Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Looking Back

2012 came and went. It was a fun and eventful year! Once again, I realize how very blessed I am to have such amazing people around me… a loving family, my ever supportive host family, my wonderful boyfriend, the best students a teacher could ever ask for, a great work team, and awesome friends!

Here are the highlights of 2012:

January: The birth of my blog.

This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. It is my own space in this vast world of the Internet to write about cooking, my love for food, and some life stories. I still clearly remember how nervous I was to click the publish button after writing my very first blog post.    

February: I joined The Food Matters Project.

Through FMP, I have learned so much about healthy eating, cooking tips, and being creative in the kitchen. I also made blogger friends that I hope to someday meet in person.

February was also the first time in 2012 that DFJ and I started our hiking adventures. We hiked up Beacon Rock and Mt. Hamilton and enjoyed breathtaking scenes.

March: I did my first ever race, Badger Mountain Challenge, 15k.

I hiked/ran up and down Badger Mountain twice and finished in 2:09:47 hours.

This was also the month when I tried skiing for the very first time in my life. Hmmm… Even though I didn’t do so bad and there were no major fails, I can say with certainty that skiing is not my thing. 


April: Portland Spring Break

DFJ and I spent our spring break in Portland and had a blast exploring the city, eating out, seeing Wicked and OVO (Cirque du Soleil), and going to yoga classes. Here are the links to our adventures: Portland Spring Break and Portland Love.

May: Pretty low key…

I chopped off 12 inches of my hair and donated it to Locks of Love.

I also made to-die-for carnitas for the very first time. They were so good and I decided to make them for DFJ’s family a week ago… everyone loved it!

June: DFJ’s birthday. 

We had a fun weeklong celebration to honor his birthday and the first week of my summer vacation!

We also moved in together and it is one of the best decisions we have ever made. Lots of ups and some downs, but we make it work. This is the view from our apartment.  

July: My dear friend, Tuck, passed away and I was heartbroken.

Tuck, our school is not the same without you. We miss you every day.

August: Hello Olympic Peninsula and Seattle!

DFJ and I had an amazing time camping, hiking, driving through, and exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Check out these posts for the trip details: Olympic Peninsula Part 1, Olympic Peninsula Part 2, Where We Ate in Seattle.

September: School Year 2012-2013

It took a while to get back into the rhythm of things but all I can say is: I love my job, my students, and my coworkers. You are all awesome!

October: Family Time

I went to Portland twice to see my aunt who just got her Greencard, my grandma, and my aunt from New Jersey who flew to Portland to visit them. We all had a sweet reunion and even though we haven’t seen each other in years, it felt like we were never apart for a long time. This is what family is, we just simply belong together and the bond is always there no matter where we are.

November: My 29th Birthday

DFJ invited friends over to celebrate my birthday and that was really special. I haven’t had a birthday party in a long, long time!

December: Christmas with DFJ’s family in Pennsylvania.

Our first stop was New Jersey to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousin. It was lovely but way too short. I wish we didn't live so far away from each other.

On our way to DFJ's hometown in Pennsylvania, we made a stop at Princeton and he took me on a quick tour in his old stomping grounds. He went to grad school there and I am so jealous that he got to live in such a beautiful town and walk around grandiose school buildings every day.

During our stay in PA, we went running a couple of times and I did some yoga at home and at River Yoga in Lahaska. The owner, RaeAnn taught the class that I went to… easy, relaxing flow, and a long Yoga Nidra treat.

We went to Peddler's Village in Lahaska and enjoyed traipsing around and walking in and out of the quaint shops in this super charming shopping center.

Christmas was lovely! Church, a delicious brunch, lots of presents, and Christmas dinner.

DFJ and I went on a date to Stockton, NJ and walked along the tow path until we got too cold. Then we drove to Bulls Island State Park, crossed the bridge over the Delaware River and arrived in Lumberville, PA.

We had some delicious sweet potato soup and a juicy burger at the Black Bass Hotel while watching the snow fall on the river. It was very picturesque!

DFJ’s family hosts an annual Christmas party and this year I got the chance to join in the fun. It was a big party with about 60 guests. There was tons of food, booze, and good times!  

The day before we left, instead of going to New York, we opted to stay at home and had a lovely time relaxing with DFJ’s family. DFJ and I played outside: we went sledding in the backyard after he buried me in snow, made snow angels, made a snowman, and shoveled the driveway. I love my man!

Later that night, I played Settlers of Catan with DFJ and his brothers. If you haven’t heard of this game, I recommend that you invest in one. It may be stressful and tension inducing, but it is so very fun!

One of my favorite activities in DFJ’s home is getting to do a lot of cooking. Thank you Kay for sharing your cozy kitchen with me! I made carnitas, black beans and kale, pumpkin cake, port and wine sauce, stir-fried veggies, nachos, cookies, pumpkin scones, omelets, and so on. No pictures unfortunately, but everything was eaten with much gusto! This is why I love cooking!

On our last day, DFJ’s mom made a big batch of pancakes and we shoved bite after bite in our mouths. We then exchanged hugs and bid everyone goodbye. Lots of snuggle time on the plane and after 12 hours of travelling, we finally made it home.

Our family vacation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey was the perfect way to end a good year.

Thank you 2012 for being so gracious to me. I look forward to 2013 and am ready to welcome it with an open heart and a positive attitude. Cheers to all the good times in 2012 and to more in 2013! 

Happy New Year Friends!    


  1. I'm so happy that you decided to start your blog and that you had such a great year! Here's to more happiness in 2013!

  2. Oh my goodness! Settlers of Catan! That's my favorite game ever :)
    Wow, what a year. You sure had a lot of adventures. Happy new year!

  3. So many beautiful pictures and so many beautiful memories! I wish to you the New Year to bring even better moments and events! Happy 2013 Margarita!

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