I know that everyone’s been saying 2016 is the worst year ever, but it really wasn’t that bad for me. This was probably my most exciting year yet. Sure politically and environmentally it’s sucked, but let’s not get into that right now. I’ve had a really awesome year filled with family, transitions, travel…. It’s definitely a year I will remember for good reasons.
I’m going to try to put everything in chronological order, but I may lose track a bit.
Before I start the post, I decided to start with a funny story. I was trying to remember what I was doing during New Years last year, then I remembered I was at my cousins’ house. The youngest one’s birthday is on December 31st (He turned 3. He’s 4 now). My cousin in New York was going to get married (Married now), so everyone was talking about it. It was probably one in the morning when my uncle joked, “We have to start finding a husband for you.”
At that point, I thought, “Cr*p. It’s starting.” This was a total joke. Arranged marriages are a relatively outdated thing (They still happen, but you decide whether or not you want to marry the person.) I thought I had time, but the cousin that just got married got married out of college. I thought I had a few years, but no. I’m next. I’m not actually next. I have a few cousins older than me in Bangladesh, but in terms of America, I’m next. (Unless I have some cousin I don’t know about, which would not be that surprising.)
All of this was just a joking matter. But once I’m finished with college, bring on the marriage pressure.
(Disclaimer-My family isn’t that crazy and I do not want to indulge into any Indian (I’m actually Bengali) stereotypes. This was just a funny story and I’m pretty sure this will happen to all women at some point. It just happened to me before I graduated high school, and even then, no one expects me get married right now. It was just a funny conversation.)
//Last Semester Of High School
This semester was full of fun senior events like prom and movie night. It was also full of restlessness. Everyone, including myself, was ready for the next chapter of their lives (meaning college). I loved high school, but I was so done by the end of it. It was still a good first few months of the year.
A huge reason why 2016 is one for the books. This is a huge milestone that I am deeply proud of. I got through the blood, sweat, and tears (literally all of them) that came with my high school. I got through all 4 years doing pretty well, I must say. Our class started with 350 people and 190 graduated (everyone else dropped out of the school. We never let anyone in after the first two weeks because they’d never catch up) Needless to say, I was prepared for college (I got straight A’s this semester!) and I owe it all to GSMST.
//I Started A Blog
I started this blog on May 29, 2016; a mere four days after graduating. I had been planning on starting a blog for awhile, but I finally got the guts to buy the domain and set it up that day. June was filled with me sitting on my laptop and writing, coding, and designing this blog. Doing this has been so fulfilling and I am amazed at how far I’ve come and the new blogger friends I’ve made (shout out to Joanne). I absolutely love doing this.
//My Grandmother Had A Brain Tumor Removed And Survived
I guess “Great Aunt” in English, but in my culture, we just say “grandma.” Everyone was very worried at the beginning of the year. She waited a while for the surgery because she wanted to do Hajj before it happened. She is a lot better now. We went to visit her in Florida in June after her surgery and she looked really sick. My dad thought she was on her deathbed. When we came back again a month later, she was up on her feet complaining about how no one will let her do anything and asking me to take pictures of her. She was back to normal. She was even well enough to travel to Atlanta last November. I got to see my little cousins 3 times in the span of 5 months (We normally see each other once a year). They were so happy.
Everyone is very grateful that she’s fine and didn’t need any radiation after the surgery. I’m bringing this up is because something really bad could’ve happened this year. The chances were high. I can’t imagine visiting Florida and that grandmother (there are a lot) not being there. It’ll happen eventually for everyone. As we get older, family members are going to pass away, so appreciate them being there now.
//My Mom Saw Her Brother After Over 20 Years
Definitely a HUGE highlight of the year! My parents moved to Atlanta after they got married. They’ve never gone back to Bangladesh. Her younger brother and his wife live in Sydney. Technology, nowadays, allows them to communicate, but they hadn’t seen each other in person in around 22 years.
My uncle and his family came to Atlanta on July 6th (which was also Rojar Eid, which is at the end of Ramadan). We went to pick them up at the Airport in the evening. There were lots of hugs and tears, needless to say. They stayed for a month and we all traveled around America together.
//I Saw So Much Family During Eid
My house was full in July. I had family from Texas, Tennessee, Canada, Australia, and Atlanta at my house. It was so much fun to be surrounded by family that holiday. My little cousins were running around everywhere. As I said before, in the evening we went to the Airport to pick up my uncle’s family. We all came home and ate dinner, talked, watched movies…it was so great. Definitely a lasting memory.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a bunch.
//I Went To Disney World
Disney World is as good as it comes, but going with 17 people was definitely great! My parents, brothers and I had been there before, but it was everyone else’s first time. They were all Disney World virgins, ha! My aunt from Australia was especially excited. She kept talking about how she had dreamed of going there since she was eleven. It really made me appreciate that I had been able to experience the magic of Disney as a child. (Don’t get me wrong. It’s still an evil corporation that will keep growing and growing until it takes over the world, but the characters and stories have definitely captured my heart.)
We drove to Florida in a fifteen seater van.
Being in the Indiana Jones Stunt Show was a huge highlight. In fact, it was on my list! I wasn’t able to volunteer for this show last year because I wasn’t 18 yet, but I jumped up and down raising my hand this time. I was so excited to get picked and see the explosions up close. Here’s a video of the show, but if you ever go to Hollywood Studios, this show is a must.
