Tutukaka Sunset

2014, what a big year! I’m so thankful for everything I’ve experienced in 2014.

Myanmar. I started the year on Inle Lake in Myanmar. My partner and I stayed at a villa at the ultra quiet and tranquil Inle Lake Resort. We drank cocktails while watching a stunning sunset (many more Myanmar photos here).

Inle Myanmar in Transition

The Big Pivot. I realized that I wanted to be back in tech and in a startup. I reflected on what worked for me and what didn’t in the past, what I wanted and what I didn’t, and took my time to find the best startup to join. I read and read and read. I talked to a lot of people. I also decided that the time for making career choices that were “good for me” or easy to explain at cocktail parties was now over, and instead I would pursue what best suited my strengths and interests. I finally accepted that most people have and would find my career path confusing and hard to comprehend because it was unconventional, windy and difficult to put in a box, but I soon learned to celebrate instead of defend those decisions.

CEO of Your Life

THIS. I started this website! I LOVE this little project of mine. It’s my one outlet of creativity and my very first online experiment. I love reflecting and writing about the things that engage me, and posting my photography. Everything here is my work. This is my first real estate, and even though it’s just online, it is MINE! I also started being active on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram as extensions of this side project, and I’ve learned so much from engaging with an audience in those social networks.

Watched Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift in Concert. Bruno Mars is sheer power and charm when he performs live. I uploaded my first YouTube video after filming a short few minutes of Bruno Mars on his Moonshine Tour in Hong Kong! That got my YouTube channel started. I also discovered Taylor Swift in June this year when she came to Singapore for her Red album tour, and have been inspired by her and her music ever since.

Dived the Similans. My partner and I did our first liveaboard to dive the legendary Richelieu Rock over Easter break. Saw my first harlequin shrimps and learned how to spot ornate ghost pipefish and well-camouflaged hermit crabs.

Diving in Similans

Long Distance No More. My partner moved to Singapore. More than 35 flights later, we don’t have to do the horrible biweekly commute to see each other anymore.

Visited Country #46, Fiji. I’m very blessed to have joined my partner and his family in Fiji (more Fiji photos here). We had an absolutely amazing time in the 46th country I’ve ever traveled to.

Fiji Sunset

Did a Shark Dive. I overcame my fear of sharks and took the plunge to dive with more than 50+ hungry sharks in Fiji.

My Best Friend’s Wedding… And More Weddings. Made the best friend’s speech and cried at my bestie’s wedding because it was so beautiful and I was so happy to see her married to a good man who takes care of everything for her. Her villa wedding in Bali is about the most romantic and fun wedding I’ve ever been to. My high school track captain also finally married her college sweetheart, and it was such a joy to celebrate their wedding.

Crystal & Jeff Wedding in Bali

Took My Parents to Taiwan. The last time I took my parents away was in 2011. I was really happy to be able to take them traveling again, even though it was a much less luxurious trip than the previous ones I brought them on.

Tzu Chi Hualien Headquarters

Met Venerable Cheng Yen of Tzu Chi. I’ve heard so much about Tzu Chi and the good things that Cheng Yen, the “Mother Teresa of Asia” has done. It was a wonder to bring my mum with me to meet her in real life and listen to her teachings about kindness, charity, gratitude and recycling, at her daily early morning 6am session.

A New Home. Moved into a little apartment in a neighborhood I’ve wanted to live at since I was young. It’s even better than I imagined it to be.

Found THE Startup To Join. Despite the challenges and steep learning curve, I’ve never been happier with any other career choice. I’ve only been there for just 2 months, and everyday I’m humbled by how smart everyone is. I’m happy to be learning and growing.

Made A Photobook I’ve Always Wanted to Make. When I saw Taylor Swift bring polaroids back into vogue, I thought it made a lot of sense to print out the photographs of my family taken over the years, which have ironically been lost in the digital age. Since the migration to digital photography, either my parents never saw the photos we took, or every new photo on their phone tended to push the previous ones into the recesses of our memories. I compiled and designed a photobook for my parents over a few days and gave it to them as a keepsake of all the fantastic times we’ve had over the last 10 years.

Paid for Music. Taylor Swift’s 1989. Get it. I’m unbelievably psyched by all her success this year. And I couldn’t agree more with what underpins all of this success: her view that you realize your worth and ask for it.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Brought Painters Together. I brought painting back into the lives of my sister and another one of my best friends, at a time when they both really needed it. They paint together now. I art jammed once and found it fun and quite liberating, even though I’m severely lacking in painting skills.

Celebrating Christmas and New Year’s in New Zealand. 3 years ago, I went to the Ellerslie Boxing Day races, did the Tongariro Crossing and ushered in the new year at a vineyard in Waiheke Island. I thought an NZ Christmas/NYE doesn’t get more amazing than that. But this year, I did a 3-day kayaking and camping expedition around the Abel Tasman, did my first cold water dives in the world renowned Poor Knights Islands, celebrated a traditional New Zealand Christmas with family and ushered in New Year’s in style at Omaha with friends. More photos of my trip to New Zealand here. I learned and saw so much about New Zealand.

Abel Tasman Kayaking Shag Harbor

If you’ve read till here, thank you! I’m excited for a bigger, better and even more beautiful and kick-ass 2015.

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