2016: My Year in Review

I agree with the vast majority of people this year: 2016 was a never-ending nightmare.

It was especially bad in comparison to my 2015. Most of that year went by in a blissful blur of new places and new faces. Along the way, I discovered a side of myself that was not as cautious and terrified of instability as I had always thought. And I longed to hold on to that.

Big Expectations

With such a legendary year, I expected even better things of 2016. The year took off with a great start, but as I transitioned from a nomadic life to a family setting, the reigns tightened and choked the life out of me.

Instead of crashing on couches a country or ten states away from home, I was sitting on my own couch, bored to death, waiting for anything interesting to happen. I exchanged trekking in foreign territory, to hiking within a 50-mile radius.

I gave up the freedom to roam for the stability of traditional married life – and boy did I hate it.

Bigger Lessons

Ultimately, the biggest lesson I learned in 2016 is that you can’t allow relationships to hold you back from your individual potential. Relationships of any kind only work when people grow together. The only other option is to grow apart.

Once I figured that out and reclaimed my independence, peace was restored in the home. I now come and go as I please, and the world is my playground once again. I’ve never been happier.

As I mentioned in other posts, there were other storms brewing as well, mostly tied to my immigration status and the obstacles I faced while adjusting in America as it battled with its prejudices.

As we know, the prejudices won.

The Highlights

In spite of all this, there were still a few great highlights worth sharing. I progressed in leaps and bounds in my career-life, personal life, and family life. So here’s what made 2016 not quite so bad after all.

Traveled all over Georgia

Since I spent quite a bit of time “imprisoned” in Georgia, I got to know the state intimately. I mostly tested out the trails around the Greater Atlanta area, but also went as far south as Savannah and as far north as Lookout Mountain.

Outside of Georgia, this year I also visited Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, South Carolina, and Kentucky.

Conquered my Fear of Snakes

Truth be told, I still have a fear of snakes, but not as badly as I did before. I don’t mind pet snakes now, but the ones in the wild still give me the creeps. I just don’t know enough about snakes to figure out who is friendly, and who will kill me at the drop of a hat.

Better safe than sorry. So if I see one, I’m teleporting home.

Completed a 5K Race – on 3 Hours’ Sleep

After a 17-hour drive from Illinois, Mike and I completed the Color Run 5K Race in Stone Mountain. Needless to say, I was more than a little happy to see the finish line, and even more thrilled to go home and sleep. Even so, it was a great experience.

I did sign up for the Bubble Run this year as well, but then my teammate gave me the ultimatum of either spending the night at his place, or not getting a ride. I chose the latter and missed the race.

Next year, I have my heart set on making it to the Zombie Run.

Met my Fitness Goals

The race along with hiking and other fun activities helped me reach my fitness goals for 2016. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’m enjoying every second of it; mostly because at this point, it barely even requires maintenance. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want – and then work it off throughout the week.

Just in case you’re wondering how. I cover at least 25 miles per week on foot. I work out at the gym twice per week, and practice yoga on and off. When it was warmer, I used to go running and cycling as well. I also went rock climbing once or twice, if that counts for anything.

Saw my Favourite Bands Live

Music has always been a big part of my life, and as a teen, none more so than rock, and anything with a violin. This year, I saw quite a few acts live, including some I had never even heard of before.

Some of the best performances came from The Used, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Black Violin, and Falling in Reverse.

Became a WordPress Celebrity

Okay, so technically this didn’t happen – but close enough. In early May, I wrote a post entitled Translating Becky with the Good Hair, and it became an instant favourite on my blog.

At first I couldn’t figure out where all the extra traffic was coming from, but after a day or two I realised it had become an Editors’ Pick. This contributed immensely to my blog growing from less than 300 followers to more than 3000 by the end of the year.

editor's pick blogging wordpress

I got a second surprise in mid-December when the staff at WordPress tossed it in with other amazing selections, as one of the best pieces they read in 2016. Of all my many achievements as a writer and blogger over the past ten years, this one definitely ranks as my favourite.

Completed my First Short Story Series

Last year, I promised I would finished my novel-series. In September I realised that even if I did, I would have to delay publishing for reasons I won’t get into. That realisation slowed me down somewhat – maybe a lot.

To make up for it, I invested my creative energies in another fictional project called The Moreau Witches. In this short story series I introduced you guys to the three lovely ladies of the Moreau Matriarchy and their struggles for equality in the Victorian era.

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I got quite a few requests to publish the series as a book, and may look into this for 2017.

