I said I would try to get this done before then end of the year and I did NOT get that accomplished. In my defense, it has been CRAZY here with family flying in and working my last few days before my wedding time off. However, here it goes.
If someone asked me right now what I am most proud of from 2017, I honestly don’t know what to pick. This year has been a rollercoaster of things happening. Let’s start off in the beginning. Cole and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary and that same week we found out we would be spending his shore duty in Hawaii. Learning that filled me with mixed emotions of excitement and a bit of worry. I was more than elated to be spending our first three years married in Hawaii, but scared to leave my family. The longest I had spent without seeing my parents was around 4 months and the farthest I had ever been, for any real amount of time, was 2 hours. So, moving to an island that was both distant and expensive was going to be an adventure. As of now, we are living in paradise and love it. Being separated from my family and living “on my own” with Cole has taught me an awful lot about myself. I have done some great things that make me feel like a true adult and I have made some mistakes that make me feel like a child again. We have battled with our garbage disposal, a broken washer, our car dying because we forget to turn the lights off, and so many other things. All of the things I have learned from living away from my family have made me feel stronger and make me realize that I am an adult.
After getting the news of moving to Hawaii, I graduated nursing school (in three years) summa cum laude and I am ridiculously proud of myself for accomplishing that feat. I worked my butt off, giving up summers, vacations, and (sometimes) my health to graduate early and at the top of my class. Cole was able to fly in for my graduation and pinning ceremony, making it even more special. We only got to spend a week together until he had to fly out to Hawaii and get settled before I moved out in August, but we cherished time despite the brevity.
The summer after graduating was filled helping my father build a cabin and studying for my NCLEX. My father and I spent several weekends down in Southern Indiana (Friendship, Indiana to be exact) constructing a masterpiece. This time was not only special because it was spent with my father, but also because I was able to better all those construction skills my dad taught me over the years and create one massive product. While it is probably bigger than it needs to be and we had some hang-ups along the way, I will never forget that summer where I spent more time on a roof than I ever need, a ladder fell out from under my father, and I learned that I can still sunburn under layers of sunscreen. Also, fiberglass is awful and I break out worse than with grass. This past summer I also went to my last (for a while) NMLRA National Spring Shoot (also the home of the cabin we built). This was a bittersweet time because I felt like I grew-up in Friendship and I will always cherish the memories that I have made there. I am hoping in the next few years I will have an opportunity to return to Friendship. Throughout the summer I also studied for my boards and visited my few friends in Muncie as I prepared to depart on a different chapter of my life so far away from everyone. I blocked out several hours a day to study, several more to play with my dog, and a few more to just be with my family and friends. Thankfully, in July, I passed my boards as painlessly as the NCLEX can be.
On the first of August, my mom, my best friend, and I all filed into my mother’s’ car and drove to the Indy Airport to drop me off. I spent 15+ hours traveling that day and I was officially moved to Hawaii. When I landed Cole placed a Lei around my neck and we collected our bags. Cole drove me to our new home and I was mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape. I left Indiana around 7 am but landed in Honolulu at 2ish that afternoon, so the sun was shining high. I was exhausted from all the travelling, but Cole made me sign the lease so “Yazel” could be added to our mailbox. I spent the next few months figuring my way around, eating delicious food, and making amazing friends. Since landing I have lost weight and gone on hikes I could have only dreamed of, all with my best friend by my side. Although there have been hikes I swear I hated, every minute on the trails with Cole has been amazing. I have cut my time down on hiking Kokohead from over an hour to 33 minutes (we even watched the sunrise over the ocean that morning). I have made three different running routes, and consistently shortened my times there as well. I have also mastered yoga poses I once believed I would never be able to manage.
Another proud moment of 2017 came when I got accepted to Hawaii Pacific University for Pre-Medicine courses. I am more than ready to start classes in the Fall of 2018. I know that at one point I was saying how excited I was to not have to take finals again or go to class, but I really missed it this past year (of course after I caught up on all the sleep I ignored during nursing school). Last year around this time I realized that I am not meant to stay an RN but continue on my education to medical school. This is not because I think I am “too good” to be an RN, but because my passion and dreams reside in furthering my education and pursuing pathology. It took me a long time to realize that I am more into pathology and physiology than patient care, which is why I am choosing a different career path. Don’t get me wrong, I loved nursing school and I have loved the patients and experiences that came with it. But every step I’ve taken so far has merely illuminated a path for my future that I am even more excited to go down.
The final proud moment of 2017 came when Cole and I filed for our marriage license, finished all wedding related scheduling, paid for all wedding things, and began to fly in people for the big day! I am so excited to start off 2018 with our wedding, surrounded by close friends and family. Cole and I have dedicated quite a bit of time to ensuring that our intimate, no-fuss ceremony remains stress-free, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have long thought that I wanted a really small wedding and after events of the past few years, I think it is all for the best. Also, what better way to get married than in Hawaii, on a beach, without shoes, and to your best friend?
While 2017 was filled with great things, it was also filled, with not so great things. This last year of our long distance relationship was hard, but made me even more excited to begin living together. We left our friends and family back in Indiana, and the saddest part, I had to leave my pupper behind. Several of my packages have been lost by the US Postal Service. I am yet to have an RN job (however I love my bookstore job), and I am yet to have a pet (but that will soon change). All of these things would have happened at one point, but it just seems like it hit harder because I can’t drive to my family or to the place I called home for so many years, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
2017 also included MORE TATTOOS, I was able to watch my first ever autopsy (only reaffirming that it is indeed what I want to do), and I baked more cheesecakes (each a little better than the last). Cole and I went to several different zoos and Disney World for a 4 day trip. I was able to read books that I have been putting off for a while, I have spent more time on mountains than I could dream of, and I was able to spend Christmas on a beach. Cole and I got to spend our first Christmas together and exchanged cute little gifts. We got engagement photos taken and created a routine that only comes after living together. Cole has made me some delicious food and we have created go to restaurants and a bar for our friends to spend time together in. I got to eat sushi more often (because Hawaii is amazing). We were able to attend a Chainsmokers concert for fairly cheap and live in what many consider a paradise (I would be included in that many).
This is a short post, mainly because I wrote so much in my past ones. So I’ll end with a few goals for 2018.
- Marry the love of my life.
- Consistently write monthly blog posts for everyone and post more pictures.
- Accomplish my yoga goals which have been written down for personal use.
- Begin lifting weights (which will probably happen when I begin school again because I don’t have a gym).
- Hit my running goals and enter a 5K for the first time ever.
- Journal more because I have been lacking a bit.
- Read 50 books starting after I finish the one I am currently on.
- Hike at least 2x per month but shoot for once a week.
They aren’t much, but I am proud of them all. My goals are things that I want to do and accomplish for my personal benefit. 2017 was good (for me at least) and I am excited for what 2018 will bring. Cole and I rang in the New Year with Jess, Andy, and the kids last night and honestly I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This morning was breakfast at my favorite (Eggs N’ Things) and a quick apartment clean before my first friend lands this afternoon. Tomorrow the remaining guests arrive and I am extremely excited.
Happy New Year!
**The pictures below are in order by month starting in March because nothing really happened in January and February because I was in the middle of my capstone for Nursing School. People featured include Cole and I, Buzz, Woody, Rex, Myah, My dog Chip, a cute turtle my dad and I saved, Jess, a dog we got back to its owner, Andy, and the evolution of my shoes over the past year. **