I did a lot and accomplished a lot in 2017, and there were some moments I remember vividly. I remember these moments because they were full of emotion.
1. When I looked out the airplane window and saw Toronto for the first time.
I remember thinking, 'this is my new home for now.' I had never been to Canada before, but I moved there by myself in order to attend Brainstation's UX/UI course last January.
2. When I walked home from my first networking event in Toronto.
About a week into my time in Canada, my class went to a networking event at a brewery in downtown Toronto. We were right next to the CN tower and the Roger's Stadium. I remember leaving the event with a huge smile on my face. I had been hanging out with my classmates and we were all starting to get to know each other. I got to meet people from all these different tech startups and even got to play fruit ninja on a VR station.
3. Demo Day/Graduation Day at Brainstation.
It was my last day in Toronto. For hours, people were coming up to my table and asking me about my work. I felt so proud to have designed PackPrep. It was a huge project and people seemed impressed by my work.
4. When my friend from Mexico came to visit me.
I felt so special that my friend would travel all the way from Mexico just to hang out with me again. I miss all my long distance friends.
5. The first night I waited tables on my own.
I made it through all my strenuous training to work at a new restaurant back in Charlotte. I remember walking home with cash in my pocket, feeling independent, and thinking about how much fun I had joking around with people I was waiting on. I love being a server.
6. My mornings in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. During my stay, I woke up early every morning and walked around the city by myself while my family was sleeping. I thought the streets, shops, and restaurants were beautiful. I wanted to throw my passport into the canal so I couldn't leave. Maybe I'll live there someday.
7. The train ride from Berlin to Prague.
The views were breathtaking, but that wasn't the only reason that train ride was so amazing. We were sitting with a couple that was absolutely hilarious. And the strangest part was that the wife grew up in Charlotte, where my family is from. We met up with them for drinks the next night and the guy told us about his plans to propose at the Prague castle the next night.
8. Getting off the train in southern Germany and seeing one of my best friends for the first time in over a year.
I missed her so much, and it felt so good to see her again. Once we started talking, it felt like no time had passed at all.
9. I read a speech at a wedding.
When my aunt got married, she asked me to read a small script. This was probably the largest crowd I had ever spoken in front of, but I didn't feel nervous. I actually made both of my parents cry. I felt good about my confidence.
10. Partying in Mexico with one of my best friends.
This is the first trip I've ever completely paid for myself. I'm proud that I saved up money and I'm more independent than I've ever been. I've eaten the most incredible food and experienced so much Mexican culture.
I'm starting off 2018 feeling optimistic. I feel like this is going to be another huge year for me. I'll have my first real job at a startup, I'll live on my own again, and hopefully, I'll get to travel more.