Became an American Resident

I came to America in the summer of 2015 to travel and write for six months; and then figure out my life before going home. Somewhere in the midst of the figuring, I ended up staying, and have not been back since I set foot here on July 28th 2015.

New York Botanical Garden travel alexis chateau

It’s been a long hard road of paperwork and heavy fees. This was followed by a long stretch of being a documented but technically illegal immigrant after my visa expired. I’m so glad that’s all over and would not relive a second of it for anything.

I’m now a permanent resident, and will likely go for citizenship in a few years – if Trump doesn’t change my mind.

Founded a PR Firm

After ten years of freelancing, I finally registered my business as a PR firm and launched on Thanksgiving Day.

For that entire month, I had to handle the business formation paperwork, the fees, re-branding to Alexis Chateau PR, opening new social media pages, making business cards, designing a logo, and building a whole new website.

Alexis Chateau Logo 2.jpg

It’s been expensive and time-consuming, and I’ve had to take a pay-cut to make room for getting everything in order for 2017. But I wouldn’t change a second of it for anything.

Rescued Two Kittens

As many of you know, just before Thanksgiving my kitten went missing, while I was away for the weekend. I would be lying if I said I had recovered from the loss, but I did decide to find Smokey a baby brother.

His name is Shadow and he’s a rescue from the Cobb County Cat Rescue Project. Someone dropped him off at one of the volunteer’s doorstep, and I adopted him on December 13, 2016. We think he may have been abused, as he’s terrified of humans, but slowly coming out of his shell.

Hopefully Smokey comes home to meet him soon…

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Smokey laying on my work desk.
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Me and Shadow hanging out at my mom’s

2016 has definitely not been my year, but even the darkest clouds have a silver lining. Here’s to hoping 2017 lives up to the expectations 2016 failed to fulfill.

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131 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul says:

    Wow sounds like you had a great year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I decidedly did not haha. I did great things. Last year I learned the hard way that there is a difference. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Like

  2. Omg! Yoooo! Ya body is amazing!πŸ˜πŸ‘

    Like

    1. Hard work always pays off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ya hard… Exaclly… O ya and work right right…πŸ˜‹βœŒ

        Like

  3. shetraces says:

    I’ve always wanted to be “Freshly Pressed” as it was called once upon a time, so that’s a great accomplishment! Especially as it came unexpectedly. I know all about the woes of immigration, and I was in no rush to become a citizen so the 10 year residency was a way to drag my feet on that. Eventually I went through with it. I know plenty of family members that keep renewing their residency though, so that’s an option as well.
    I think although it sounded like you had some uncomfortable moments, you didn’t stay stuck there, so that’s also something to celebrate.
    Wishing you all the best with your business, journey and growing your audience in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always great to run into other people who know firsthand what a headache migrating can be, so thank you for that. More than likely I’ll go through with citizenship soon but we’ll see. I’m not sure what kind of country America will be after Trump.

      And thank you! I learned last year that if you take control of what you can, then you can have success despite what life might throw your way. Doesn’t make it fun, but it didn’t hold me back.

      Thanks again! I hope I see more of you throughout the year πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If that was a bad year, I’m really looking forward to your review of 2017. Thanks for following my blog (your subscription will be automatically transferred to keithkreates.com as there’s been nothing new on the closed blog for more than a year).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Bad things happen to people even when we work to do good. But I definitely made the best of circumstances.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I thank you for the “follow.” I shall endeavor to inform and amuse…and, above all, always try to be interesting. continue…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, you’re welcome. Thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. Bilal says:

    That’s crap load of achievement for a year πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The best time to put in work is when nothing is going in your favor, so that’s what I did haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bilal says:

        Good for you, I’m glad πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! Love this page. You really did make some changes, but you’ve made the best of a potentially bad situation. Like your website and your accomplishments. Thanks for following Oh, the Places We See. We’re much older than you and just now finding time to travel. So, don’t give up. Sometimes work and life take precedent. Best wishes for continued success. — Rusha Sams

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rusha! Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m pretty proud of my little setup here, haha. Took me long enough to get it together. I look forward to reading more about your travels!

      Like

  8. 2016 may not have been your year, but you still accomplished a lot! I’m sorry you’re becoming an American citizen just as the country’s falling apart; I truly hope you don’t have to put up with too much crap. If you do, you could always hide out in Northern CA! This place is like its own country.

    I’ve also always been apprehensive about serious relationships, partly because domestic life seems so limiting. Might I ask how you were able to reclaim your independence in the context of married life? You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to.

    Lastly, I apologize if someone already asked the above question. Normally I’d read the previous comments before submitting my own, but this post has tons of comments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Josh! 2016 was a terrible year when I think of all the things that happened to me that I could not control. But I’m proud of myself for what I made of the situations and accomplishments that were in my hands.

