Happy New Year! In reading many posts on FB and IG, it seems like 2017 was a very tough year for many (myself included), and there’s massive relief for its ending. I like how seeing there’s so much hope for everyone when the new year rings in…hope that there’s a fresh start, and hope that things will be better. New goals are set with recharged motivation. It’s a wonderful, renewed energy. But can I just share some even greater news with you? There’s no magic in January 1st. There is a constant ray of light shining on us, regardless of what day of the year it is. It’s the ray of light and hope that God shines on us every single day that we wake up. Each day is a new gift, a chance to have a fresh start, not just the first day of the year. So don’t despair if our life starts feeling difficult again on March 5th. Because on March 6th when we wake up it’s a brand new day again and we can choose to have the same motivation and positive attitude as we do today, on January 1st. Most importantly, let’s choose gratitude each and every day. Cheers to a promising new day, every single day of the year!
Here’s our annual year in review in photos! We’ve had quite a year of travels and many of those travels were with friends and family. What a blessing to have spent so much quality time with people that we love!
January 2017- My teenage cousins from Puerto Rico visited us and we took them to Lake Tahoe for a really memorable ski/snowboard trip that almost costed our lives! Immense gratitude for our survival and the quality time we spent with them during a snow storm up there. After they left, Bridgette and I reverted back to our homeschooling life with a mix of online classes, desk work, and fun outings!
February 2017– My big 4-0 birthday kicked off our whirlwind travels, with Hong Kong as our “home base” in between travels. We began with a trip to Tainan with my cousins where we ate non-stop for 3 days. After that, we spent some time in Hong Kong, where we continued to eat and celebrate both Bridgette and my birthday some more! One of our highlights include getting to meet up with our friends from SF, Nancy and Kevin, who happen to be in Hong Kong the same time we were. We had such a great time lunching with a lovely former client, Christine, shopping in Central, high tea-ing at the Mandarin Oriental, riding aimlessly on the Hong Kong tramways, and hunting for the best roast duck in town for dinner.
March 2017–A giant THANK YOU to my parents for letting Bridgette stay with them in Hong Kong while I flew to Osaka and Kyoto for a week with some of my girlfriends from SF for a girls’ trip! After that, I flew back to Hong Kong for a few days and then together with Bridgette, flew back to Japan….this time, to Fukuoka for a week, to visit one of her best buddies Ruby and her family. When it was time to say good bye, we flew back to Hong Kong one last time, spent a few more days with our family, and then boarded the plane back to SF except this time, we brought Brianne with us for her Easter break! The fun didn’t stop when we returned to SF as we had our cousins visiting from Australia and there were so many wonderful gatherings with them.
April 2017–We got a short break back at home, where Bridgette and I enjoyed outings to Dandelion Chocolate, Filoli Gardens, and a free staycation at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco thanks to Alan’s work. A highlight of the month was getting to host our dear friends Meme and Horace at our home. They visited for a week with their precious daughter Madison, who fell in love with our staircase at home and totally bonded with Bridgette despite the 6 year age difference!
May 2017–We continued to stay put at home this month to catch up with our friends and family here. This included quite a bit of playdates and sleepovers at our house for Bridgette and her friends! Towards the end of the month we managed to fit 2 staycations in–one at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto (courtesy of a raffle prize I won last year) and the second one at Carmel Valley Ranch (courtesy of my sis and brother in law) and both were super fun and relaxing. We ended the month with the lovely wedding of Lorraine and Erick, and Bridgette was over the moon to get to attend a wedding again!
June 2017–This was a really special month. Not only did we get to welcome Mimi, Brianne and Brady again for their 2 month long summer stay, but we also got to have a big family trip to Vancouver and Alaska (via Disney Cruise) with my parents, Alan’s parents, and my uncle, aunt and cousin from Puerto Rico! Brian also flew directly to Vancouver from Hong Kong to join us! Traveling with such a large group definitely had its fair share of challenges, but I’m so, so glad we did it because we created some pretty amazing memories together on that trip!
July 2017– After our big trip, we returned to the Bay Area and continued on with some of our summer favorites, such as Off the Grid at the Presidio, Great America, San Carlos Farmer’s Market, and so much more! Two weeks into the month, the girls and their cousins Jovi and Sherwin, left for their very first week-long camp at Kidder Creek (about 6 hours north of SF). The kiddos were so “nervouscited” which is a word they made up to describe feelings of nervousness + excitement. 🙂
August 2017–As always, it was sad for us to say good bye to Mimi, Brianne and Brady once August rolled around, but that didn’t quite mark the end of summer for us yet. We had more pool time with friends, celebrated more birthdays, and took a weekend trip to Lake Tahoe with a few other families to soak in the last of the summer sunshine. A highlight of the month was a visit from our Toronto friends Monica and Fiona. We had such fun taking them around San Francisco, cooking together, and chatting into the wee hours of the night with them.
September 2017–In between fraction quizzes on Khan Academy, daily creative writing assignments and the start of American history, we managed to squeeze in more birthday parties and playdates….including our much anticipated visit to the Museum of Ice Cream here in San Francisco! At the end of the month, we packed our bags again and embarked on our very first overseas mother/daughter trip to…COPENHAGEN!
October 2017–After returning home from Copenhagen, we had about a week to unpack and to get over our jetlag before we repacked our bags for 3 days in Vegas (for Alan’s work), Hong Kong, and then Chiang Mai! It was definitely an eventful month of travels. 7 airports, 10 flights, 4 destinations…all in the span of a month’s time. But, it was definitely worth it because we got to spend SO much quality time with our family overseas! We came home the day before Halloween, so that Bridgette can spend her favorite holiday with her friends here!
November 2017–After the marathon of flights, we finally came home and took a much needed break. My uncle brought back grandpa’s ashes from Hong Kong, and we buried him next to my grandma in Colma. This month was spent catching up with some homeschooling projects, serving at our church, and just enjoying the change of season and pace at home. Some highlights include planning a surprise birthday dinner for my cousin Connie, and hosting my cousin, Celine, who came to visit us over Thanksgiving weekend from Boston. Bridgette also got offered her first paid job–dog sitting for our friends Nancy and Kevin, as well as our neighbors!
December 2017–We stayed home for the holidays this year and were super happy to host my sister and her family from Hong Kong. Although having a toddler in the house meant constant chaos in every way, God helped us to embrace it all so that we could enjoy each other’s company. And enjoy we did! We kept our tradition of visiting Christmas at the Park, played board games at home and laughed till our bellies hurt, came together to cook a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, and visited our favorite museums and parks. My sis and I surprised the girls on a 2 day getaway, to none other than one of their favorite places–DISNEYLAND!
We spent the last day of 2017 with my cousins to ring in the new year together, and while we did not quite make it to midnight as a group (#signsofaging) we still had some great laughs to end the year.
As I write my annual Year in Review post, I always have such fun reflecting on everything that we did. God has gifted me something very precious, and that is the gift of time. I’m so glad that I get to use this gift in a way that allows me to grow my faith and to create the most amazing memories with people that I love.
2018 is going to be a year of transition for me as I take on a full time homeschooling parent role….a role that I never thought I’d be in. But when God calls me to do something, I just have to trust that He will take the lead. And so, I’m eager to embrace this new role and everything (good and bad) that will come with it. We have some exciting travel plans in place already for this year, but as always, we’ve also left room for spontaneity and I can’t wait to experience all of God’s plans for my family!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6