A Look Back at 2016 

Another year is coming to the end, I feel like time is going too fast lately, but that shouldn’t be a bad thing. I think we can all agree 2016 was a messy year, a lot has happened in the world that has caused distress. As I look back on 2016, it was definitely a year of lessons. I was faced with challenges and people who tested my patience, but I’m a fighter so raised above the adversity. I learned that risk taking and stepping out of my comfort zone allowed me to grow as a person. I learned self-care should not be taken for granted and next year I’ll take better care of myself. In previous blog posts, I’ve written what my goals will be for the following year. This time I want to try something new and talk about what I’ve learned in 2016.

For me personally, 2016 was a tough year, but not as tough as other years. This year was challenging for me because I was faced with the challenge of figuring out my life and how to deal with difficult people. My mentality at the beginning of the year was to have maximum control of how the year would unfold for me and try to prevent anything distressing from happening. Oh, how foolish I was! We do not have power over how life will unfold, things happen to us when we least expect it. However, I have learned you can control your reactions to certain situations. This year I had to deal with a challenging boss, who is not bad person, but she can be condescending. I took on a lot of stress from this and I got sick throughout the year. I had strep throat, ear infection, glands infection, horrible flu with high fever, borderline anemia (I’m cured now) and sinus infection. I would like to point out that I am a teacher at a before and after school program, so that contributed to the sicknesses. On the other hand, the stress from doing a job I do not enjoy and dealing with a difficult boss is definitely another factor to take into consideration.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve learned from 2016.

1. Self-care and Health.

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I have learned that self-care and your heath is the most important thing! Your health should always come first, I had to teach myself to slow down with the daily hustle and tell myself that it’s alright to take a break. I am changing career fields at the moment, switching from youth counseling to work in the arts/culture as marketer or a social media coordinator. I am doing a lot of volunteering, along with working during the week, therefore the exhaustion was building up. Health always comes first, remembered that!

2. March to the beat of your own drum.

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As I mentioned above, I am changing my career path to chase my dream career. I have to start from scratch, learning, gaining experience and networking with others. I have to make up for years I’ve lost, trying to gain knowledge in a very short amount of time. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy journey, but I know it’ll be worth it in the end. I was faced with some obstacles and very opinionated people, who think they know what’s best for and what would make me happy. I appreciate people’s opinions and I hear them out, but when these opinions become forceful, that’s when I have to draw the line. I became swayed from all of these individuals and allowed myself to feel doubtful about my choices. This can be very toxic, that’s why you have to watch out what you say and to whom. Make your own decisions, if you know that’s for sure the best thing for you do not let anyone stop you. Go out there and show them what you are capable of, you are unstoppable. So what I have to say is: just wait and watch me succeed.

3. Control Your Reactions.

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I am prone to anxiety, if something very stressful happens to me I tend to feel so stressed to the point where I make myself feel sick. It’s a very unhealthy habit, you can’t control what happens to you but you can control how your react to it. Going back to my condescending boss I was talking about, I allowed her behavior to affect me emotionally and also affect my work performance. I sat down one day and took long hard look at how I was approaching the situation, I knew I had to change and made it my goal to control my emotions when she was being rude. The moment I began to change my reaction, I noticed I responded to her differently and that made me feel calmer. I am still working on it and reading about how to master this, I guess this hardship was necessary to happen so I can learn how to interact with people who are similar to her.

4. Take Risks.

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If you don’t take risks and step out of your comfort zone, you’ll never move forward. The sense of security and the feeling comfort is great, but it won’t get you anywhere. This year I learned to be spontaneous and face my fears, and you know what it’s not that scary when you take that step forward.

5. Let It Go.

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No, I’m not referring to the song from Frozen (ok, bad joke). Letting go of things from the past or present is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of respect for yourself and your feelings. I have learned that what’s in the past stays there, and I need to focus on the here and now. You never know what will happen in a day, so don’t waste your life living in misery.

6. Forgiveness.

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Pride always gets in the way of forgiving, we think that if we forgive we we lose a battle.

  • Resentment is the poison you feed yourself, hoping someone else will die.
  • Forgiveness is a choice.
  • Refusing to forgive is living in the past.

I couldn’t agree more, I am far from perfect and I’m still having a hard time with forgiveness, but I realized it really is like poison for your mind. When you forgive you begin to feel free.

Even through 2016 was challenging year, I see why I had to go through it because I needed to learn more and grow as a person. My wish for everyone for 2017 is great health, happiness, success and piece of mind! Remember its okay to be kind to yourself and do something that makes you happy, make sure you are healthy and laugh a lot.

Happy New Year everyone, let’s make 2017 a calm and exciting year for us all!

