My 2016 Highlights | Illustrated by Hazel Leggett
There were many times in the past month that I looked back in awe at all that happened in 2016. So much has happened in my life in one year and I am in such a different place now than I was a year ago. The disappointments I’ve had make me even more thankful for God’s timing and plans. I often think of my favorite verse, Ephesians 3:20, that says “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”. Even though I think I will always remember something, I don’t, so I wanted to document as many of the great things that happened this year as I can so that I can look back in awe while I look forward in faith.
It was impossible to capture all of the fun and memorable things that happened in 2016. This list doesn’t include my amazing family, my Christian small group, deepened friendships, new friendships, dinners I made for friends, all the laugh-till-I-cried moments, trips to cities around BC for work, weekend trips to Seattle, and the amazing birthday and Christmas I just had.
Here are some of my most significant moments of 2016.
From the top left, going row by row
1. Quebec City // I accompanied Damon to Quebec City in October where he was attending a work conference. It was my first time in the province of Quebec. We rented an Airbnb in the Saint-Roch neighborhood for the first half of our stay and stayed in the historical Chateau Frontenac for the second half of our stay. It was so cool to experience Europe within Canada. Every meal was amazing and we had a great time hanging out with Damon’s partners and their spouses. I must also note, all of the French Canadians we encountered in Quebec City were super friendly!
2. Jenny Liu Photography // I kicked off my photography business in late December of 2015. I photograph couples, families, and individuals for maternity shoots, fashion, and corporate portraits. I’ve been shooting regularly for several years and I love making people feel confident and beautiful. Highlights in the last year include shooting an engagement in Italy, starting the photography program at Langara, styling and shooting a Valentine’s Day lingerie photoshoot with Scarlet Lingerie Boutique and my model friend Shazmin, and capturing a proposal on the top of Sea to Sky in Squamish. I look forward to more shoots with amazing clients in 2017.
3. Sunshine Coast // I’m always surprised by the large number of close friends that Damon has and that he manages to see them all on a regular basis. For example, in September we stayed in a lakeside cabin on the Sunshine Coast with 14 of his close friends. My favorite thing was working in a team of four to prepare one meal for the entire group. My team made an incredible charcuterie board, three kinds of lasagna, and poached pears and pie for dessert. All of the meals were amazing but I’m pretty sure we won best meal. It was on this trip that I learned that my boyfriend loves karaoke with an inextinguishable and inexhaustible passion.
4. Trip to China // I took a very quick trip back to China to attend my cousin’s wedding. (Even though I’m a Canadian citizen and Canada is home I still say “go back” when I talk about traveling to China). It was a short but great trip. I loved seeing all of my relatives at my cousin’s wedding and I hope that I can introduce Damon to my grandmother and the rest of my family in 2017.
5. Italy // Being invited to weddings abroad is the perfect excuse to travel. I traveled to Italy in the summer to attend a university friend’s wedding. I visited Milan and Florence by myself and Zoagli and Rapallo for the wedding. I reunited with my friend Kathryn who travelled from London to join me for the rest of my Italy trip. Kathryn, her friend Dee and I traveled to Genoa and Venice together. My illustrator originally drew the Venice Grand Canal for this highlight, and I asked her if she could draw the Florence duomo instead because I am still traumatized by the Venice heat. It was so hot there I barely slept the entire time we were there. My friend’s wedding was held in a castle on Italian riviera, and I still remember the groom’s mother’s touching sermon. She said that instead of saying “I do”, the bride and the groom shall say “I will” because marriage is a constant and ongoing commitment. I love that.
6. My love // 2016 marks the year I met my partner and best friend. I love my thoughtful, hilarious, and understanding boyfriend. He makes me feel beautiful, loved, and cherished every day. We have just as much fun hanging out together at home as we do traveling to a new city. I’m learning more about more about what it means to be a great partner and what makes a relationship thrive. Learning each other’s love languages was a great place to start. Damon’s love language is Acts of Service. He feels loved when I cook him a nice meal (I used to think it had to be elaborate, but he feels loved even when it’s simple), unload the dishwasher, and massage his shoulders. It’s well within my capability to do all of those things so I aim to do them more frequently and more consistently because I want him to feel loved and appreciated. There’s nothing like being in a relationship to make you aware of all of your own selfishness, shortcomings, and luggage (sounds better than baggage), but we’re all a work in progress and I know that I’ll continue to grow and mature. What I look forward to more than anything else in 2017 is sharing more experiences together and growing closer and better together as a couple. We have so many exciting things ahead of us. I can’t wait. I’m a lucky girl, or at least that’s what Damon tells me all the time, haha.
7. San Francisco // This was the second year in a row that I visited my friend Catherine in San Francisco. I love spending time with Catherine. We both experienced significant change in our lives in the year prior and I love where our lives are at now. At the time I visited she was living in a beautiful new place in Noe Valley in the heart of SF. Hanging out with her is basically a guarantee that I’ll be taken to the best restaurants, cafes, and spots around town.
8. Tennis // I had a concussion in March as a result of a soccer game which made me take a break from the sport. I decided to focus on tennis n lieu of soccer. I’ve always loved tennis but played it on and off, and it wasn’t until I started playing consistently that I saw a huge improvement. I played regularly with a coach and the best memories were when she coached Damon and I together. She had us playing drills against one another and we got so competitive. I loved it. I also loved wearing all of my tennis dresses and skirts. Tennis, I think you’re a keeper. In 2017 I hope to have a more consistent and powerful tennis serve.
9. My dream job // This was an answered prayer and a huge highlight of 2016. I got a job as a project manager on a project that I’d been interested in for the last year and a half. All of my friends knew that I had my eye on that project. My prayer for 2017 is that I’ll grow into my role, develop great relationships, have a firm and confident grasp of my responsibilities at my new job, and deliver projects successfully. One of the bonuses of getting this job is that I now get to walk to work! Walking to work is the best thing ever.
10. My naughty hens // I LOVE this one. My illustrator captured the three of them so well, right down to the blue egg. They are the most naughty hens ever. I love them so much. My hens are a constant source of joy (and eggs).
11. Banff // I visited my expectant friend Mellissa in Calgary in April of 2016 during what turned out to be right on Damon’s birthday weekend (oops) and we drove to Banff for a girls’ weekend while her husband moved things into their brand new home. We had massages at the Banff Springs hotel and relaxed in the mineral pools. She now has a beautiful little girl that I can’t wait to meet.
12. Seville, Spain // I traveled to Seville from the aforementioned boiler room that was Venice to meet up with Damon. Entering the air-conditioned Airbnb that he rented and feeling the cool air was probably my happiest moment ever. I love Spain. My most memorable moments include celebrating Canada Day in Seville where we met Flamenco dancers from Vancouver at a bar and left with them to go to an afterparty with other flamenco dancers and musicians and witnessed live flamenco jamming and dancing; enjoying the baths and massages at an Arab hammam; eating the best meal in Europe that included 5 desserts; buying a 9kg watermelon that Damon had to carry home (which sadly turned out to be flavorless but every other watermelon we bought was delicious); going to our favorite neighborhood bar (Cafe Eureka) in Alameda de Hercules; walking absolutely everywhere; and driving from Seville to Barcelona with two of our friends.
Looking back in awe, looking forward in faith.
Happy New Year!
I would love to know what your 2016 highlights were and what you’re looking forward to next year. Comment below!