2016 – A Year in Review

I have a lot to write about since my last post, but I’m going to catch up on that stuff next year ūüėČ . ¬†As New Years Eve¬†approached, I started thinking about my year and decided I should write a blog before the New Year begins! ¬†The year 2016 was a big one for me. ¬†I’m having trouble wrapping my head around all that has happened and all the travel I was able to do in merely 12 months!

I started off the year working at a law firm in Washington, D.C.  Having watched my father build an impressive career in the public sector, I have never wanted anything less than to work in DC.  Private sector was a bit of a side step for me after interning in the public sector for the entirety of my college career.  Nonetheless, working in DC was a fantastic experience for me.  I joined a Kickball League with friends on the National Mall!  The firm at which I worked also provided tickets to local DC sports games, which was a blast.  Not only was I working in the field that I had studied, but I loved it!  And the paychecks allowed for me to pop around on mini vacations without guilt!

Four months into the year, I found out that I made it into the TAPIF program!! ¬†I received the email while I was on a belated-graduation-trip with my mom. ¬†I was immediately overwhelmed because I truly loved my job in DC but I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this! ¬†When I received the acceptance, I experienced a miniature quarter-life crisis. ¬†I had only two weeks to tell the program yes or no. ¬†On the one hand, I had wanted to do this program ever since I heard of it. ¬†However, a little part of me started to feel weird knowing that I would turn 25 during that¬†school year. ¬†It seemed a little backwards to quit a full-time well-paid practical job in order to accept a position teaching¬†part-time… even if it meant living abroad!

year motto

Luckily for me, my parents were beyond supportive of me in making this decision. ¬†It’s pretty overwhelming to think about how encouraging they have been through all of this. ¬†I thought for sure my parents would have scoffed at my TAPIF income (I work 12 hours a week folks), but as my father says,

you aren’t going there for the money, you’re going for the experience!

Moving to France was a bit of an adjustment. ¬†However, within the first month of living in Lille it truly felt¬†like home to me. ¬†Whenever I travel, I’m so excited to return¬†to Gare Lille Flandres! ¬†Three months later and I have a favorite coffee place, a favorite crepe restaurant, a favorite kebab spot (VERY important here in the North), and a favorite bar! ¬†French administration is a bigger nightmare than I could have ever imagined, but I can laugh it off now (…sometimes). ¬†My middle school students are the most adorable things ever, and I have so much fun every time I get to work with them! ¬†My high schoolers are¬†not so little, but they are hilarious and also a blast to work with.¬† ūüôā

My French speaking abilities are still a work-in-progress. ¬†However, I am able to understand almost everything my students say to each other now! ¬†I’ve started attending Franglish events, to force myself to practice more. ¬†During my mother’s visit, I was basically her translator and I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to communnicate.¬† A little less than five more months to progress!!

I started this blog over the summer as I prepared for my move. ¬†Subsequently, I created an instagram account just for this blog and my travels. ¬†Because that only accounts for half of my year, I took the “Best 9” IGs from both my personal account and my Blog account. ¬† Amusingly enough,¬†even my personal account only shows IGs from the second half of 2016! ¬†I clearly had an eventful END of the year as I said goodbye to loved ones and moved abroad.

Travel Highlights of 2016

(in chronological order)


Visiting Buenos Aires and Cordoba with the best tourguide and friend ever!  First visit to S America

Mini Roadtrip from AZ to Cali

I got to see my oldest niece and then drive through the desert with my momma!

San Diego!

My first ever trip to the West Coast!  An amazing gift from my momma

Savannah, GA

Another first for me… first visit to this gorgeous city during my semi-annual reunion with my college gals

Firefly Festival – Dover, DE

Though this was my third Music Festival, it was my first camping 4-day festival!

July 4th – Bethany Beach

No firsts here, but one of my favorite feel-good places with family friends

HOOPLA 2016 – Orlando

My first convention with my second job, Stella & Dot!

My Going Away BBQ and Bon Voyage Dinner

Never have I ever felt so loved!

Paris, France

First time back in my favorite place in over two years!

Dublin, Ireland

Though I’d been to Ireland before, this was my first time exploring Dublin!

Gent, Belgium

First time in this particular city in Belgium, and it is my new favorite Belgian city!

Fête des Lumières

Not my first tour of Lyon, but my first Festival of Lights for the books!

Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Until Luxembourg, all my trips in Europe were to countries I’d already visited!¬†¬†New country!

Lastly, I turned 25!

A whole quarter century, and I got to celebrate in my favorite city!

Now I am headed back to Paris to ring in the New Year!

Cheers to a new year and many, many more adventures to come!

Happy New Years y’all!


One Comment

  • Elaine

    Hi Shelby,

    Wow, what an exciting year you had. I hope 2017 is even better. Thanks for sharing your experience. Have a Happy New Year! Can’t wait to hear more!

    Love, Elaine

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