The night ended with watching my favorite Disney World show Fantasmic. The next day, after saying goodbye to our family in Orlando, we drove back to Atlanta where we spent the night before we headed to Tennessee.
Related: 10 Must See Walt Disney World Shows
//We Went To Tennessee
This was a short three-day trip. While we spent the night in Atlanta, my cousins from Tennessee drove back to their home to prepare for our visit. It was a pretty low-key trip. We spent the two days relaxing in their small town, eating, and hanging out. I ended up waking up with a fever on day two, so I just laid limp on an air mattress in pain watching Netflix on the air mattress. This was fine, though, because my brother and I had gotten our cousin and nephew obsessed with Girl Meets World, so we all binge watched it on Netflix while talking. I stayed home while everyone else went out because I was sick, but that was fine. Sometimes you need a break from the noise.
My cousin and her husband have a chicken coop and pet rabbits in their backyard. we all held them and fed them and took them out of their cages. At night, they’d light a bonfire outside, barbecue food, and set up fireworks, while everyone sang Bangla songs. It was so nice. After that, we headed home to spend a few days in Atlanta before going up to NY for my cousin’s wedding.
//We Went To New York And I Actually Did Touristy Stuff
I’ve been to New York like a dozen times, but I had never done the touristy stuff. We mostly just visit family. Of course, I’ve seen a few things like Time Square and watched a Broadway show or two, but we had never done anything “touristy.” Do you know how real New Yorkers spend New Years Eve? They watch the ball drop on T.V in their living room like smart people.
Since it was my uncle’s family’s first time in New York, they had a whole list of places they wanted to go. Since I hadn’t seen most of the stuff before, I decided to tag along. It was a lot of fun and hard on the feet, but so worth it. I’m so glad my aunt, who is a New Yorker, came with us, otherwise we’d have gotten hopelessly lost.
Guys….do I have stories. Both from this trip and many others.Let’s just say, no one wants to be stuck on the Subway at 2 AM.
//I Watched Matilda On Broadway
I’ve spouted on and on about my love of broadway shows before. I even shared a bucket list for them. In July, I got the opportunity to see Matilda: The Musical. It was a great show and we had awesome seats near the front.
Related: Broadway Show Bucket List
//My Cousin Got Married
I’m Bengali, so weddings last for days. I loved it. There was so much family everywhere. I saw a cousin who lives in BD now. I haven’t seen him since he came to Atlanta in 3 years. There was so much music and dancing. I love going to weddings.
My only real complaint is that I couldn’t spend as much time in the bier bari or wedding house that much. I was traveling around New York with my cousins from Austrailia. My brother Zidan got to spend more time with our family there than I did, but I don’t regret it. I go to New York a lot, while I probably won’t see my family in Australia for a couple of years. I just wish we could’ve spent more time there to spend more time with everyone. There was a lot of running around for the wedding, which was hilarious to watch by the way. The first thing the bride (my cousin) said to me was “Triasha move!” because she was running around the house the day of one of the ceremonies. She apologized later, so it was fine. You people think American weddings are stressful. Multiply that by more days (meaning more venues, outfits, and food) and think of all the extra stress that comes with them.
//We Went To Washington D.C.
I’ve been to Washington D.C before, but it was still great to go back. The best part is the free museums. The Smithsonian is huge and is impossible to conquer in two days, but we got through a good chunk of them. I even saw a painting by Leonardo Davinci that was temporarily at the National Art Museum. Some of my cousins in New York decided to tag along with us, which made it infinitely more fun. Here are a few pictures.
//I Started College
This was the biggest transition this year, going from high school to college. I won’t go too much into this because I’ve written about it before, but I will say that I’ve been loving college and it’s been a big part of this year.
//I Explored Atlanta More Than Before
I’ve lived in metro-Atlanta my whole life, but I hadn’t explored the city parts of Atlanta that much. We’d usually drive there and had a destination in mind. Because I walked everywhere after taking the train, I had many opportunities to explore. I’m glad I took advantage of that because I love Atlanta even more now.
//I Voted For The First Time
This was a huge milestone for me. I was so proud of myself and excited to do this.
//I Went To The Smoky Mountains
I won’t go much into this because I did a whole recap a few days ago. This was my last trip of the year. I’ve never been to the Smoky Mountains before, so I’m following my goal of going to one new place every year. (It’s on this list if you’re interested)
//I Am More Independent Now Than Before
This has been a huge year on this front. When I think about where I was at the begining of 2016 and where I am now, I realize how much I’ve grown. It’s amazing when you think about it. The next ten years are going to filled with a lot of growth in very little time, so I should get used to time passing (it’s definitely not flying, yet)
Well, 2017 is finally here. I know I’m going to make this a great year and I hope and pray things don’t take a bad turn for everyone in the world considering how things have been going lately. Let’s hope for the best. Yesterday, I rang in the New Year outside while it was cold and drizzling rain with one of my best friends and my brother watching my neighbors set off fireworks, even though fireworks aren’t allowed in the neighborhood. It was definitely a great way to start off this year. I wish you all the best and hope you’ve enjoyed this year in review.
What was your favorite memory of 2016? What are you most excited about for the year to come?