibu Beach, Venice Beach and Santa Monica), Orange County (Newport Beach), San Diego (Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo), Palm Springs and Las Vegas (Diplo, Avicii, Grand Canyon South and Antelope Canyon). In Las Vegas, the Asian Clan met up and had an awesome time. Having to part with them to embark on the 2nd leg of the trip was honestly, upsetting. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but it was really epic. HAHA. I really love California though. Like Carrian always say, we must always leave the place with regrets, so we have things to look forward to in future. For me, there are still a lot of places, a lot of regrets in California. The next time I am there, I am really going to visit more National Parks and State Parks, plan a slow road trip down HW1, or better yet, stay for a long period again.

On the 2nd leg of the road trip, me, Ariel and Minghao split up from the group to continue our road trip from the West to the East. We stopped by Idaho Falls, Yellowstone (where we met with unexpected snow dressed in summer wear, it was a super miserable night but the beauty of the place salvaged its reputation), Flintstone Bedrock City (it was closed HAHA), Mount Rushmore, Sioux Falls, Chicago (the bean!), Niagara Falls (so so so beautiful), Washington DC finally, NYC, where I met up again with the primary crew Sherm and Shane. <3

After the awesome 4 months in USA, we left NYC with a heavy heart. A redeeming factor though, was that we extended our stopover in Taipei, and Charm, Shel and Cheryl came to join us! Other than eating and sleeping, we partied extensively in Taipei, which I love. It really was like a 2nd Vegas, hahaha.

3 weeks after returning from Taipei, me, Pah, Jessic and Eileen flew off to experience Autumn in Korea! I really, really love Korea. Didn't expect myself to love it there so much. I miss the weather, the sights, the road-trip in Jeju, THE FOOD (ESPECIALLY THE FOOD), the shopping in Myeong Dong, the drinks and the clubs, the daily doll-ups and OOTDs and nightly princess masking treatment. Korea is really a happy place I would love to go back again soon. <3

This is such a long and wordy post of all the travels. There are some other things I feel are really memorable in 2013:

I GOT MYSELF A TATTOO!! Those who know me long enough would know I have been wanting to get a tattoo since eons ago, but I have never mastered the courage to do it. Just so happen that we met this mobile tattoo artist at the shady motel we were staying at in San Diego, and after deliberating for the whole afternoon (and a lot of encouragement and stress from the rest lol), I decided to go for it! I've always wanted a lark behind my ear, so this tattoo is actually 2 years late. I had wanted to get it during W&T 2011 because it would signify the first time I am traveling alone, all the way to USA and me achieving my freedom as an adult turning 21. Then again, I love the tattoos of flying lark trails, which is why I ended up with 3 larks instead of 1. Marilyn and Carrian were quick to claim the larks signify the bond between the roomies, and each lark represents each of us. A tattoo can mean so many things. :D I can't wait to get another one in the coming year! Tattoo-ing really does get addictive.

And I formed a new clique (the USA gang!) all thanks to W&T this year, made many new friends in 2013, some closer than the others, and I would love to keep them all close to my heart in the coming year. Please be spontaneous and diligent in the up-keeping of the friendship - every single meet-up counts! Be it for just a supper, partying or whatsoever. I dislike friendships to simply just fade away, especially when once in my life you people played a huge part. And I've never been good with goodbyes, especially the silent, simply disappearing ones. Any single acknowledgement of my annoying text would be good enough! :)

Oh, and by a huge stroke of luck, I got a job as a Google Photographer early in December, and I have been loving my job ever since. For one, I get to play around and be exposed with a lot of different cameras and lenses, learn new post-processing skills and hone my photography skills while earning an income. For the second, my colleagues are all really encouraging and nice, it makes me feel bad sometimes when I make mistakes. In the new year, I hope I can improve my photography skills and do a good job for the company! ^^

Till then, I hope 2014 would be an awesome year for everyone of you in my life. May it be filled with lots of love, happiness and laughter, and each one of you be surrounded by things and people that you love. xx

P.S I should really update the travelogues for 2013 when I find time.

P.P.S I will continue with my resolutions tomorrow. <3