See you soon and thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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East Coast, Meets West Coast 2016! Part III – Portland, Cannon Beach, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.

Welcome back everyone,

We are back with part three of my West coast travel story, sorry to keep you waiting with the next installment of the story.

Where did we leave off from the last post? Ahh, yes it was right at the moment when my friend and I crossed the border. It was a great feeling to know that I am finally in the United States, I didn’t know what to expect so I made sure I enjoyed each moment to the fullest. The first thing we did was to stop by McDonald’s to get something for the road, because we had a long drive ahead of us. We ran into a family that was travelling together, they had a mini van and they made it look so cozy inside for their journey. We chatted with them for a bit, the mother was telling us about their road trip journey and that they are on the road all time. It was cool to see a family that is so adventurous! Afterwards, we got in the car and continued driving to Portland. On our way there, we passed by Seattle, which was our last destination after exploring Portland. The drive was really pleasant, but also very tiring.


We were up all night, so we decided to stop at a McDonald’s parking lot to catch a snooze. The nap didn’t last too long because some questionable individuals started gathering in the parking lot, so we drove off as fast as possible. Before we drove to the hostel, we did some research back in Vancouver and we went to see the Rocky Butte Look Out. It had a beautiful view of Portland, the architecture was also very unique, it had a medieval vibe. We took so many photos and then it was time to go to the hostel.


This little red car took us everywhere this summer! What an adventure.

 We checked in early, but we couldn’t get into our room until 4:00pm and it was only 10 or 11 o’clock in the morning. We checked in and then my friend suggested to go to the beach and grab some of her favorite gluten free pizza from Sizzle Pie.


It was the best pizza I’ve ever had, if you ever come down to Portland make sure you stop by to grab a slice. We drove to the beach and spent a few hours there just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. There were many people coming to enjoy the sunny day we had, I went up to the shore to collect some seashells and there was a playful dog I played with on the beach. After spending a few hours at the beach, we decided to drive back to the hostel and rest. We were both very tired because of the lack of sleep so getting some sleep was essential. I believe the next thing we did that same day was to go out for a walk and have dinner. I saw someone’s Trader Joes shopping bag in the fridge at the hostel, so of course I had to go because I’ve always wanted to. Trader Joes is a grocery with tons of organic and healthy foods! After exploring around the downtown area, my friend and I went out for dinner at Deschutes Brewery. It was a delicious dinner, after eating   we continued walking around.

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The following day was really fun, we had a lot planned and a spontaneous trip to Cannon Beach. We went to Chinatown, my friend took me to see the famous “Keep Portland Weird” sign, and we stopped by Voodoo donuts but the line was took long so we left.

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Afterwards we went down to Steel Bridge, another popular tourist attraction in Portland.

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It was a sunny day, the weather was nice and warm, and there were lots of people exploring. My friend and I decided to rent a bike and bike around the park. It was so much fun and it was also very funny when were struggling to go uphill. We had a fun, but we decided to head back to the area near our hostel. My friend had a suggestion to travel down to Cannon Beach, which was hour and a half away from Portland. Before we drove down to Cannon Beach, we went to Starbucks to cool off from the warm weather and we also went shopping at World Market. I wish we had World Market in Canada, it has great selections of household items and much more.

When we were done, it was time to drive to the best beach I’ve been to. Now we are getting to my favorite part of the trip! I had no idea I was going to fall in love with this beautiful place, it was so picturesque. The drive to Cannon Beach was a lot of fun, it was long but scenic. Rows and rows of trees, stunning views and the anticipation of going somewhere new was exciting. We had some snacks and listened to music. As we were driving, the weather started to change, it went from sunny, to cloudy and foggy. This was slightly disappointing because the reason we drove to Cannon Beach was to take pictures of the sunset. The drive seemed slightly long, but it was enjoyable and super relaxing! I was in love with the scenery and I couldn’t look away.

