This year seems to have flown by faster than any other, with many events and experiences crammed together into a small corner of my brain. It would be impossible to list every exciting memory from the year 2017, so I'll focus on the main highlights instead.
#1 - The best thing that happened to me this year was getting an unexpected addition to my family. One day, while casually browsing through the pet store, I was coerced into holding an incredibly small ball of fluff by one of the overeager sales clerks. I've picked up and played with puppies and dogs in the past, with no emotional attachment, but there was something about this adorable cream colored puppy that wouldn't let me put her down. I had no idea what breed she was, or what kind of work would go into raising and training a puppy, but I knew right then and there that I wasn't going to be leaving the store without her. So, towards the end of the summer, I ended up taking home a lovable long-haired chihuahua. She is energetic and charismatic, and seems to turn every day into an adventure.
#2 - Netflix. Before Netflix, I watched little to no TV, but now I'm into the trend of binge-watching entire series over the course of a few days. Having something entertaining to watch on the weekends definitely helped me connect better with my friends in the U.K. and North America. Some memorable series that I've watched this year are: Ozark, Drop Dead Diva, Glitch, Prison Break, Schitt's Creek, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and House of Cards.
#3 - Good food. This year, thanks to the recommendations of students and friends, I was able to enjoy some really good restaurants. The last restaurant that I went to this year was recommended by at least 4 different students who raved about the quality of its roast beef. Lawry's the Prime Rib far exceeded my expectations in terms of quality, service, and the overall atmosphere of the restaurant. The roast beef, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn were all delicious. It was also fun going through the buffet of fresh vegetables to have something to munch on before the main course. If you like roast beef, then you've got to try this restaurant!
#4 - Trump. A reminder that politics sometimes makes absolutely no sense.
#5 - Getting stranded in Mie during a major typhoon that destroyed part of the highway leading back to Osaka. My husband ended up driving for nearly twelve hours through the wreckage that the typhoon had left behind. We didn't have time to stop for lunch or dinner, so we had to settle for steamed pork buns from the convenience store, which we ate in the car.
#6 - Studying Spanish. It was a lot of fun while it lasted, and I was making much better progress with it than I had been with the pronunciation of Chinese. Unfortunately, this hobby has been put on hold in order to conserve more energy for training and playing with my hyper puppy. I might make it a resolution to get back into it next year.
#7 - Minimalism. This is an ongoing hobby/interest of mine that I've been perfecting over the last while. With every box of stuff that makes it way to some new donation site, I feel like my life is becoming so much more organized. It has also made me a lot wiser with purchase decisions.