Rewind 2014

We’re a day away from 2015 now so it’s that time of the year that I review the year that was.  2014 was personally an exciting year for me but in light of all the unfortunate events that have occurred this year, I am ending it with a heavy heart. Losing MH370, MH17 and QZ8501 all in the same year are devastating blows. The Sydney Siege was an atrocity that shook me to my core. Tragedies happen everywhere and unfortunately it’s quite easy to be desensitized to it all when you keep hearing about it. But this year it became a lot more personal for me as it happened to places close to my heart and to people I knew. Death puts everything into perspective, just thinking about these events make my own life experiences this year seem almost laughable. But through understanding sadness, we also appreciate the happiness in our lives. Recapping the year is my own reminder that I am alive, that this is real and that I am so lucky to be here.

But before that, I partake in the painful activity of revisiting my 2014 resolutions to see if I’ve completed any of them. You can view the original post here or just continue reading the most self-depreciating post of the year.

  1. Write a novella

A novella is something longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. 80 pages tends to be the average. The current two pieces that I’m working on are a paltry 15 pages in total, including scratching at the beginnings about the rough idea. At the start of 2014 I expected myself to have a lot of free time while on exchange, but fortunately and unfortunately this was not the case. It’s still pretty pathetic that I can’t commit to writing 80 pages of anything, regardless of quality. On the plus side, I have an editor (read: friend who doesn’t mind reading my work) for one of them and 2015 looks like the year I might start publishing fiction online again so stay tuned! Resolution failed.

  1. Blog everyday

This was a ridiculous resolution to begin with. I could easily blog everyday but it would most likely be garbage. Consistency is what I was really aiming for I swear, so I am proud to show that although the blogs aren’t daily they are definitely more frequent than they were in the beginning. Resolution accomplished(?)

  1. Write a diary at least twice a week

Didn’t attempt this at all. I received a beautiful diary as a going away present from two of my closest friends but it was more of a daily planner than a ‘Dear Diary’ type of book. The handwritten word is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past and I am ashamed to admit to not standing up for it. I don’t think that I am just romanticising about the act of writing, I tend to have better ideas, a better flow and much less distractions when I’m with a pen than with a keyboard. I’m going to reissue this resolution for 2015, if anything, as an excuse to get another gorgeous notebook to look at then leave on my shelf for the rest of the year. Resolution failed.

  1. Learn how to code

I was really optimistic about this happening. Whenever I’m actively embarking on a new skill I always picture a Mulan montage where I struggle super hard in the beginning but eventually figure out a trick no one else knows and end up climbing that pillar of defeat in seconds. This is probably why Disney is moving towards more realistic storylines. I maybe made three solid attempts at this with a ridiculous patient tutor-boyfriend who probably speaks code more fluently than English. It never stuck, I am really bad at this and I am not all that surprised considering how much more language based I am compared to numbers. I’m going to have to consult tutor-boyfriend to see if I should bother picking this up again. Resolution failed.

  1. Learn another new skill

I was feeling pretty horrible yesterday as I Skyped Robert while Iooking through photos of 2014 that I realised in spite all the amazing things I got to do this year, I hadn’t actually picked up any new solid, concrete skills. It completely didn’t occur to me until he helpfully pointed out that I had most definitely picked up photography this year based on how much better I am at it. I’m not going to post any crap before photos so you just have to trust me that I was really bad, in comparison to some of my favourite photos that I’ve taken this year that will be below. Resolution accomplished

  1. Be less hard on myself

It’s still a work in progress but I think I am getting there. Resolution failed.

You don’t need to be a maths major to know that 2/6 isn’t a good score at all. Some resolutions like finishing a novella were always going to be difficult but I am disappointed that something as simple as writing a diary didn’t happen. I’ll be picking all of my failed resolutions up again (minus the coding one) and including a few more so these are my 2015 resolutions:

  1. Write a novella (80 pages)
  2. Write a diary at least twice a week
  3. Be less hard on myself
  4. Complete all cooking challenges (more info to come)
  5. Even out the ratio of food to lifestyle to book blogs. I’m thinking at least three lifestyle posts a month and two book posts a month
  6. Visit a new city
  7. Continue consistent fitness regime
  8. Complete my double degree

Now that that’s done, here are some of the highlights of my 2014.

  1. I went on exchange

Not sure if anything I will do in my young adult life will be able to top the crazy and wondrous adventure that was living in Sweden for six months. Here is my mega gushy recap of exchange.

  1. I travelled to 15 different cities this year

2014montage555

Not to be a cliché but they really were all beautiful and insightful in their own way. Yes even Malaysia for the 432943rd time and Sydney for the 23894th time! I think there is always something new to learn everyday, everywhere. I’ve linked to all my individual travel posts below except for Hong Kong which I unfortunately went prior to starting this blog so I never set aside photos for it. I’m also still working on my Japan backlog.

