Happy (almost) 2020, everyone! :)
Since the New Year is just around the corner, I decided to reflect on 2019 with a post recalling some of the many events in my life this year. I really wanted to write them all down in one spot – kind of like a diary entry – so I can come back and re-live these memories again in the future. I also wanted to include some of my favorite pictures from this year, because why not?
I’ve had a lot on my mind recently, so I felt that typing out some of the thoughts and events that have been swirling around in my head would be good for me. Kind of like putting 2019 to rest, ya know? As much as I loved this year, I’m ready to move into 2020 with a clear mind and a clean slate, and I believe that the following post will help me do just that. :)
- I kicked off the year by really focusing on my blog design and content, and beginning to take it much more seriously than before. My first post of the year was a review of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which my Dad had taken me to see in November of 2018. I was also nominated for my first tag, which I was stoked about. XD
- My Canadian co-op class and I performed a 15-minute skit of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for our homeschool community, which we had been rehearsing for a lot over that past several weeks. We acted out the most notable scenes from the first 3 acts of the play as a way to wrap up our study our study of the story. It was so much fun, and we had a blast!
- We got a lot of snow in Toronto, and spent a good amount of time shoveling our driveway.
- The best thing that happened this month was that I made the decision to be baptized, and began to connect with God much more as a result. This was a major event in my life, and is definitely the best decision I have ever made. <3
- I did my first collab post on the blog, which was a comparison of Canada and America, featuring Jo. :)
- I traveled to Texas to visit some family whom I hadn’t seen for a while, and had a great time while I was there! It was such a nice break from snowy Toronto – the weather was beautiful. We were even able to go swimming in a nearby creek with our cousin, and that was one of the best and most memorable times I’ve ever had. (I think my brother will agree with me on that one, too! XD) Overall, that trip was super fun, and it was great to visit family! :)
- I continued to blog, write, and plan a lot, and published 6 posts.
- My brother and I enjoyed making the second episode of our “cooking show,” Short Chef, which we had named the year before when we filmed the first episode. It features my little brother as the chef, and he “teaches” you how to make different dishes. The first episode was about how to make scrambled eggs, and the second was how to make french toast. XD We haven’t filmed a third episode yet, but we definitely want to!
- We flew back to Missouri for a visit, and I really enjoyed seeing my family and friends, especially since I hadn’t seen them since the trip we had made the previous summer – it was so good to catch up. That happened to be the last trip we would make to Missouri before we would move back for good, but my family didn’t know that at the time. On the plane there and back, I enjoyed reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
- I began taking karate classes at a local dojo, and really enjoyed building my physical strength while learning self-defense.
- On April 1, I pulled a couple goofy pranks on my brother and friends for April Fools Day, which I wrote about in this post.
- I published 4 posts this month, my favorite of which was Why ‘The Hunger Games’ is Such an Important Story.
- I went on a fun hike with my Mom and brother, which was really nice considering the long winter we had been facing! :)
- I enjoyed spending some quality time with the amazing girls from my class, including a sleepover where we had planned to watch Eagle of the Ninth (we had just finished reading the book for school), buuutttt that didn’t end up happening. XD Instead, we enjoyed playing games, telling stories, and eating spoonfuls of mustard. (Don’t ask about that last one XD)
- I received my yellow belt in karate and attended my first grading ceremony.
- My brother and I filmed and produced a few more videos and skits. In one of them, we attempted to make my brother look like Voldemort from the Harry Potter movies by covering his hair with a small trash bag (because we don’t have a bald cap) and coating his face in gray face paint. (We tried, okay? XD)
- I blogged a little less this month, and published 3 posts.
- We had a History Fair at our homeschool co-op, which was where we chose someone from ancient history, created a display board, wrote an essay, and presented about them for the community. We were also allowed to dress up as our person, and it was so fun to hear everyone’s presentations, see their boards, and admire their costumes! I chose Helen of Troy, and my brother chose Ramses the Great.
- I studied a lot for finals (even at some of my brother’s little-league baseball practices XD), which came at the end of the month, and signified the end of my freshman year. HOORAY!
- I began reading the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, and my goal was to complete the trilogy by the end of the summer. Little did I know that it would take me almost 4 months to read the books.
- I took a quiz to see which Anne of Green Gables character I was, and I got Gilbert Blythe. Huh.
- I only published 3 posts on the blog this month, but I hit a huge milestone – I reached 100 followers, and I was super stoked! :D
- One of my aunts came to visit us in Canada, and we had a great time showing her around! We took her all over our town, into Toronto, and even to Niagara Falls! :)
- I took a pretty big violin exam, which I had been practicing for since January, and did much better than I had expected.
- My family and I took a 4-day trip to Quebec, which was super fun! :) We visited Montreal and Quebec City, and had a great time!
- I re-designed my blog, and I was super happy with how it turned out!
- I took my brother on a picnic at our local park, and we had a great time hanging out together!
- My family and I went to see a Royals vs. Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre, and it was super fun to see our home team play! (I also saw our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man just chilling under the CN Tower XD)
- I published 5 posts this month, including my Quebec Trip Series and my Bob Ross painting post.
- I painted a lot this month, which I found very relaxing and therapeutic. (My brother would disagree here – he finds painting extremely stressful XD)
- Some of our good friends in Canada celebrated the 4th of July with us Americans, which was super fun!
