Last January, I had just stumbled off the stage of graduation, I was juggling three jobs totally unrelated to my field of study, and I was preparing to leave the country for a three-month unpaid internship in Buenos Aires.
The pages of a new, daunting chapter of my post-graduation life were unfilled, and I’d be able to begin writing in whatever the hell I wanted.
While I was quite morose to leave my educational home after five stretched out years, I knew it was time to burst the bubble of comfort. I was happy that I had fulfilled my goals of a rich academic adventure, and now it was time to do just that in the so-called ~real world~.
For me, 2016 was a year of volition, transition, with an unexpected surge of career growth and adult responsibility.
My Favourite Moments of 2016
- January 23, 2016: I had an unforgettable in-person interview with a manager of publishing for a paid summer internship, where 10 lucky individuals from Canada were selected from a stack of over 1000 resumes to get mentored with the opportunity to really get hands-on training in the industry, from video, editorial, and design. Despite scheduling it the same day as my flight to Argentina, I was as calm as a monk in meditation, and our conversation marked a starting point in my career – even though I didn’t know it yet, and even if it didn’t turn out as I expected.
- February 6 – 14, 2016: My entire trip to Uruguay with the Fuse family: watching the bursting sunsets at Portesuelo, lounging on the hammock while Argentine asado smoked on the charcoal grill, swimming in jelly-fish infested ocean, staying in a sentimental family beach home without wifi, and feeling confident in my Spanish.
- March 13, 2016: During my internship, I arrived at a volunteer project (daycare) in an Argentine slum with my Video interns, and upon seeing two caretakers juggling 30 babies under the age of 1, unhesitatingly and unanimously we traded our cameras for diaper duty. I held two babies in my arms while spoon-feeding another, thinking to myself how we’d get all of these children that can’t even walk properly, in wonder at every stimulus, distracted by the smallest thing — to sit in their chairs to be served food. It was the most challenging yet rewarding adventure yet.
- July 2nd, 2016: The glorious summer day Lucas arrived in Canada with his one-way plane ticket and a whole lotta suitcases. Three years after we met on the sandy shores of Santa Maria, we finally reunited permanently to start our lives togetha.
- September 2016: Finally played soccer again after a four-month hiatus, at a turf field right off of our street, with international students, bf, and my best friend.
Life-Changers and Growing Up
- Moving to Toronto, and living in a basement apartment for a month solo (thanks to my friend’s boyfriend’s family for letting me stay while their son was tree-planting in BC).
- The week I had chronic dread in the pit of my stomach, which acted as a shield to any digestion, thanks to the immense pressure of having to find an apartment in 7 days. I learned all about guarantors and my poor candidacy for applying, since my foreign boyfriend didn’t exist in the business’s eyes, and because I had just started my job, had no proof of employment or any paycheques.
- Signing my first-ever lease, with none other than a significant other! Big step, big learning curve (what is this compromise, and no alone-time you speak of?) but so worth the small sacrifices.
- Starting a career in the media industry, moving from part-time, full-time contract, to permanent in 7 months. Three different jobs, but all necessary to have secured my official employee status, in a dream position that excites me to the core!
- My twin moving to Burlington, a 40-minute drive from Toronto. So nice to have my womb-mate close again. Ha.
You can’t have highs without lows, so here are mine:
- February 15, 2016: Got a pulsating chalazion on my left eyelid in South America. What is that, you ask? It’s basically a stye that lasts 6-12 months, but bigger and ogre-like. I avoided pictures for four months in 2016. On vacation. I looked like Frankenstein’s offspring. My work passcard still haunts me, as I only had surgery a week after I started my job in June- – sad-faced, hair covering half of my face — kind of like the Ring girl.
- My worst day of 2016: One week into living a lonely existence in the basement apartment in Toronto, I had a severe allergic reaction to a particular protein powder. I ran 3km at 11pm to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart to retrieve Reactine, nearing delirium from the blood heating up to form hives. At 3am, I woke up to the worst abdominal pain of my life and a body full of itchy, white bumps. I wondered briefly if this is what labor feels like, until I was in so much torturous pain I called the ambulance. Went home at 5am, and went to work for 8am, my face still swollen, but no one noticing.
- April 20, 2016: Getting a rejection email three months after an interview I thought I absolutely killed (yes, to that first fav moment above). Right as I stepped off the plane back on Canadian soil, foolishly with no Plan B.
- September 1, 2016: Started my first day at a new position, and it was so unorganized and unwelcoming I held back tears as I was placed in a cubicle to sit and wait for the manager to get me settled in. She never came in. FOR A WEEK. So I read magazines to pass the day and bothered people all week for menial tasks until I got access to a computer.
If you told me in January of 2016 what my life would be like now, I’d be shocked. No, flabergasted. My life is usually more planned, more predictable. Regardless, it’s been a wild ride that I’m so happy I stayed on. I can’t wait to see what’ll happen this year…..
2017 is off to a good start. I leave to NYC tomorrow to navigate the big apple with the Fuse family after 6 months of separation. But the most exciting part of this year that I can predict is that I’ll never have to say goodbye to my love again like the past three years have cruelly warranted. Cheers to the year without missing you!