Monday, January 12, 2015

7 Years Ago...


Fresh out of university and antsy to start a new chapter in my life, I was very excited (and a teeny tiny bit petrified) when I boarded that plane in Cape Town back in 2008; that plane would take me from my beloved country to the other side of the world to the unknown. (Really, I knew zero about Taiwan. Only that it was a small island in Asia, and that I would teach English for a year and try to travel a bit while I was there.) Bye bye Table Mountain, family and friends and hello chopsticks, funny characters I can't read and lots and lots of scooters. Well, all these things happened, and then some...

Today is my 7-years-in-Taiwan anniversary. Yep, SEVEN! How did that happen!? Actually, the answer is quite simple; Life in Taiwan is great and this country has been good to me. I met the love of my life here, I've made friends from all over the world, I have a job that I'm passionate about (and they treat me well), I can travel easily from here, Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world, the cost of living is affordable, Taipei is a super convenient city to live in and the list goes on and on... I guess the real question should be, "How could it not have happened!?"

Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if I didn't make the choice to come to Taiwan. Where in the world would I be now? What would be different? I can't even imagine it. Let's just say I'm thankful that I made that decision to move to "the unknown", because it worked out pretty freakin' well for me and I wouldn't want it any other way. Thanks for seven thrilling, adventurous, crazy, exciting and happy years, Taiwan!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My 2014 Highlights


Good job, 2014! You did not disappoint in the least bit. Here we are at the end of another eventful year, with a lot of ups and unforgettable moments. As I was browsing through my photos from the past 12 months, I just couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face. It has been a very special year for us, and I'd like to share my personal highlights with you.

Our Bachelor/Bachelorette Party


Our "Barbie" themed bachelor/bachelorette party

I have the best friends in the world! No, seriously, I do! They decided to throw The Husband and me a party together in Cape Town, which was perfect because I wanted to celebrate this joyous time with ALL of my friends. The theme was "Barbie" and everyone dressed up. They went above and beyond with the food and decorations, and we had a blast eating, dancing, drinking, talking and taking pictures. My favorite part was catching up with all of my friends, some of whom I haven't seen for three years. That evening was so special to me, and I'll never forget it!

My Bridal Shower


Getting spoiled at my Bridal Shower

My sister and best friend arranged a beautiful bridal shower for me, two days before our wedding. I was blown away by all the effort they had put into it. I hope they know how much I appreciated that. It was such a fun party; the food, setting, champagne, presents, and of course the great company, was perfect and just what the bride needed to relax before the big day.

Our Wedding


The Big Day

Of course, this was a biggie. The most exciting and magical event of the year for me was our wedding in South Africa. I married the love of my life on a beautiful farm outside my home town, and celebrated with our entire family and all of our friends (whom had all made the long journey to the most Southern tip of Africa to share in this joyous occasion with us.) It was even better than I could have imagined, and it still feels like a dream. (You can read my entire recount of our wedding day here.)


Summer Vacation in South Africa


Fun in the sun

The Husband and I spent three weeks in South Africa with our families and it was incredible! The weather was lovely, and we spent many days at the beach soaking up the sun. The In-laws made the long journey from North Carolina, USA as well, and it was the first time our families met. I'll never forget the night my entire family and The Husband's entire family were all under one roof (which is a huge deal considering there are MANY of us, and we live in four different countries); I'll treasure the memory of that night forever. Also, many of our friends flew from all over the world to South Africa for our wedding, and it was so incredible to have them all in my home country, and to have them there to celebrate our wedding with us. Their efforts to make it to our wedding really meant so much to us, and we'll be forever grateful for that. (You can read all about our summer in South Africa here.)

Our New Home


Home Sweet Home

After The Husband and I got back to Taiwan from our vacation in South Africa, we decided that it was time for a new apartment. By that time we had been in the same apartment in Taipei for 4 years. We were so lucky to find a beautiful newly renovated place in a great neighborhood close to a huge park in Taipei City. We've had so much fun these past few months furnishing and decorating our new home.