- I went on a youth retreat with some of the girls from my class and several other teenagers, and we all had an amazing 2 days! We swam in the lake, dove, flipped, and cannon-balled off the dock, went tubing (which was absolutely hilarious), sang worship songs, and had some great devotionals. It was such a fun time, and we all had a blast!
- I received my orange belt in karate, and attended another grading ceremony.
- Our family found out that we would be moving back to Missouri 6 weeks earlier than we had thought, which threw a huge wrench in some of our plans. We began re-thinking a lot of things revolving around the move, and started making preparations for our return to the United States.
- I only published 2 posts this month.
- Our family took a 24-Hour Trip to Detroit to watch the Kansas City Royals play the Detroit Tigers, and we had a great time!
- I began volunteering at a local thriftstore, where I learned a lot about business, retail, and the workplace. It was an awesome experience, and I loved sorting through clothes, setting up displays, running the cash register, and interacting with the customers. :)
- I began to start working on school assignments for my sophomore year of high school.
- I celebrated my 16th birthday with the girls from my class at Canada’s Wonderland, and it was one of the greatest days I’ve ever had. We had so much fun riding the roller coasters, screaming, and laughing together as only best friends can. I made so many amazing memories that day with those great girls, and I will never forget that last day we shared together. <3
- I had to say some really hard goodbyes to some of my best friends as we were preparing to move home.
- I “un-decorated” my bedroom to prepare for the packers to come and load up our house.
- To start the month, I published The End of an Adventure // My Story + 5 Lessons I Learned in Canada, which is my favorite blog post I’ve ever written. That was the only post I published in September. I hadn’t planned to take a break from blogging, but it became very clear that I needed one, especially with all that I had going on at the time.
- We went into the heart of Toronto for the last time before we moved, where we visited the first Chick-Fil-A in Ontario. (It was delicious, as always. :P) It hurt so much to drive away knowing that I wouldn’t be back for a very long time.
- I took a one-way flight home on September 9, 2019. It hurt so much to drop everything and leave the place that I had called home for over 2 years, and to say goodbye to all of the amazing people I had met there. I felt like I had finally settled into my new life, just to have it all disappear. I had to start over again, and it was hard.
- I started going to my old co-op again, which was really difficult at first. It was a huge adjustment process, but some of my oldest and best friends there helped to make the transition much easier for me. I was, and still am, incredibly grateful for their support. <3
- I tried to settle back into my old house, but I found it very difficult to do so. I kept expecting to have to fly back to Toronto soon, and it hadn’t really hit me yet that I wasn’t going to.
- I had a ton of schoolwork to balance along with the chaos of moving, so September was a very challenging month overall.
- I published 3 posts on the blog this month, including an update post since I’d disappeared without warning for over a month.
- Our things arrived on the moving truck, so we spent a lot of time unpacking boxes.
- I did my best to keep up with schoolwork while trying to settle back into my house and surroundings, but it was definitely a challenge.
- I re-decorated my old bedroom, and tried to make it feel like home, but I just couldn’t.
- I took my brother trick-or-treating on Halloween night, which I really enjoyed. We had a great time, even though it was super cold! XD
- I published 4 posts this month.
- My brother raked a massive pile of leaves in our front yard, and we had a blast playing in them.
- I colored the bottom layer of my hair purple with a semi-permanent dye, which was a fun change while it lasted XD
- I began studying for my mid-year exams while keeping up with my other assignments.
- My family and I celebrated Thanksgiving, and the food was delicious!
- I continued to struggle adjusting to my “new” home. Something just didn’t feel right to me, but I wasn’t sure what it was.
- I published 4 posts this month (including this one!), as well as making a few technical changes to the site.
- I took my mid-year exams, and they went pretty well!
- I went ice-skating with some friends from my co-op, which was a fun winter activity!
- It snowed a lot over one weekend, and my Grandpa and I used some of it to make snow ice cream, which was delicious! :P
- For Christmas, my family and I took a short trip to Branson, Missouri. It was so nice to spend some time with my family, and I began to feel better after getting a change of scenery.
- We celebrated Christmas, which was a lot of fun! :)
- After giving it lots of thought, I decided to get a pet guinea pig! I previously had one other guinea pig, but she passed away last December. It had been a year since I’d had a little furry friend to love on, so I purchased the supplies I needed, set up my old cage, and headed over to the pet store to pick one out. I decided on a multi-colored male guinea pig, brought him home, and named him Winston Rochester (but we just call him Winston XD). He’s 12 weeks old, is super curious and has lots of energy, but is very snuggly (when he wants to be XD)! <3
- To make room for Winston’s cage, I re-arranged some furniture in my room, and made a few other changes as well. Having my furniture back where it was before I moved away really helped me to settle back into my old room, as I had put it in different places when we moved back from Canada. I have also enjoyed having a little friend to share my space with, just like I did before I left our house in Missouri. <3 :)
Overall, 2019 was a great year. I lived, learned, and grew a lot, but I’m definitely ready to move into 2020 with a clear mind and a clean slate. My prayer is that God will provide me (and you!) with a sound mind and thankful heart as we head into the new year. <3 In my next post, I’ll be sharing some goals I have, both personal and blog-wise, for the upcoming year.
If you made it this far, congratulations! XD I know this was a very long post, but I feel much better now that I have all of that off my chest. Thanks for sticking with me through 2019, and I’ll see you next year! :D