All my posts on Sweden

Helsinki 1 | Helsinki 2

London 1| London 2 | London 3

Belgium – Brussels | Belgium – Bruges

Barcelona

Greece – Athens | Greece – Santorini

Cobar 1 | Cobar 2

Malaysia – Summer

3. I started food blogging again

I started food blogging again properly this year and this time I don’t think I’ll be stopping. I have my dad to thank largely for this because of the new camera I got at the start of the year. Good photos are so much more inspiring to write next to. You can view all of my restaurant reviews here but here are some of my favourites based on write up, photography and excellent company I had.

Burger Liquor Lobster 

Autolyse

Sepia

4. I interned at a magazine

Which has always been a dream of mine. The magazine was Flavours no less, one of my favourite publications in Malaysia. It was such a great experience where I met so many friendly and insightful people, supervisors and people in the food industry alike. You can see snapshots of stuff I helped write in my writing portfolio.

5. I got a new job

In Asian culture (or at least Malaysia), kids don’t usually work until after they’ve graduated because parents really want their children to focus on their studies, and will continue to support them financially until they get their first proper grad job. Because of this my parents have always had a mixture of pride, confusion and worry whenever I applied for work because they were always afraid my studies would slack. I’ve held several casual and part-time positions and internships but this is my first real working girl office job in a line of work that I’m actually interested in pursuing long-term. So it definitely made my parents sit up and pay attention because this wasn’t retail or f&b or me just trying to make a quick buck. Work is fast paced and exciting and I feel like I am learning a lot from my colleagues and from the work we do. But at the end of the day, it’s honestly tough, and I always remember what my parents said to me when I finished my first shift at my first job ever (at a food court); earning money is hard. It feels good earning my own dollars so I don’t have to be as dependent on my parents but at the same time it’s also made me quite spendthrift because now I pick something off the rack and go “Is this worth three/four/five hours of work of my time in the office?”

6. Interned at Broadsheet Sydney

Broadsheet Sydney is one of my favourite online collectives of what to do, what to see and what to eat all over Sydney. They’re chic and minimalistic online and my internship with them revealed amazingly talented people who truly talk and walk Broadsheet. It was also eye-opening to see the procedure involved in getting things up on the site, tip: it’s not always just hitting publish. You can see some of the stuff I wrote for them in my writing portfolio.

7. Can officially call myself a freelance writer

2014 is the year I finally got paid as a writer. I will never forget it or the people involved in helping me get to this position and who still continue to assist in the process. You know who you guys are.

8. Improved my cooking and baking skills

All Sam’s Kitchen posts are here but these are my highlights.

You may have seen this coming from a mile away but I am still so goddamn proud of my housewarming.

The Matchamon (or matcha-cinnamon pull-apart bread) is my most successful baking endeavour to date.

And you know I just really adore matcha so here are my uber fluffy green tea pancakes.

9. I found strength in my relationships

As a reader you would probably never guess from my blog that I am often a terribly difficult person to deal with in real life. One of the things I strive for the most is to be a better person to the people who love me and who I care about in return. It’s a lifelong progress but I would like to thank several people in this space. To Elaine and Flic, who no matter where they are in the world, be it in rural NSW or on the Inca trail, I know I can always count on them to listen to my whines. To Mark because bo jio. To Natalie for keeping my ambition alive. To Janice for all our conversations about Malaysia vs Australia culture, they have definitely kept me sane. To Robert, who not only goes looking for me in my darkest hours but also brings a candle. And to my mom who has literally been there since the beginning. Thanking you once a year isn’t enough, nor is every day or every hour.

Thus concludes my resolution and 2014 reflective post. The one person/people/group of individuals I need to thank now is you guys, whoever who is taking time out of their day to read my blog. It is the highest of compliments anyone could ever give me. While stats really don’t matter all that much to me, it definitely is a good feeling to know that there’s someone on the other end of the line. Happy New Year everyone, it’s time to press play into 2015.

samanthawxlow

11 Comments

    • Thanks Amne! I hope you had a great 2014 as well. Keeping doing what you’re doing with your blog. I’ve learnt a lot from it and I intend to continue doing so.

    • Thank you, and Happy New Year to you too! I took a peak at your blog, love the slice of life concept to it. Sweden and the UK are two of my favourite countries in Europe and you are lucky to have lived in both.

    • It is a little bit intimidating but I am hoping for an even better year, for all of us too. Thanks for always leaving such sweet comments Helen. Here’s to you for 2015 and many food adventures. Hope we get to meet one day!

    • Thanks Suze! And thank you for always being an inspiration with your blog. It’s a little bit crazy that I’ve been reading it for four years now!

    • Thank you so much Ming! I can’t believe you’re away for the rest of the year? When will we catch up 🙁 Hopefully I’ll make a trip to Singapore in the middle of the year!

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