Psst - this post is rather long and image heavy.
Now that we're 9 days into the new year and the confetti has settled, I found myself spending a good half an hour today reminiscing about the magical moments that took place in 2011.
2011 turned out to be a great year for me, actually! It was a transformative year, during which I learned to do more of what makes me happy. Looking back, I also managed to squeeze a fair bit of travelling in, which was something I had set out to do at the start of January 2011.
Here are some highlights from the year that put big smiles on my face:
January - In a moment of insanity, Brett and I (ok, it was mainly me) thought it would be a good idea to kick off the new year by embarking on a 5 day fresh fruit and vegetable juice detox with Schkinny Maninny. Being a girl who consumes pork belly, bacon and fast food too regularly (but not usually all at the same time), this detox was obviously a monumental challenge.
After steadily chugging down 6 x 500ml bottles of liquid everyday for 5 days, I was pleasantly surprised at how radiant my skin looked at the end of it, and that vegetables don't actually taste too bad. Post-detox, I'm back on my diet of artery-clogging, delicious, fatty pork, but I've consciously increased my intake of fruits and vegetables.
February - I became an aunt when my beautiful niece Le Jia was born on the 7th! Something strange happened the moment I laid eyes on her, as I found myself indescribably drawn towards her. I couldn't understand how I could be so in love with such a little bundle of life that I barely knew, but it seemed like the most natural feeling in the world.
I was surprised later that month when Brett cooked Nyonya Lam Mee for my birthday. Traditionally, these noodles are served during birthday celebrations to wish the birthday boy/girl longevity, but Brett thought preparing the dish from scratch would signify his genuinity!
March - Tasmania, with Cradle Mountain in particular, had always been on my radar as a place I wanted to visit. We couldn't have picked a better day to visit Cradle Mountain as we were awarded with clear skies, full visibility of the jagged peaks, and calm lakes of blue.
Getting to meet (and pat) Tasmanian Devils up close and personal was fun too!
Sunset at Launceston took my breath away.
April - We ate too much chocolate and snuck away to Daylesford for some rest and relax over the Easter long weekend.
May - My parents visited for a few weeks. I also accompanied Dad to Sydney, where we had what I now deem the damn best xiao long bao's in the WORLD at Din Tai Fung. Anthony Bourdain once said he'd travel half way around the world to eat these. They're that good.
June - I caught World's End Press performing when they opened for Little Red. It was my first time hearing their music, but I was really struck by their infectious energy on stage. They were barefeet and bouncing off the walls, and seemed like their life ambition was to create happy music and dance the night away.
Taka too felt the need to dance, which he did on his drum kit!
July - This was a great month! I started a new job, and Brett whisked me away on a surprise trip to Sydney where we celebrated our 2 year anniversary at Marque.
I also got very excited over a scrumptious rack of pork ribs at Hurricane's.
August - I catsat these two cuties, Nibbler and Mittens, for almost 2 weeks.
Then I ducked down to Mornington Peninsula, where I spotted some funny looking alpacas...
... drank some wine at Montalto...
... and posed by a windy beach after relaxing at the Peninsula Hot Springs.
September - I jetted back to Penang for a short trip, during which I gorged on delicious Malaysian dishes such as hokkien mee (prawn noodles) and char koay teow, and watched my friend Melvin marry the love of his life, Gim May, during their beautiful beachside ceremony.
October - I started off the month by catsitting my friend Li Jun's 3 cats, including Black Jack the cutie:
Later in the month, Brett and I visited Port Douglas. To say this trip was incredible would be an understatement! I got to tick a few things off my bucket list - we visited the Daintree Rainforest, which is claimed to be the oldest rainforest in the world at 135 million years old, and also snorkelled and dived in the Great Barrier Reef. Being submerged in the underwater fairyland and feeling like just another weightless fish in the sea was the most surreal and beautiful feeling.
November - Here I am, about to be converted into a Mac user. Brett thought he'd remind me of how he was an amazing boyfriend by surprising me with an iMac!
December - Who would've thought that my first surprise party ever organised would be a success?! December was a whirlwind of celebrations and festivities, starting with throwing a surprise going away for my brother; realising that getting tangled in balloons is actually a lot of fun; generally eating and drinking too much night after night "because it's almost Christmas" which eventually became "because it's Christmas"; escaping away to Torquay for a few days of relaxation; and finally watching the new year eve fireworks from the 76th floor.
What a cracker of a year 2011 was - I can't wait to undercover the smiles 2012 has waiting!