bye-bye 2015



It’s time to say goodnight to twenty-fifteen.

Goodnight, moon…I mean, goodnight, year.

At the end of every year, I like to think back on some of the new things I experienced, big and small, over the past twelve months. Some of them are accomplishments…some are really more like sicknesses or injuries.


what i’ve done this year:

  • started studying french…and german…and spanish and italian (I can’t tell my grazies from my bienvenues anymore…)
  • attended a Scottish festival in Ehime Prefecture, with Scottish dancing, Scottish singing, and Scottish scotch.
  • visited the Sapporo Snow Festival for the second year in a row, and went to the Otaru Lantern Festival
  • cried at a junior high school graduation for the first time. It was my second time attending the ceremony, but my first time crying. I was pretty close to those students.
  • literally ate so much I couldn’t move on a solo trip to Fukuoka (I ate the entire city and then some)
  • went on the longest bicycle ride I’ve ever taken: two hours each way into/out of the mountains




  • went off on my own for my first solo international trip, Indonesia for Golden Week
  • experienced crippling traveler’s diarrhea
  • had the biggest birthday celebration I’ve ever had…and left early b/c of much-delayed reaction to ice cream (I am painfully lactose-intolerant, sometimes to the point of total incapacitation)
  • snorkeled successfully for the first time (snorkeled for the second time, but the first successful attempt)
  • burned my entire upper body for the second time in my life (this time, I wasn’t even trying)
  • did yoga in Bali (well…attempted yoga in Bali. it was a pathetic attempt.)


  • finished my year as a section editor for an ex-patriate magazine
  • got messy with fine arts photography for my own enjoyment, starting with a (not-yet-finished) portrait series
  • slept on a wooden plank on the beach for the second year in a row (no mosquito bites this time!)
  • discovered what happens when someone (who isn’t me) pees in a lake full of bioluminescent algae (they light up, apparently)
  • tried surfing in the rain for possibly the tenth time, and never once managed to stand up…not even a potty squat
  • mastered the squat (not the workout move, the yoga position)

shodoshima-2     shodoshima-4

  • finished my first post-college job (JET)
  • crossed a dream destination off of my bucket list: Okinawa!
  • visited American Village and was highly underwhelmed
  • had enough traditional Okinawan food to fill an ocean
  • drunk Okinawan fire water from a tap in a wall
  • taken up a position as the social media dude of Gluten-Free JET

oki_day_four-7     oki_day_four-4 oki_day2-17     oki_day2-51


air-26     air-41

2015 favorite recipes:

I discovered and created a lot of new recipes, and screwed up twice as many. There are some that I’m in the process of revising and testing again right now, but most of them are good. Here the ones I’m the most proud of:

ginger turmeric cookies || gluten-free brownies || mayonnaise || apple chai-der pie || gluten-free sweet potato muffins || black tea butter cookies 


My resolutions for this past year were to write more, take more photos, cook/bake more, and just in general, produce more. Let’s compare:

blog posts:

I wrote 9 in 2014 on this blog, from August to December (five months.) This post marks the 28th post of 2015, nineteen more than the last year (and doing the math to calculate how many I could have written from January 2014 through December 2014, seven more.)


I didn’t actually finish my 2015 creativity journal, but I did make up for it by starting a cooking/baking notebook, a career journal, and two freelance writing jobs (I am finally getting paid to write, y’all. oh my lord.)

National Novel Writing Month:

Like the journals, I failed to finish my second attempt at NaNoWriMo, throwing in the towel at about 37,000 words due to gaining a new job the same month, and coming down with a killer cold on my first day of work. I do resolve to finish both the second novel and the first one I worked on a year ago.


According to my editing software, Adobe Lightroom 3, I took 4,141 photos in 2014, and 10,828 in 2015 (all photos, even duplicates and the ones I never edited or uploaded.) I would say that’s an improvement.


It seems…I also did not meet this goal. Last year, I got through 14 books. This year, I managed 12. To be fair, though, I’ve been reading a book since September (it’s the densest book I have ever read) AND I am currently reading FOUR books simultaneously (because apparently that’s what I do.) Had I dedicated more time to sitting down and reading, I could easily have managed 16. (Coincidentally I also have about 16 magazines sitting on my bedroom floor waiting to be read…I’m just terribly far behind on reading in general.) At least now I know what I can manage: 12 – 15 books in one year. It’s not that I’m a slow reader. It’s that (1) I generally like to read non-fiction, and in order to avoid overloading my brain, I tend to read those slowly, and (2) I don’t sit down to read often enough.


While in Japan, I cooked dinner for myself at least twice a week. Since moving home, I’ve managed to make dinner not only for myself, but for my parents, with many left overs, twice a week. I also mastered a fabulous French onion soup AND mulligatawny stew recipe (with some guest appearances from tomato soup and blue cheese soup, and a brief foray into roux with white shrimp sauce.) I’ll take it, considering my 2016 resolution (coming up.)

snowfestival15-14     snowfestival15-15 snowfestival15-16     snowfestival15-28


2016 resolution:

Drumroll, please.

I have a tendency to create expectations for myself that are too high. This is ironic, given my hate-hate relationship with the entire concept of “expectation.” But it’s also understandable, if you consider that I’m an obsessive planner and can never seem to just sit still in the present moment. Because of this, I’m taking extra effort, with every bit of irony, to make a general, achievable, low-maintenance New Year’s Resolution:

Get fit.

I usually try to be really specific and achieve something small, something different than what you usually hear as common resolutions, but this coming year, I resolve to exercise, get fit, cook more, eat better, and learn about my body. This means using the gym membership that I (my mom) has been paying for since September, going to yoga once a week, focusing on savory recipes more than sweet, continuing my exploration of alternative diet (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, etc.), and reading about how to be…”healthy.”

I hesitate to equate “healthy” with “fit” or with any notion of size. Instead, I resolve to be both healthy and fit, regardless of size or weight. I would like a flat stomach again, but we’ll see what happens.


There you have it, The Last Post of the Year.

See y’all on the other side!

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