Monday, December 23, 2019

Documenting Another Decade

It didn't feel that long ago when I was documenting the last decade, but here we are again, bidding goodbye to another decade. Few more days to go before we welcome the 20's and I figured this holiday break would be a good time to reflect and look back on this past decade (the 10's). Fortunately, I've been blogging here over the last 10 years so this post will be more of a summary of the 341 blog posts I've published since 2010. 

So much had happened in the last 10 years...from graduating college, starting my first full time job, getting married, moved to the other side of the world, etc. Lots of life changing events that I'll unpack chronologically in this post. 

Side note, I'm sure most people can't remember all they've done/accomplished in the last 10 years as well as I did (self praise=no praise) not because I have better memory, but because I took the effort to blog persistently. =P And nope I don't get an award for this, but it does make me feel like I haven't "squandered" my life. It also reminds me to be thankful of how far we've come along.

Graduated college in Malaysia and spent the summer studying in the UK. Was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around Europe before returning to Malaysia. November 2010 was an 'eventful' month in both good and bad ways, big bro got married, hubby's (boyfriend back then) nana passed away, and dad had a pretty bad stroke which affected the entire left side of his body. Fortunately, he recovered well enough to still be able to walk and was able to do most things independently. Hubby traveled abroad for the first time to visit me in Malaysia (for the first time), and we spent all of December visiting several Southeast Asian countries

Started working in January and jumped right into my first (of many) busy season. Quickly realized that work-life equals a boring routine of work-eat-sleep, so I was determined to keep life interesting. Apart from staying active with non-work activities in the firm, I also took part in other fun stuffs outside of work. Teamed-up with twin bro to take part in a physical challenge and surprisingly won the grand prize of RM15000, which was definitely the highlight for the year. In the second half of the year, I traveled solo to Vietnamtraveled with the family to Sabah to hike Mt. Kinabalu, and traveled to Phuket for the company's annual trip.

2008 was one of the best years I had in the last decade, and I think 2012 stood out as one of the best years for me in this decade. Kicked off the new year in Shanghai for my first ever work trip, traveled to Japan with the family in March, then took one month off work and went off the radar for the entire month of April to participate and film the Amazing Race China Rush in China (one of the best experiences ever). After returning from China, I hopped on the plane and traveled to Huntsville (first time after I left in 2009) to visit the boyfriend (now hubby) and his family. After taking almost 9 consecutive weeks off work, I was thankful and glad to be promoted at work in July. =P The Amazing Race finally aired in September and it was fun watching ourselves on screen. I took part in another physical challenge and won the runner-up. In December, the boyfriend traveled to Malaysia with his mom and proposed at the top of a mountain in Langkawi. =) 

2013 was my travel-to-China year. Started the year with a business+leisure trip to Beijing and Shanghai. Work was busy but I was working with a good team of people so I had no complaints at all. Second half of the year was filled with a lot of travels. Traveled to Guangxi and Yunnan provinces in China with the parents on two separate trips in June and July, then traveled to Beijing again for work in September, followed by a family trip to the Borneo Islands. In October, I traveled to Krabi for our annual company trip, took a family trip to Langkawi, and traveled to Bangalore (first time in India) for work. In November, I traveled to Shanghai again for work. After a few busy months traveling, I took a whole month off work in December to welcome hubby's family and prepared for our wedding in Malaysia.

Started the year with a promotion at work and spent first half of the year working through my 4th busy season with the firm. We took a family trip to Australia in April. Unfortunately, mom ended up in the hospital and had to extend her stay after fracturing her face from a fall during the trip. In May, hubby and I met up in Sweden and spent 2 weeks traveling around Norway for our 'delayed' honeymoon. I spent the second half of the year prepping and going through all the paperwork for my relocation to the US firm. I'm thankful to have my work visa sponsored by the firm. Managed to squeeze in a Jeju cycling trip with twin bro and his gf in September. Mom was diagnosed with the dreaded 'C' and had to go through a surgery in October followed by a series of radiation. Thankfully she's been cancer-free. After spending the month of November with farewells and packing up, I flew to the US at the end of November, moved in with hubby, and officially started work in the Birmingham, Alabama office on December 1st. December was a busy month getting oriented and settled into the new country, new environment, new routine. 

