And just like that, 2018 was well on its way to the likes of history books. 2019 swept in to take its place, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome this year with open arms.
What was 2018 for me? It was a challenge. It definitely saw me struggle, fail, and falter. I lost two close family members. My vovo, my mother’s mom, passed away unexpectedly in February. She was my last grandparent, and though I had dealt with loss before this one hurt the most. In an effort to reconcile my emotions, I wrote a letter to her. It went unposted, but I really hope she heard me. And then, in November, my uncle left us as well. Both these events really affected me and the fact that I was away from my family made it all so much worse. A blog post may be coming up on dealing with loss abroad because I think it’s something no one every really talks about.
In addition, the end of the year really put pressure on me as family drama has reached a new level. It’s so hard to do well yourself when you’re family isn’t doing well.
But 2018 was also the year of so many wonderful moments. I rounded off a Disney cruise in January, visited Bath and Stonehenge in February, and went on my very first trip to Italy including Rome and Naples in March. In April, Victor and I traveled with Victor’s parents to the beautiful Basque Country. And, in May, I finished my law degree in London! I celebrated by heading to the US in June to join my family on a vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In July, my friend Lauren visited from the US, I graduated, and Victor and I celebrated our four-year anniversary in Bristol.
August filled up with lots of local activities — we just enjoyed London in its summer glory. In September, we headed back to Spain to enjoy Victor’s beach town along the Costa Daurada. October proved to be a crazy month because I got my first post-law degree job, but we also moved to Stoke Newington (a lovely neighbourhood in northeast London). November was all about settling in and discovering our new area, and finally December meant Christmas time in Virginia.
I’ve had such an eventful year, and yet I think 2019 will perhaps be just as chaotic. Here are what plans are in store for me this year!
It looks like Victor and I will be making a quick trip to Barcelona to touch base with his family post-Christmas and New Years mania. As its winter, I’d like to take advantage of the season by eating some calçots. Calçots are essentially sweet spring onions originating from Catalunya. They are only in season December through January/February, so their limited availability makes them all the more delicious. And trust me, they are scrumptious.
Victor and I are headed to Thailand! Yes, after more than a decade, I am finally going back to one of my childhood homes. I wrote a blog post a while ago summarising my memories of Bangkok, and now here I am about to make new memories. I initially had such mixed feelings at the idea of going back, but now that Victor and I are planning all our activities and accommodation I’m super excited. We only have two weeks to spend in such a dense country, but we’re splitting our time between Bangkok, northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Elephant Nature Park, and Chiang Dao), and one Thai island: Koh Lanta!
So far, it seems as though April will be quite uneventful. My youngest brother has plans to visit during his spring break in the middle of the month, but we shall see. If it doesn’t work out then perhaps a trip to Spain is in order! Otherwise, I shall just enjoy good ol’ London.
Victor’s parents are thinking about going to Galicia and want Victor and me to come along. I’ve never been and I already know it’s such an interesting place in Spain to explore. As a Portuguese citizen in a relationship with a Spanish citizen, I feel as though Galicia will be really neat to see. Many people there speak Galician, a kind of hybrid language between Portuguese and Spanish. I’m already drooling thinking about their seafood. It must be amazing.
My youngest brother’s high school graduation is in June and I’d really like to be there for it. Sweet home Virginia, here I come.
Victor’s parents are visiting as well and they’re trying to combine a visit to London with a trip to Wales. Of course they’ve invited us to join them, so perhaps I’ll get to see yet another new place!
I think it will be my policy (for as long as I live in London) that I will spend at least one summer month in this beautiful city. Summer in London is magical and should not be missed. I will try and keep my traveling to a minimum, but this doesn’t mean I will be sitting on my sofa watching the Great British Bake-Off all day, everyday. My best friend from college and her boyfriend may be coming to visit. I can’t wait!
Every summer my mom contemplates whether it’s the year we check back in with her homeland: the Açores. It is one of my favourite places on Earth and we are seriously considering visiting this year. With my grandma passing away back in February, I would really like to return to her home to honour her.
As the fall comes around, Victor and I will think about doing a trip with just the two of us. I really want to do at least one UK trip a year, and lately I’ve been itching to explore Cornwall and Devon. It will require a week because we will need to rent a car, but I think it’ll be so great. We want to go in September to still get good weather but miss the crowds.
This time of year is so far away, but it’s kind of romantic to know that anything could happen. Where will I go? What will I see? I’m not even quite sure how the Christmas season will play out because Victor and I have demands from both our families. But regardless, it’s a mystery so we shall see!
What are your travel plans for 2019? Anywhere new?