What can I even say about 2014. It has, by far, been the best year of my life. Though it wasn't without any hiccups, I'll remember it always as the year of dreams coming true, bountiful opportunities and travels, and priceless memories and lessons. This has also been the fastest year of my life. I know that people say that time starts moving at a faster pace as you grow, but wow. I still think it's May sometimes. As reluctant as I am to see this amazing year go, I'm excited to see what 2015 will bring. It'll be a year of change, evolution, and new beginnings, and I have my fingers crossed that it'll be just as (if not more) wonderful.
– The Highlights –
// Ringing in the New Year in Rome.
// An endless supply of gelato, pasta, pizza, and cappucinos.
// Braving a rainy London on foot.
// Acquainting myself with Europe for the first time with my family.
// Starting my study abroad programme at Oxford with my best friend.
// Feeling like a Jane Austen heroine while touring Bath.
// Seeing Wicked for the first time, with amazing seats!
// Spending Valentine's Weekend in Scotland:
// Hiking up Arthur's Seat and dancing the celeidh in Edinburgh.
// Museum-hopping in the city of Glasgow.
// Paying homage at: where JK Rowling started and finished the Harry Potter books, the Harry Potter Studios Tour, and Platform 9 3/4. All of this on top of studying, eating, and breathing in halls (including the Great Hall!), cloisters, libraries and grounds that inspired / were used in scenes in the books and movies.
// Intense reading and writing and living at Oxford (Hogwarts).
// A final couple of fun-filled weekends in London.
// Green-ing it up for St. Patrick's Day Weekend in Dublin.
// Daytripping it to Cliffs of Moher w/ stops in Doolin & Limerick, but finding nary a Horcrux.
// Falling in love with the city of Barcelona and having the meal (and gin and tonic!) of a lifetime.
// Taking a train through the French countryside for...
// A whirlwind 24-hour stay in Paris w/ my best friend at a fancy hotel right on the Champs Elysees.
// Coming home to sunny Stanford and surprising my roommate while I was at it!
// Turning 21!
// Celebrating my birthday several times, but most notably with my best girlfriends at a suite in the W San Francisco with quite the view and room service pizza.
// Prettifying Perpetually Caroline with a bloggy blog makeover.
// Having my favorite academic quarter of all time at Stanford - interesting classes that interwove spectacularly and gave me the ultimate push towards my dream career.
// Roadtripping to Los Angeles and Orange County by way of the Pacific Coast Highway with the roommate for Memorial Day Weekend – stunning vistas by Big Sur!
// Brunching right next to Emma Roberts and Evan Peters.
// Flying to NYC for an interview, spending the Golden Hour on the plane, and arriving back in San Francisco in time for dinner at my favorite restaurant.
// Finishing junior year of college.
// Finding myself home in Houston for the first time all year (but not for long).
// Moving to New York City for three months: taking the F train to work, subleasing a big girl apartment in East Village, hailing taxis (or calling Ubers, more like) and becoming quite addicted to shopping. Oh, to be able to afford Club Monaco one day, please!
// Starting my internship at NBCUniversal at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (!!)
// Hanging out with my dad and sister on their respective visits to the city.
// Meeting up with various friends and visitors: Blue Bottle with my godsister, brunch and shopping and movies with my junior year suitemates, a Central Park carriage ride and dinner and drinks at the Waldorf Astoria with my best friend Lauren and her mama, noodles with a high school friend, and many, many more!
// Watching Fourth of July fireworks from my rooftop with my apartment-mates.
// Welcoming Cassandra to NYC for a much-needed best friends' weekend full of $1 pizza, Chinese takeout, Brooklyn food markets, front row Wicked seats (!), and self-timer photoshoots on the rooftop.
// Running into Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers on casual work days in the office!
// Resting for a week in Houston and getting spoiled by my mom's food and lots of naps.
// Flying to China for a week with my big sister –
// Sipping coffee in a luxurious bed on the 49th floor of the Le Meridien in Shanghai, enjoying a rain shower both in the bathroom and from the sky, and noshing on my favorite fried soup dumplings.
// Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with my extended family in Nanjing, hearty breakfasts at the Westin every morning, loving on my grandparents and kid cousin, and stuffing myself silly with hotpot, milk tea, noodles, mango ice and other favorite delicacies!
// Getting a nice little reprieve at my sister's apartment in San Francisco for a week, cuddling with the kitties, grabbing coffee at The Mill, and basically doing nothing all day(s) long.
// Starting my senior year at Stanford on a high note!
// Enjoying life at Stanford – funky traditions, shacking up in one of the most coveted houses on campus (although our room is tinier than a shoebox), starting the recruitment process, interning at the business school, taking a good batch of classes, and all.
// Celebrating my sister's birthday and engagement weekend (!!!!!)
// Showing my parents around the Bay Area - dimsum, farmers' markets, Chinatown, Muir Woods, Palo Alto and Stanford, and oh how much fun it all was.
// Being loved on (and lazing about!) over Thanksgiving Break at home in Houston.
// Finishing up my last Autumn Quarter with awesome grades.
// Savoring my last chance to really spend three weeks doing absolutely nothing except watching all of Gilmore Girls.
// Finally, finally, finally upgrading to the iPhone 6 (thank you parents!)
// Having a very, very Merry Christmas with the family - presents and games and movies and deliciousness galore!
// Wedding dress shopping as a family, and quite possibly finding the winner (oooh, and sneaking in a mimosa here and there because why not).