2016 for me started out in an apartment in Krakow, Poland, with good food, new friends, and a game of Cards Against Humanity. It was full of promise, hopes and dreams. Doesn’t every new year? After some reflection, I always find it funny that it is New Year’s when we find that something new can be possible. Time is a construct, so why do we only wait until December 31st and January 1st to realize that we can make changes in our lives and see them differently?

A lot of friends in my inner circles have decided that 2016 was a … less-than-stellar year. It was a trying one, I won’t deny that. Personally, I’ve dealt with a lot and I know it was a roller coaster of a year for all, but I’ve experienced a lot of positive things as well. I’ve traveled more of Europe, fell in love with multiple cities, hiked Cinque Terre (still can’t believe I did that) finished up my internship and my year in Rome (where I sobbed like a baby afterwards). I got to show my best friend one of the biggest parts of who I am and where my family comes from- Augustow, Poland, a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid sitting in my grandma’s garden. I came back to my sweet home, Chicago. I pushed myself to go back onstage and sing notes that I thought I could only hit if I was being chased by an ax-wielding crazy (seriously, myself, an alto through and through, was hitting high Fs and Gs, which to me is a miracle). I worked two jobs on top of an already loaded academic semester and did well in all of my courses. I’ve lost friendships, but have gained a better understanding of what it means to be a true friend and a person for others, thanks to the support system made up of my family, friends and colleagues.

In the spirit of reflections and wrap-ups, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite photos from 2016! It was actually very difficult to narrow them down, because as some of you know, I’m quite the sentimental human, so I allowed myself to pick twenty-five. Whether it be the composition of the photo, the subject, or the stories behind them, presented in chronological order, here are my favorite photos from the thousands I took this year.

_dsc0911 _dsc0867 _dsc0954 _dsc0325 _dsc0774 _dsc1221 _dsc0006 _dsc0795-2 _dsc1013 _dsc0010 _dsc0072 _dsc0887 _dsc0799 _dsc0763 _dsc0222 _dsc0233 _dsc0795 _dsc0135 _dsc0213 _dsc0693 _dsc0899 _dsc0226 _dsc0386_dsc0842
_dsc0427I plan on ending 2016 in my own apartment, in Chicago, with some close friends and a lot of good food. There may or may not be sparklers, so I’m already gearing up for a photo shoot if that is the case. I’ve grown a lot, both emotionally and professionally throughout this year, although my height is still the same… 2016 may have humbled the world, but if anything, it’s motivated me. Forever the stubborn, ambitious little Polish babushka in me, I suppose 😉

 

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