      I would definitely love to come hide out in wine country! But I hope it doesn’t get that bad. So far the biggest annoyance is I swear our SSNs are marked. I hear a lot of other immigrants saying it. When we use it, it gets rejected a lot of the times, and then we have to send in “additional information” to prove it’s legit and we have a right to be here. I’ve gotten at least 5 letters in the mail in the past few weeks asking me to verify my status for one thing or other. Not much of a welcome wagon…

      I don’t blame you for being apprehensive about relationships. If I could do it again, I would not have gotten married at this point in my life, but here I am! I reclaimed independence by putting my foot down. Too often are women expected to play ancillary and support roles to “the Manager” with the pants. For me, that meant I was setting not just my traveling aside, but my career, because my husband was going to college. Who does such a thing? So, I stopped. Ultimately, he learned to get with the program or see the door. It sounds harsh, but nothing builds resentment in a strong and independent woman like holding her back from her full potential, while asking her to support you playing catch-up.

      I don’t expect any of you to read the comments – haha. They are a lot, I know. I read and reply to every last one as you know, but I wouldn’t pass that job on to anyone. It takes hours each week.

      All the best and drop by again any time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately I’m in Redwood country instead of wine country, but it’s gorgeous nonetheless!

        I don’t say there’s anything harsh in how you reclaimed your independence. Relationships are about compromise, and you know what you need to be healthy. I’m glad you two were able to work it out.

        I hope you feel more welcome soon!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I might head to the Redwoods in April actually. Who knows? Trying to impose on someone’s travel plans and invite myself haha.

        And thank you. Many people believe it was, but relationships are suppose to help partners flourish, not die from boredom lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You should definitely head to Redwoods country if you can. The experiencing of being next to such a massive living organism is awe-inspiring.

        I can’t speak for anyone else, but there’s no way a relationship can flourish if both partners aren’t getting what they need. I don’t doubt that they we’re difficult conversations, but I think your marriage will be better because of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I plan to Josh. I’ll see what I can do.

        And you’re absolutely right. It was a tough lesson to learn in the first year. Unfortunately they don’t put these things in the blue print! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That should have been fine print haha. But I guess marriage blue print works too. πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

  9. aj vosse says:

    If that was a nightmare year then any year even slightly better is going to be just phenomenal! Live on Rock on… have fun, do better!! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. Thanks AJ! Sometimes we manage to triumph irrespective of the obstacles others set before us.

      Here’s to a phenomenal 2017!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Patty says:

    Fantastic post of an very inspiring woman.
    Kind regard from a neighbor on this globe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patty. Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope I’ll have another great closeout post for 2017!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Patty says:

        It’s all in your own hands, but surfing a bit around your blog, I am confident you will have another great year, with the normal ups and downs πŸ˜‰ XxX

        Like

      2. No, not all in my hands. New government policies mean much less traveling this year, if at all. But I suppose there are other ways to make a year amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Patty says:

        Since I am from another country, you have to explain that to me: why can’t you travel as much as you would like too?

        Like

      4. The travel ban and current political and legal uncertainty for travelers coming into and going out of the United States, esp non-citizens.

        My post on this: https://alexischateau.com/2017/02/04/i-cancelled-my-2017-travel-plans-due-to-executive-order/

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Patty says:

        I’ve heard about the ban for seven countries, but didn’t realize the impact of other US citizens. Thank you for explaining that to me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed the orange dude will have to step down soon.
        Since you will save money, maybe you can realize other dreams you still have this year?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’ve been putting the money I saved into renovations at home and the office, and saving for a car. So you’re not far from the truth. But I always have just enough for a plane ticket stashed away just in case!

        I’m not sure what Americans will do about their leader. Quite a few of them did help put him there. The system tipped the scales, but the scale was already full…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Patty says:

        Creating a peaceful base to always return to, that sounds great πŸ™‚
        And yes, but the majority of those just wanted a change. I truly believe by now, they are second guessing what they did. Movements as We are Here, the Foundation of Barack Obama and maybe even this Blogland of WordPress hopefully can make a difference. Keep informing each other, telling the true stories and quite frankly: resist together.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Thanks Patty. We’ll continue to do what we can. I think you’re right about the second guessing. I can’t imagine that they all agree with everything that’s happening now.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Patty says:

        Let’s hope it is not wishful thinking on our part and change will happen soon πŸ˜‰
        Wishing you a wonderful new week and till….XxX

        Liked by 1 person

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