It's that time of the year, and it's been a while since the last time I wrote a raw blog post just to share my thoughts and show some snippets of my personal life in my year-end review and New Year's Resolutions. This time of the year last year, I was in the middle of my trip to Turkey and Serbia so I didn't get a chance to recapitulate my 2021, that's why I'll make up for it now!
If I have to be honest, I've been struggling to manage my time these days that I didn't even get a chance to work on my blog for so many reasons. That's why now that I have some time to sit down and write, I want to take time to forget about optimizing my blog posts and do something that became the reason why I started this blog in the first place: pour out my thoughts and emotions to lighten the burden. LOL.
2022 has been a year full of lessons learned, and I'm looking forward to 2023 because I have so many plans in store that I'm slightly afraid I won't accomplish any of them. But if there's anything I've learned this year, it costs nothing to stay positive, so that's what I'm trying to do!
2022 Review – The Year When I've Accomplished Some Things on My Bucket List
If you know me at all, you know that traveling to the Balkans has always been on my bucket list. And I've finally done it this year when I went to Serbia although I had to start 2022 with a sheer of bad luck as I got pickpocketed there by the end of the year last year.
It was a bittersweet way to start the year, but there were so many things that made me so grateful for this year that made me quite optimistic about next year.
This is the year I've accomplished some things on my bucket list, and I think it was a great start!
1. I've finally met my online best friend of 20 years and had a girls' trip traveling around Serbia.
Here's a little back story about myself and why I'm obsessed with the Balkans. I started watching football during the World Cup 1998, and ever since, I've had a soft spot to… Croatia!
Initially, the reason was as silly as I loved how unique their checkered jersey was. But the older I got, the nerd in me started to get interested in something beyond that, and one of them was about the country's history. In the early 2000s, I made friends with a Croatian girl my age through Myspace. Her name is Dora and we've been friends ever since. Back then we occasionally chatted on MSN Messenger, then we moved to Facebook and now WhatsApp and Instagram.
We never met before, but we shared each other's secrets, and we've always had each other's back. My first trip to Serbia was supposed to be the whole Balkan trip, but when I planned out my trip there, Covid restriction was still applied and the Croatian Embassy in Jakarta couldn't grant any visa for Indonesian citizens unless it were for a direct family visit.
As a result, she made it happen to have a week off from her duty as a mom and a wife to get on a girls' trip with me in Serbia… She picked me up at my hotel in Novi Sad, and we went places from Cacak, Zlatibor, to Nis and Leskovac before spending a night hanging out with the Serbs at Kafana Pavle Korcagin. It was a blast that we probably came back to Belgrade gaining 10 kgs as we ate non-stop! LOL.
2. I've finally got into a healthy relationship with someone who actually cares.
This year, I've met some people who moved me in some ways that I think were partially responsible for making me a better person these days. From the guy I've known for years who thought would be the right person for me only to show me the kind of man I don't want to be with, a shop owner in Bursa who threw an instant birthday party for me, to the guy I matched on Bumble and hooked up with on my last few days in Serbia.
None of them is my boyfriend now, but they showed me how to find the right person for my own good.
The first guy… I thought we were meant to be, only for her to introduce me to his parents one day and confuse me the next day. When I told him that I hooked up with the guy I matched on Bumble in Belgrade, he said he didn't want to talk to me anymore. I respect his decision, so we no longer speak, and I erased his phone number from all of my devices.
The Bumble guy was the one that made me re-learn self-love and self-respect, as well as the one who showed me that if someone cared about me, they would show me as it was without making me guess their intention toward me. He also taught me to be vulnerable, something that I was always struggling in the past years. And he taught me to see the quality that I had never noticed before, and he encouraged me to pursue the love I deserve.
The shop owner was like a psychic that he saw through me at first glance, that it only motivated me to be a better person ever since. From him, I realized that I had never truly healed and that was something that I had to work on myself, so I did.
In May this year, I decided to take a leap of faith and signed up for eHarmony and actually paid for their premium subscription. At first, I thought I could cancel it anytime without having to pay the whole $100++ when I chose the installment plans.
Well, I've learned the hard way that most eHarmony members in this part of the world don't pay for their account, so we couldn't interact with each other as the guy wouldn't be able to read my message, and they couldn't even do anything to do with my profile even if they were interested. Even worse, when I canceled my subscription because I thought there was no prospect, the subscription would still be active until my plan ended recently in November, as I chose the 6-month subscription for my account. So I ended up paying over $100 just to meet the love of my life. LOL.
I can't say much about the guy I'm seeing right now since I don't want to jinx it, but he's a respectful human being who is genuinely interested in me and anything nerdy. He was the first guy to whom I could be open about everything from my past relationship to my Hemifacial spasm, and that was enough for me to think that I'm currently in a good place when it comes to my romantic relationship.
We've got everything booked for our trip to Thailand next year for my birthday, and after that, he'll come to see my family. No, I'm not getting married next year or anything, but it's definitely special to me since he'll be the first boyfriend I'm taking home after 10 years, so it's kinda serious.
3. I'm exploring the idea of continuing my Master's degree.
Ever since I graduated from university, I kept applying for a scholarship until I turned 26 and decided to just focus on my career. Fast forward to today, I never really thought about trying for a Master's degree scholarship again until recently.
This year, I've finally registered my business Savviesticated, and I have to admit that I'm struggling to manage the co-partnerships with my co-founders since my sister and my friend both have full-time jobs, and they seem to prioritize it more than our business. Not their fault, but it definitely affected me personally and professionally, especially since I simultaneously manage this blog and work on my personal gigs as well.