Another Anniversary


5 wonderful years together

In April, The Husband and I celebrated our 5th anniversary together. It's been 5 years filled with happiness and more love than my heart can possibly handle. I still feel like the luckiest lady to have snatched that one up!

More Wedding Bells



My amazing brother and brother-in-law

Not only did I get to marry my soul mate this year, my brother did the same. It's hard for me to express how incredibly thankful I am that my big brother found the person that brings him this much happiness, and that they can now spend the rest of their lives together. They got hitched in New York City and are now living in sunny California.

Summer Trip to the Desert


Summer in Dubai

On a whim, I made a little trip to the desert to go and visit my sister, brother and sister-in-law (whom all live in Dubai). It just so happened that my mom was also in Dubai at that time. It made me so happy to spend so much quality time with my family, and Dubai is always an interesting and exciting place to visit. (Here's my detailed Dubai Diary.)

Summer in the States


Relaxing days in the South

This past Summer, The Husband and I went to visit the fam in North Carolina for three weeks. It had been 3 years since my last visit, and I couldn't wait to see my nieces and nephews, and of course the entire family. We also made road trips to Charleston, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina, which were both amazing places to visit. My best friend from South Africa also joined us there. (She's now dating my brother-in-law! How perfect is that!?).

Adopting Our Fur Baby


On a 10-point scale of cuteness, Toby is about a 15.

This year, we were ready to adopt a fur child. The Husband and I are both dog lovers, and it has been my dream to adopt a dog here in Taiwan. When we moved into our new place, it had to be pet friendly. When we adopted our fur baby, he was about five or six months old and we named him Toby. He is the sweetest, cutest, and most lovable fur ball you'll ever see in your life, and I couldn't possibly love him any more than I already do. (Here's our adoption story.)

Taiwan Road Trip


Sunrise at 10 000 feet

I've been in Taiwan for a loooong time (I first moved here in 2008), and even though I've seen a lot of the island, I've never been to Hehuan Mountain, one of the highest mountains in Taiwan. Together with two of our friends, The Husband and I made a road trip to the mountains. It was a long drive, and it was very cold up there. We had to get up at 4:15am to have enough time to hike up the peak to reach the summit before sunrise. Watching the sunrise from 10 000 feet above sea-level with The Husband was one of the most magical, peaceful and breathtaking experiences of my life.

Friends and Family Announced Engagements, Graduations, Weddings and Little Pink Feet


Lots of celebrations in 2014

Another year filled with births, wedding bells, graduations and ring-finger bling. Every time I see one of these announcements on Facebook, I can't help but feel a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It's wonderful to see my loved ones so happy! I wish I could attend all of those engagement parties and weddings and celebrations, and I wish I could cuddle all the cute babies, but being in Taiwan, it's just not always possible. I do carry all these people around in my heart every day.

Visitors in Taiwan


Taipei, my home away from home

In February, Emirates started flying to Taipei, which meant my family and friends whom are flight attendants for them had numerous trips to my city. So far, my sister has had three trips to Taipei, my brother one, and one of my friends have been here five times. I love when they visit, as I get to be a tourist in my own city. And even though we only have one day to catch up, I enjoy every second I get to spend with them.

I hope I'm not leaving anything out on the list, and I sincerely hope each one of you had a wonderful 2014. Remember, "Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day." Of course we are going to have bad days and sad experiences as well, which I choose to learn and grow from. But I encourage you to find the good in every day, and to celebrate and appreciate those moments, things and people that make you smile.

I have so much to be thankful for, and therefore choose to live a life of gratitude and positivity. I choose to build others up and celebrate their successes with them, and I strive to live my life with integrity and acceptance. Taking on (sometimes scary and overwhelming) opportunities that come my way, and creating new experiences to enjoy and to grow from is what I'm aiming to achieve in 2015.

I wish each and every one of you a blessed and joyful 2015! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!


MERRY CHRISTMAS, friends! 

If you are lucky enough to share the holidays with your loved ones, enjoy and appreciate every second. Even though I have to work today, I'm so very thankful for all my blessings and that I'll be able to spend Christmas with the love of my life, my fur baby and our friends later. 


Eat, drink, laugh, love and BE MERRY!

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