My first busy season in the US went pretty well and I was able to stay in town for the most part. The learning curve was steep but I was fortunate to work with a good team. Right after my busy season, we traveled to Colorado for a ski trip. After returning from our trip, I had the opportunity to travel to Houston and Philadelphia for work. Hubby graduated with his Masters in May and we started gardening (my first time ever). In June, we traveled to Machu Picchu and I traveled to Chicago for a week-long training. The garden kept us busy all summer. I also started studying and taking my CPA exams in the US in the second half of the year and completed 2 out of 4 exams. In August, I traveled to Tampa for 3 weeks for work. My family traveled to Huntsville for the first time in September for our simple wedding reception in the US, and both sides of our family traveled to Orlando together in October. In November, I had the opportunity to travel to New York for work and hubby visited me over the weekend for some sightseeing. I traveled back home to Malaysia for two weeks in December before meeting up with hubby in Europe for our Christmas and New Year trip.

Kicked off the new year in Prague before returning to work for my second busy season. Spent 2 months in Dallas to help out with a special project and was surprised to be rewarded with a pretty good bonus for working on this project. Finally completed all 4 CPA exams in May and officially received my Certified Public Accountant license in the US. As a reward for completing my exams, we took a trip to Cancun and Guatemala for some R&R. We kept ourselves busy all summer with another year of gardening. In August, I traveled to Orlando for a week-long training, and attended SIL's wedding in mid-August. Hubby and I traveled back to Malaysia for 2-weeks in September for twin bro's wedding. Wrapped up the year with a work trip to Minneapolis in December.

Hubby switched job at the beginning of the year after being with the previous company for 8 years. As for me, it was another year another busy season. Picked up 2 new jobs this year which required me to travel to Texas, Ohio, and Atlanta during busy season. Wrapped up busy season at the end of April with a 3-week visit from my parents, thanks to a great flight deal I found on Delta. Sadly, hubby's grandma passed away in May after battling cancer for the past few years. This was our 3rd consecutive (and last) year gardening. I got promoted to Manager in July, and celebrated the promotion and turning 30 with a trip Around-the-World in 20 days. With this promotion, I picked up another new job which required me to travel back and forth weekly to Tampa for 2 months in October and November. We ended the year with a trip to Mobile to countdown for 2018 with hubby's 2nd cousin.

My 4th busy season in the US (8th for my career) was a busy one. First busy season in my new role, and I guess with more money comes more responsibilities. The projects I worked on was pretty much similar to the prior year, which required me to travel to Atlanta for 2 months during busy season. After 'surviving' another round of busy season, I traveled home to welcome twin bro's daughter (my first niece) who was born in May. In June, we traveled to Iceland with MIL and rented a campervan for a road trip around the country in 8 days. Iceland was beautiful. My first (and probably last) ever podcast interview with ChooseFI was also aired in June. Work started getting busier and more annoying in the 2nd half of the year. I picked up few more projects and went through several internal reviews at work, felt like busy season started 3 months earlier. In the midst of all the work craziness, I sprinkled in some fun and went for an Atlanta Braves baseball game, Alabama football game, and traveled to Orlando in September for a work conference. Similar to the prior year, I spent my Oct and Nov in Tampa for work. To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, we traveled to Fiji and went on a road trip in New Zealand for 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, a short R&R before the crazy busy season resumed.

Had a rocky start for the year with the worst busy season I've ever had. Apart from neverending workload, work luck was crappy and busy season ended up lasting for 6 months. On a happier note, big bro's twins were born in January and I'm now an aunt for 3 nieces and nephew. Unfortunately, dad had a second stroke in April which impacted his cognitive skills and worsened his mobility. While I wasn't able to travel home immediately, I had a home trip booked for June so I spent 2.5 weeks at home to help out. I was glad and relieved to finally receive my employer-sponsored green card in June after 4.5 years in the US. After wrapping up the one crappy project that lasted forever, we traveled to Taiwan and Malaysia with MIL in September before starting in my new role, which is a completely remote role and I'm thrilled to be able to work from home full time. In December, we met up with my parents in Hawaii for a week-long vacation.

That's a wrap for this decade. Reflecting on all the things we've done and accomplished in the last 10 years, I'm glad that we've been able to keep our lives fairly interesting even though work life can be monotonous and boring. Looking forward to the next decade as it should be an interesting one striving towards greater goals. =)

Compilation of my travelogues from 2010-2019. =)

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