Before we knew it, we arrived at Cannon Beach! It was getting dark, but there was some daylight left. As soon as we entered the town, I got an instant feeling of peace. There was something about this place that captured my heart instantly, the cute little houses and overall vibe of a small town appealed to me. I was born in the city and I grew up in the city as well, so I never thought I would like a small town and prefer it more than the city. When we got out of the car and it quite chilly, I believe it was around 14 degrees. My friend rushed off to go see the beach and followed behind her slowly (I was freezing actually). As soon as I stepped foot on the beach, I knew at that moment this will be my favorite part of the trip. I was mesmerized by the beauty of Cannon Beach, it seemed so unique with its iconic Haystack rock. It was also very foggy so we couldn’t take the pictures we wanted, but we sat down by the bonfire to warm up. I looked around at my surroundings and the beautiful hotel resort. My friend jokingly suggested to book a room, but I agreed! I’m rarely a spontaneous person, but for this place I knew I wanted to stay longer. Did I mention that this was my first time seeing the ocean? Yes, it was and it was an amazing feeling. Following our relaxing break on the beach, we decided to stop in the hotel resort to look around and find out the price for one night stay. It turned out it was $250, we told the hotel receptionist we will think about it and call back if we wanted to book a room. We got into the car and drove off to Portland. We sat in silence for a while, both of us contemplating what to do and I finally said, ‘I want to stay there, I want to go back again” and my friend agreed. I didn’t know when I would have the opportunity to go there again and I wanted to make sure I don’t miss out on anything that was within my reach. Eventually, we came to the decision to book a room for one night. I was so excited to leave the hostel and go back to the ocean.

The next morning, we got ready, packed up our bags and checked out of the hostel. Before we began driving down to Cannon Beach, we had a few things that we had to get done 1) buy souvenirs 2) go to an outlet mall to buy some gifts for family and something for myself. For souvenirs we went to Powell’s Books, a very popular book store in Portland. They have used and new books, along with more merchandise. I found some pretty cool stuff there and bought the souvenirs I wanted. Our next stop was Woodburn Premium Outlet Mall.

Guess what, the shopping was tax free and that’s something we don’t have here in Canada so I was excited to buy clothes for a reasonable price. There were so many stores, my friend and I decided to split up for an hour and go get the stuff we needed quickly. I got a purse from a store called Journeys and I also got my first pair of Converse. I had a lot of fun exploring the outlet mall,and I can’t wait to go back again when I go back to Portland.  Then it was time to continue driving to Cannon Beach. The drive to Cannon Beach was quite nice and scenic as I mentioned earlier, there were rows and rows of trees. This was probably the most peaceful I felt in a very long time, getting away from the hustle of every day life is so important and the best way to do it is by travelling. We were lucky this time because the weather was great and sunny, still slightly chilly but not too bad. I got so excited as soon as we drove into the small town, there was such a nice vibe about it and it’s quite charming.

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We went to check into our hotel and as soon as I walked into our hotel room I jumped on the bed, I was so excited. The hotel room had a nice big TV, a king size bed and the the wonderful view from Haystack Rock. We also had a minibar, a sink and all sorts of snacks and treats. The bathroom had a hot tub and it was really nice and spacious.

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When we settled in and we put our stuff away, we stopped by the convenient store near the hotel to get some food and other necessities such as marshmallows to make roasted marshmallows.  After we bought our food we gathered our camera equipment and headed out to the beach to take sunset pictures. It was absolutely perfect, the sunset colours were so nice even though there were some clouds hiding the sun. We took a quick break going back to the hotel room to have some dinner. I loved the hotel room, this was a family resort and it had a very cozy vibe. After we ate and watched some TV, we went out again to the beach to have roasted our marshmallows by the bonfire.. We stayed outside for a while enjoying the evening and then we went back to our room to sleep.

The next day was bitter sweet because we had to depart to Seattle, Washington. We went to the beach one last time before we departed to Seattle, Washington. Before, we drove off, my friend decided to make a final stop at Ecola State Park. The view of the ocean and Cannon Beach was mesmerizing, we were lucky because the weather was lovely. We took a few pictures, enjoyed the scenery and then it was time to say goodbye to Oregon.

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It is such a beautiful state, and the drive to Seattle was so scenic (this is a common word I’ve been using, but that’s the best way to describe Oregon). I can’t recall for how long we drove, but I think it was close to 2-3 hours, but then again I may be wrong. The drive to Seattle felt long, I was tired and I wanted to go back to Canada. However, I knew going to Seattle would be worth it.

After driving for so long, I finally saw Seattle’s skyscrapers. Our stay in Seattle wasn’t very long, we arrive around 7pm and we left Seattle around midnight. We went to see Public Market Center, the original Starbucks cafe, the waterfront, Space Needle and we rode on the ferris wheel. Seattle is a typical city, but it also has the view of the mountains and that’s something Toronto is missing.

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The famous gum wall, really gross but cool at the same time.

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Beautiful view from the waterfront in Seattle.

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The first Starbucks cafe. I’m a huge Starbucks lover, so it was cool to see this in person.
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The view from the Space Needle.
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Space Needle, Seattle.

After a week of driving around in the States, we finally made it back on Canadian soil. I like the States, but I love Canada more 🙂

With this, I conclude the United States road trip chapter of my story! The next part of my West Coast story will be the final one. Stay tuned!

As usual, thank you all for reading and see you soon!