Goodbye 2016

Facebook has been showing me the yearly review video, I’ve been seeing bloggers recounting their 2016 experiences inΒ blogosphere, so I thought I should recount the highlights of my 2016 as well! πŸ™‚ Every year, I feel like I am growing tremendously in all aspects of life, and I enjoy the process: perhaps this is what early 20s are like for everyone.Β 2016 was a happy and eventful year for me with a few first-times, and I look forward to similar adventures in the coming year!

Jan-April

On January, I traveled to Athens, with my boyfriend. We didn’t like the city that much, but we did enjoy the short weekend trip. After returning, I had one of the worst flu I’ve ever had from the cold in Athens! At my job, I was assigned a new, additional role in the software development team I am in. I was excited to take up the role and explore it further.

On February, I with my boyfriend, traveled all the way to Sri Lanka in the middle of Polish winter! It was a first cross-continental trip for me, and it was ourΒ first time in Sri Lanka. I was very, very excited and we ended up having the best time in those two weeks. I saw wild monitor lizards for the first time in my life there! And we swam with amazing sea turtles in Sri Lanka – another first time. I submitted an application for exchanging my Nepali driver’s license for Polish one here in the local office, expecting the whole procedureΒ to take a few months at max.

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Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

On March, we decided to skip Easter and head to Amsterdam. I had been postponing visiting Amsterdam for a few years by then, so I enjoyed planning ahead for the trip. We flew right into Schipol airport in Amsterdam, but ended up staying in a village called Bergen some 1 hour away due to fully booked hotels/apartments that weekend! Best decision ever. I met my friend Ania from Poland, who lives in Belgium with her boyfriend – they drove all the way from Antwerp to see us in Amsterdam and it was very pleasant. I am always meeting Ania in all kinds of places – in Finland, Portugal, Poland, Belgium and Netherlands so far, in that order πŸ˜€ I wonder where next. I applied for the dreaded work visa extension some time in March as I had received an open-end contract from work.

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Bergen, the Netherlands

On April, we had our Georgia trip coming up! I invited my flatmate and Stanislaw invited his good buddy to join us in the trip, and the four of us went to fantastic, little Georgia in the Caucacus region together! The two of them fell in love over the trip and recently got engaged πŸ˜€ I loved Georgia – it was quite different from continental Europe and the nature was to die for. Unfortunately, I had to cut my holiday short due to my Polish resident permit expiring before our previously scheduled return date. I returned with a strong desire to go back for longer next time.

May-August

I enjoyed the warm spring sun in Poland while looking forward to our summer trips. Since I was still waiting for my new resident permit card to come through, I was stuck in Poland. We utilized those bright days by taking many motorbike weekend trips to places near Lodz. We went to forests and lakes in the outskirts of the city, barbecued delicious Polish sausages and enjoyed outdoor games. On a hot June weekend, we spontaneously went to the seaside about 3.5 hours north. Meanwhile, we were actively planning itinerary and other essentials for our grand, very-awaited motorcycle trip across southeastern Europe on the side.

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An artificial lake near Lodz

On July I bought my first car ever, an old, red Toyota Starlet. I started learning and driving it a bit with my boyfriend on the uncrowded parking spaces near forests and parks as I was still waiting for my Polish driver’s license to come through. I finally got my extended work permit+ resident permit sometime during early July! On August, we embarked on our motorcycle tour and had an unforgettable experience. I fell in love with the Balkan region, especially Montenegro, and I can’t wait to go back. Isn’t it true that the more you travel, your wishlist just keeps getting longer? I visited at least five countries for the first time on the trip.

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At my boyfriend’s cousin’s home in the village

September-December

We enjoyed warm, summer-like days in the first half of September. I savored the last few days of barbecue this year as barbecued Polish sausage (kielbasa) with mustard sauce might as well be my favorite thing ever. I still had to struggle with the complicated process of exchanging my Nepali license for a Polish one, as the communication between the two offices in two different countries wasn’t going smoothly, so my mum helped me a lot form the Nepali side, by going to the local office many times and coordinating.

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Ruins of a castle, near Lodz

On October, we went to Crete island to enjoy few days of warm Greek sun. It was blissful – we rented a car and explored many beautiful beaches. It was very active traveling and I was amazed as usual at the wild natural beauty of Crete and its variety of pristine beaches. Recounts of the trip coming up on the blog!

On November, I was saddened by the loss of my only remaining grandparent – paternal grandfather back in Nepal. Here in my boyfriend’s family though, November is a festive season as three of his four family members have birthdays on the same month! We enjoyed many birthday feasts on November and just a day or two of autumn sunshine :/ I finally received my driver’s license after 9 months of grueling bureaucracy and took the car out on the roads of Lodz!

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October in Crete!

On December, I’m enjoying the colder weather and the few days of snowfall that we had. The temperature now is pretty mild here and the snow is gone, but to enjoy some snow and nature, I am going to Slovakia tomorrow for a weekendΒ ski trip organized by the company I work for. I’ve never tried skiing before, and I’m curious how it’s going to be like! I am hoping for some sun in the snowy mountain slopes in Slovakia. We’ll see. Upon returning, we’ll be checking out the small Christmas market in Lodz, and of course enjoy the Christmas dinner with my boyfriend’s extended family like I’ve been doing since 2013.