As a result, I decided to slow it down and when I did, someone on one of my Whatsapp groups shared the opening of some Master's degree scholarships. And that's when I got the epiphany to give it another try. I managed to build my business from scratch, but I'm struggling to scale it at this point that I think continuing my study in the relevant degree will not only help me and my business, but it will expand my networking too.
I've submitted my scholarship application, although I'm not sure if I'll get it or fail it another time. Regardless of the result, at least I've tried and we'll see if I can get a chance to go back to uni next year!
2023 Resolutions – Things That I Aim For Next Year!
I told my boyfriend that I've got so many exciting things on my plan that I'm so afraid that they will turn into the dust of failures. But he's the optimistic one in this relationship, so I guess it makes it one of us. LOL.
This year has become the pinnacle of my adulting life that I feel like I've got all the plans without knowing how they will become. And that's why I'm quite hopeful for next year to have a bunch of things on my New Year's resolutions. So, here we go!
1. Getting my own house.
So, here's the thing… Apart from submitting my scholarship application this year, I've also applied for a mortgage to buy a house on the outskirt of my hometown. Earlier this year, I failed to secure a mortgage in Yogyakarta due to communication issues with the real estate agent, but hopefully this one will turn out better. And I'm quite positive about it.
I found a nice little house in Jatinangor, it's something that I can afford in a fairly good location. If I have to be honest, I'm not sure if I will move out there anytime soon, even if I get the house. But I already picture myself owning it. Am I gonna be disappointed for this? Jeez, I hope not. LOL.
In my head, I want to buy this house for several reasons. First, because I don't have any assets listed under my name. I feel like over the years, I've spent my time working my ass off and it came as nothing. So I guess it's time to invest in something real and take a new step as a literal adult.
If I get both the house and scholarship to continue my Master's degree, I can rent the house to pay off the mortgage during my study. After all, the house isn't so far from the three big campuses in the area, so I think it has great potential to rent it out.
Second of all, given the idea that I'm now basically in a secure relationship that makes me actually think of the future, getting a house feels more like an essential than before. Call me cynical, but I've witnessed some people I know who got divorced only to lose everything.
As my boyfriend isn't Indonesian, a prenup seems the only way to go if we get married one day. And it makes more sense when we both have our own place in our respective hometowns, so even if I eventually move in with him, we'll still get a place to go that isn't my parents when we're here for the holidays.
2. Scheduling the MVD surgery procedure for my hemifacial spasm.
This is something that I never talked about often, because I think one of the reasons why I became so bitter in the past few years is because of my condition. I have had a condition called hemifacial spasm since I quit my flight attendant job in 2015, which definitely affects my confidence and openness toward people.
I hate being social because I know sooner or later, people will notice the occasional twitch around my right eye. I don't want to explain to them what happened to me without having to trigger the self-hatred I've had toward myself for all these years.
It's also something that I've learned this year through my healing process. About the acceptance of my condition and the ability to open up to people who actually care about me above anything else. I've learned that I don't have to pretend I'm alright because maybe I'm not, especially with this condition.
The Bumble guy taught me (you'll be surprised by how much someone could impact your life in such a short time!) that my condition didn't make me anything less, because despite everything, I'm still a lovely lady with some other good qualities. I've talked about it to my closest friends, and guess what? They still love me no matter what.
I tried almost everything in the past few years, from seeing a neurologist to things like acupuncture and acupressure. Nothing worked so far, until I decided to join some Facebook groups related to hemifacial spasms. From the group with thousands of people with the same condition worldwide, to a handful of people in Indonesia with hemifacial spasms.
It gave me clarity on what I was supposed to do, and that's how I got connected with a neurosurgeon at the Brain and Spine Center Surabaya. After one consultation and checking with my insurance, I should be eligible for the MVD procedure next year in either May or June and above anything else, I think I had never been so sure about it in my entire life.
This condition robbed me some of the positive traits I had growing up because I used to be very social and cheerful as opposed to the current me that's more bitter and isolated. So I really hope that I'll get my confidence back without a twitching eye next year after the MVD surgery!
3. Traveling some more!
The soonest plan I have when it comes to travel is for my next birthday when my boyfriend and I will spend two weeks in Thailand to basically complete my goals on my last Indochina trip and get to the Golden Triangle.
A few years ago, I had to reroute as I got sick on my travel in Vientiane and the embassy forced me to head back home as soon as possible because of the rising cases of Covid in Southeast Asia.
So when my boyfriend asked where in the world I wanted to go that was feasible for me (since I'm planning to buy a house and everything!) where we could also get our privacy to get to know each other more and prove that we wouldn't kill each other when we lived together (LOL), I just told him that I want to finish my initial plan to get to the Golden Triangle on my birthday.
The next we knew, we started to plan the trip and even went above and beyond to create a spreadsheet for our itinerary, traveling budget etc, together. So far, I think we're a good team so I'm just hoping that it remains that way when we have to be together 24/7!
Even after Thailand and Indonesia, we're already planning to travel to Turkey in April since my friend Vika is getting married. Well, technically she's married now, but she had to postpone the reception and now it's scheduled to be held in April. We're planning to plan out our Turkey trip when we're together in February, but I'm quite optimistic that things will be well between us, so we'll see!
I genuinely hope that things will go well between us so we can plan more travel next year… And I don't know, forever, maybe? I told him I don't mind if he plans to propose before my graduation if I eventually get my scholarship to continue my study. LOL. 😛
But obviously, no one knows what will happen next so like I said… I have so many exciting things in store for next year, I'm just a bit afraid that everything will end up disappointing. But if there's anything I've learned about living, it is just what it is. So I'm hoping 2023 will be a great year for all of us, so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.