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2019: All the Good Things

I used to write things like “13 best things that happened in 2014” but as the years go by, this is getting complicated.

Not that I don’t have enough great things to say. In fact, 2019 really registered as the year of gratitude, or at least the year of the biggest effort in that regard.

Nevertheless, as the years go by, I still want to be focused on highlights. One of my goals for 2020 is to be consistent with my writing (even if it’s short, silly and can’t even be considered ‘writing’). With that, I’m hoping I’ll log all of the necessary memories and keep the end-of-year pieces to celebrating and reflecting.

Onto 2019 now. These were among the best of things:

Gaining a dog

Sophie’s first family trip to Big Sur

This was something that was out of the question before the year even began. Not having a dog, not hearing little footsteps, not getting annoyed by the constant begging for attention, not having a personal heater around at all times was physically painful. We saw Sophie’s face online listed for adoption, laughed at how she looked so much like a sheep and couldn’t stop thinking about her for a week. This was also the first and most powerful manifestation of 2019 – we were having a hard time getting ahold of the adoption group for a couple of weeks, so I sat on the couch, closed my eyes and visualized what it’d be like to have Sophie as our dog. I’m not kidding, within a few minutes of me doing it, we finally got an email back inviting us to meet her, and life has not been the same since then in the best way possible.

Having friends visit Monterey

The first and one of the many coastal drives of 2019

In all honesty, 2019 brought a sense of isolation many times. Between leaving – what I now can confidently my favorite city in California – bold statement, I know – Sacramento, where I was always surprised by the power of community, transitioning to work-from-home life and having to learn everything and everyone from scratch in a new place, it was hard to feel a sense of belonging. Luckily, moving to one of the top tourist destinations in the state brought friends for a visit faster. Taking loved ones to our new favorite hikes, restaurants and chill by the bonfire was pure joy.

Tripping to Russia

This is self-explanatory for the fact that this was the first time in almost 2 years since I’ve seen my parents. Besides that, we caught some of the most beautiful fall foliage, enjoyed historic architecture and ballet, on top of some of the most interesting foods that literally made us tear up with joy.

A tour of rooftops in St. Petersburg is a must. We’ve booked ours through Airbnb Experiences and were the only people in the group during the off-season.

I always love Russia when I get to look at it from a tourist perspective. Sadly, it hasn’t felt like home in a decade. But having its background, when I come as a visitor, I feel like I have this superpower of understanding all of the things I see through a special and very sentimental prism of a Russian soul – the best way to enjoy it.

Staying at Home

Honestly, spending time at home has been one of the best things this year, every single time it happened. In the beginning of the year, we found ourselves in a new apartment that was modern and nice, yet sterile. Not sure if I fell into the influencer of everyone adulting on my feed (and being into interior design), but I made a conscious effort to work on the house to make it feel like home. Somehow, I also cleaned a lot and got to the point of liking it vs. seeing it as a chore (okay, I might be slightly exaggerating). I have a pretty weak natal Venus (taste issues) so you wouldn’t call it stylish, but I do live with what I love. Even after a year of working from here, I still look forward to coming home whenever I’m away.

Creating and keeping traditions:

  • Summertime farmer’s market every Tuesday followed by very Sac-style tacos
  • Weird anniversary ornaments
  • Christmas cookies were kind of a thing?
  • This is not technically a tradition, but Crystal Fish has beat the record of most-visited restaurants.

Other honorable mention trips of 2019:

  • A spontaneous little drive to colorful Capitola
  • A US Open escape to Santa Barbara. I think if Sacramento never takes me back, I will force SB to take me in so I can live my wannabe European life.
  • A treat-yourself getaway to Napa. I got so professionally deformed, I was basically a tour guide, but loved every single bit of it.
  • Priceless experience of finally seeing what San Francisco locals love it for. I can’t explain, but I get it now.
  • Work took me to Anchorage, Atlanta and Birmingham. To my surprise, I loved Birmingham and it is on my list to go back.
  • The best part of Hearst Castle was a pig & fig pizza on the side of the freeway.
  • I really should count all of the Big Sur trips, but this is a job for 2020.

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