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A snowy December nightΒ seen from my apartment window

Where to in 2017? Β 

2016 was full of travels and adventures for me and I hope to keep up! We’re going to my favorite Prague right after New Year’s for a few days, and after that in February to the Philippines! I’m loving every minute of planning the Philippines trip. I wised up to book a longer transit (a mistake I had made by not choosing a 24 hour transit in Male, Maldives this past February) in Guangzhou, China! I can’t wait to try all the awesome Chinese food, and check out some sites in the city, even though we’ll be there just for a day. It’s a little side bonus along with our much anticipated Philippines trip of course! On spring/summer of 2017, I am hoping for my family from Nepal to visit me here in Poland, and to show them around a few places in Europe.

On this blog, I was lucky to receive a few awards handed out by my fellow bloggers and enjoyed a growing readership. I want to thank you all for following along and taking part in virtual conversations through the comment box, I always appreciate and enjoy it! I am also thankful to have discovered some great blogs and bloggers – their posts I enjoy everyday over my morning coffee. I wish merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate and a prosperous, happy, adventure-filled 2017! Β πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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29 thoughts on “Goodbye 2016

  1. Thanks for sharing. It looks like that you had a really productive year πŸ™‚ It is quite interesting that you met your friend again and again during your trips. Just curious, but did you meet her by chance or did you plan to meet up with her? πŸ™‚

  2. Ugh, Polish residency cards, am I right???? The Polish government totally screwed up my Christmas plans last year because they forgot to file my paperwork. It’s crazy how long it takes them.

    1. Yes, they are swamped with work all the time – can you believe that I had to wait in the queue for 6 hours to even ask a little info in the foreigner’s department? Crazy!! I just wanted the ordeal to be over asap – at least the people dealing with my case at the urzad were quite co-operative and friendly, so it definitely helped.

  3. What a lovely recap of your year and how much you travelled! More than we managed in the past 7 years!
    What makes me wonder is the hassle with the driving license. As Poland is in the EU it should have also the same handling with such papers as I the rest of the EU (in case they don’t want to pay tons of penalties…). I know some people from Nepal in both Germany and Finland who just applied for the German/ Finnish license, meaning they only needed to do the theoretical test which was in English…because you know all over the EU they have to have English tests these days and that was it, voila new European driving license. They did not even had to change their Nepalese license / give it up and that all also applied to alll Chinese here who had already their Chinese license and needed a European one.

    1. It was more of Nepali bureaucracy gone wrong than the Polish one: the Nepali office delayed sending a verification letter, and finally when they did, they sent the license dates in Nepali calendar!! So the office here had to contact them again, and they sent another letter but with incomplete information etc 😦 All of this communication happened by traditional letter by post and considering Nepal’s postal service it took even longer! It was really a mess, and they were quite strict here about it, that it has to be by postal service, with every little info etc. Apparently Finland has slightly different rules for dealing with foreign licenses. And yes, finally I had to take theory exam after the office here was satisfied with the verification letter form Nepal and that was all! πŸ™‚

  4. A terrific blog, Pooja. I do admire your spirit. You are so different to most Nepalese women who cannot dream of such adventures. You will probably love the Philippines. I do although not the large towns and cities. I like rural Philippines and those gorgeous beaches and islands. My biggest regret was not going to Palawan. But I did go to some places totally off the tourist map, like Rombon Island and Sibuyan Island. I loved the beaches of islands off the coast of Cebu, like Bantayan and Malapascua. The inter island pump boats can be great fun and really scary but I can’t imagine a girl like you getting scared. Smiling here. Have lots of fun, Pooja, while you can. Old age comes to us like lightning later.

    1. Good morning, Dai. What a lovely comment. Thank you.
      Your Philippines adventures sound very dreamy Dai! How long ago was it? We’re actually going right to Palawan. Yes, I also decided to skip Manila so we’re taking a domestic plane the same day we land on Manila to Palawan. Philippines is my kind of place Dai – I just love turquoise waters, white soft sand on the beaches and palms – I mean who doesn’t. But Philippines seem to have one of the best islands in the world. I have been thinking about hiring a boat and going to the remote group of Linapacan islands north of Palawan, but we’ll see how it goes Dai. You still can make it there someday – to Palawan. Not much of a journey from Nepal for example. From here we’re flying a long, long time with multiple transits. I suppose it should be worth it! πŸ™‚

      1. Good morning Pooja. It was ten years ago I think but I’ve been three times I think, always with backpacks but staying in reasonable budget hotels. You are wise to skip Manila, Pooja. I didn’t find anything nice about manila except that’s where I first tried tilapia and now it is my favourite fish. In the Philippines I loved the tilapia, french fries and salads and I’ve had some incredible meals there but unfortunately a few really bad ones too. I also love chicken adobo. Aren’t you scared of getting kidnapped by sea pirates ? The problem is much less these days but there is still a danger. You need to take care in the southern Philippines. I am totally envious of your trip. I’m sure you will have a fantastic time. A Christmas hug to you from Dai.

  5. You definitely experienced a lot in 2016, guys. Hope you will get to more awesome places in the future and you will enjoy your adventures even more in this upcoming 2017! πŸ™‚

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