Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Here I am. The countdown is up. My leave is over. Tomorrow is return to the life I once knew. Except that I don't know that life anymore. The faces are different, the structure altered, expectations changed. I'm entering into a new phase of my life, and again I have no idea what to expect.

When I left work, and Canada I faced an unknown world and an undefined adventure. I had no idea what to expect and I was terrified. So much that it hindered my ability to enjoy myself for the first while. Eventually things turned, got better, and now when faced with the same situation, I'm a little excited. The unknown isn't scary anymore; it's interesting. This is just one of the personal developments that I've noticed over the last year and one of the reasons I'm happy that I got to experience everything I did. At times I wish it'd never ended, but now I'm glad it's over because I know that I'm going to be entering a new phase of my life that will be filled with it's own unknown adventures. And now I'm better prepared for it.

With that, I'd like to say thank you for reading my gibberish (heavy pun intended) over the past year. I was thrilled that not only I could bring many of my friends and family along for the ride, but more that anyone cared at all. All of the kind words along the way helped me keep going when I didn't want to, helped me taking photos when I was tired, and helped me realize how lucky I was to see all these places.

How lucky was I? Here's a list of random things that happened in the last year.

-Visited the Venetian Casino in Macau, the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas and Venice within 3 months.
-Saw the real Eiffel Tower in Paris and the fake Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas.
-Saw the real Colosseum in Rome and replicas in China and Las Vegas.
-Ran 7 half marathons on 3 different continents.
-Ran over 700km altogether.
-Took over 26,000 photos.
-Traveled to 14 different countries (Canada, USA, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, China, United Kingdom, Hungary, Austraia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy).
-Visited 7 of 8 states in Australia.
-Skied in June and July in Australia.
-Skied in December in Montana.
-Worked at and watched the Australian Grand Prix
-Took 30 plane rides
-Took 20 train rides
-Visited 4 continents
-Put my foot in 4 different oceans
-Broke 6 pairs of headphones
-Broke 2 ipods
-Broke 2 cameras
-Played 5 rounds of golf
-Took day trips to Slovakia, Hong Kong, the Great Ocean Road and Wales.
-Didn't drive from January 7 till October 8. Then drove 18,000km in three months.
-Went swimming outside in -32 weather.
-Swam in a waterfall.
-Wore a snake on my shoulders (only to have it crawl into my shirt).
-Found Nemo.
-Watched parts of the World Junior Hockey Championships live.
-Fell in love with a new sport. Went to 5 Australian Football League games.
-Saw my first Cricket match in person and learned the rules of the game.
-Hiked up a volcano in New Zealand.
-Saw jellyfish that were bigger than me in the water I was swimming in.
-Witnessed the before and after of political violence in Bangkok.
-Experienced a flash flood in downtown Melbourne.
-Lived for weeks in places where I didn't speak the language.
-Rediscovered my ability to speak French.
-Became an uncle for the third time.
-Lost friends and family members.

Thanks again for reading. And don't worry, I'm not really done traveling. 38 days till Japan!

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