Hi all! I’m back!
I took a few weeks off social media and the blog to recuperate and regenerate my creativity. I was really debating what my first post of 2019 should be, and I realized that there is no better way than starting this off by sharing an overview of one of the most exciting years of my life. So many things happened and I can hardly believe it all occurred in the span of only one year. This post is inspired by Lizzie Hadfield. She did something similar on her blog, so please go check out her beautiful post as well.
My year started off abroad. One of my good friends from Japan traveled to Europe. When he arrived in Belgium at the end of December 2017, we headed to the UK together to meet up with our friends from my time as an exchange student. Before traveling to Lincolnshire, we made a pitstop in London. Oh, how I love London. This was definitely a very memorable trip. And then, once back in Belgium, I had to study for the upcoming exams, as I was in my last year of my master’s degree at uni.
In February, the hustle and bustle and bustle of uni started again. However, my very last semester at uni started with quite a strange feeling, because I had NO classes. This whole semester was free for finishing my Master’s Thesis. This should be the moment in my life where I should have decided to become ultra disciplined, however, when I look over my Feb pictures, there were a LOT of cafe visits.
This month took off with a very spontaneous visit to Ireland to see one of my best friends. But I must say, I really choose my moments. Ireland was fighting a media phenomenon called The Beast from the East. This was a HUGE blizzard that had already started a few days prior to my departure, and Dublin (as well as the rest of Ireland) was covered in snow, which usually never happens. Somehow luck was on my side and my flight was the only one going out to Ireland for a few days. Even though Kayleigh and I were snowed into her house, it was just amazing to see her again. As soon as I got back from Ireland, I received an email that would change my life forever. I got a job offer from an amazing company in Japan. As you all know of course, I took it.
More traveling! I never realized how much I traveled in 2018 until now. I went to Barcelona together with my Mom. This was my first time ever in Spain. I absolutely loved the vibe of the city. Gaudi’s artwork and architecture throughout the city really makes this one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
May was hectic AF as my thesis deadline was approaching at a drastic rate. May was mostly filled with a lot of me sitting in the library and a LOT of coffee.
The highlight of this month was definitely my girls trip to the Belgian coast. We planned this trip a while beforehand to celebrate us handing in our thesis. Even though it was only for three days, it was the most relaxed I had been in a very long time.
That b&w photo of me was taken by my amazingly talented friend Hana. She shares her beautiful analog photo’s on her Instagram.
I finally took the leap and cut my hair short. I had been debating whether or not to do this for a good three months by then. And so I finally did and donated my long locks to charity. However, the most important thing that happened this month was my GRADUATION! I graduated my master’s in Japanese Studies with Magna Cum Laude (great honors). Five years of working my butt off definitely paid off. I ended the month with a little girl’s trip to Antwerp with one of my oldest and best friends. A day of just chilling, eating, shopping and talking was exactly what I needed.
Because I would be leaving for Japan in September, August was filled with a lot of amazing good-bye dinners and small trips. I made a day-trip to the Netherlands with Dion, had a lot of pizza and just basically relaxed and enjoyed myself during my last month in Belgium.
My birthday month! AND moving month! My birthday was the best excuse to see all my friends and family together for one last time before I would hop on the plane to Japan. I had two wine and cheese nights in a row and a LOT of cake.
I feel like I need to start a whole new paragraph here as my life changed in such a drastic way since this point. I took the leap and moved to Japan on the 18th of September. The first week I stayed in hotel The Knot in Shinjuku. This hotel was gorgeous. The rooms were on the small side but their interior was completely my vibe and their breakfast buffet was to die for. They had a bakery attached to the hotel as well, so think freshly baked crispy bread every morning!
My stay at the hotel had ended and I still had not found an apartment, so I moved in for about a month with an amazing friend who was able to keep up with me for this long (thank you, Tetsuya!). Long story short, after a lot of apartment viewings, I found my dream home. You can’t imagine the weight that fell off my shoulders at this point. After signing all the forms and going back and forth with administration, we were able to move in at around the end of October. In the meanwhile, Dion had come to Japan as well, so luckily I was not alone to handle the move. When we finally got a little settled (aka. buying a couch, bed, fridge and kitchen supplies), we rested a little and met up with a few friends and made a day trip to Higashi-Yamato, where I witnessed the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen.
We took it easy in November. I had to get used to the workload at my new job and going out every weekend became a little too much. We made small shopping trips for apartment stuff but nothing too far or exhausting.
Oh how I love Japanese fall! Fall was still very full on during this time of the year in Japan, so me and one of my colleagues took advantage of this to go shoot some amazing seasonal photos. I also met up with an old friend from my time at Rikkyo University, and we explored the cuteness that is Kiyosumi Shirakawa. Soon, it was Christmas time and me and a colleague that quickly became my friend (a fellow Belgian I might add) invited Dion, another colleague and I to a Christmas party. It was so much fun to celebrate this being surrounded by friends. It made us forget that we were far from home during this usually very cosy family time. On Christmas Eve, we went to a Christmas Market in Tokyo. I had no idea this existed… As you can imagine, it was overly crowded, but we had delicious gluh wein and cheesecake to make up for it! We flew back to Belgium on the 29th for one week to celebrate the New Year with our families.
And there you have it. My year in a nutshell. If you have made it this far, thank you so much for following me along my journey. 2018 was absolutely one of the most eventful and impactful years in my entire life, and I would not have been able to make it alone. So I would like to thank all my family and friends for making it so special.
I’m already looking forward to what 2019 will bring.