45 things I did in 2014

In this post I am listing down 44 things that I have done in 2014. This year was mostly happy but it was also perhaps the most hardworking year of my life – a year of growing into the person I want to be. Most of all, I think I met my personal goal of travelling, doing what I love, being efficient and getting peace of mind. I hope you enjoy my post.

Me and Montu on Valentine's Day 2014

Me and Montu on Valentine’s Day 2014

  1. Volunteering: I volunteered my heart’s fill at The Cat House which is an incredible and unique cat shelter in Lincoln, NE. You can find more information on it in my previous post.
  2. Visited Seattle: I visited Seattle once again after 2012. This time I explored the downtown area with a good friend. Unlike last year it was really cold and wet, so we could not stay outside for a long time, so we went to several restaurants and pubs. I discovered this Italian-American chain called Bucca di Beppo and I really liked their food.
  3. Explored SF: In my childhood I was a huge fan of the arcade game Big City Adventure – San Francisco. I knew all the places in San Francisco by heart even though then I had never imagined that someday I would stay in USA. So this year when I went to California for the first time for a conference I visited San Francisco. I explored all the places that I remembered from that game and had a super fun time.

    Me @ Fisherman's Wharf in SF

    Me @ Fisherman’s Wharf in SF

  4. Traveled solo: The California trip was my first solo trip. It was something I have always wanted to do but something that I have always dreaded because I worried about safety issues and being lonely. In this trip I was alone but never lonely. I made so many new friends and talked with so many people on the road. I felt that when I am travelling alone then I am better able to imbibe the atmosphere  of the surroundings. When travelling in a groups we tend to stick with each other, spend time with each other and only talk with each other. While travelling solo all these boundaries are diminished and you start to have so much more fun.
  5. Grew up a little more: My beloved pet hamster Montu passed away in April 2014. She was having health issues for a month. I took her to the vet, gave her medicines and towards the later part I had to hand feed her every meal every 1-2 hours. I was a very difficult phase of my life, balancing school, assistantship and taking care of her. She passed away in front of my eyes on a April night. When I had to take her for cremation the next day I was all alone. It was perhaps the loneliest I ever felt.

    May be I will fall asleep now...

    May be I will fall asleep now…

  6. Got my fair share of sleep (1): I stayed over night at my lab to work on my thesis. The next day I was so tired that I did not have energy to walk back home. Since it was summer there were very few bus. I really needed some energy but I did not feel like staying in the lab building any more. The cold of the air-conditioning was really bothering me. So I went out to the steps of the Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, NE which is right beside my lab, and then I slept on a bench under the open sky in broad day light. Looking back it is a little creepy to sleep on hot concrete, but hey it was fun and something I can add to my “Been there, done that” list.
  7. Got my fair share of sleep (2): Just like the above incident, on a very warm day I slept on the grass just opposite the same museum in the afternoon. Sleeping on grass in a park was always there on my bucket list, so check!
  8. Vegetarianism: I turned completely vegetarian for a few months in 2014. The initial plan was to do it for at least a year. But then since I was leaving Lincoln permanently, my friends were throwing parties and cooking for me. So amid all the celebrations, I was a vegetarian only for three straight months from mid April to mid July.

    I  <3 macAir

    I ❤ macAir

  9. NO: I have always struggled with saying this simple two letter word all my life. But this year, I learned to say that. I let go of bad relationships, I let go of past mistakes, I let go of wrong decisions and I loved myself a little bit more.
  10. I heart MacBook Air:  I caved and got myself the first non-living thing that I love.
  11. Ramadan: I’m not religious at all but I am tolerant towards all religions and I am a very curious person. So when during the month of Ramadan my dear friend for told me that he will take me to the Mosque in the weekend, I wanted to keep fast till Iftar for at least a week. so that I was in sync with everyone else who had fasted in there. I’ve never been to a Mosque before and so this was important to me. I fasted for only 4 days, that too not without water. But firstly, I was too shy to tell him about my plan and also after the fourth day I felt extremely weak. I wonder how they do it for a month!
  12. Sky Diving: I tandem sky-dived in Crete, NE, USA from 10,000 ft. I can go on and on about my experience but I plan to write about taht when I get some time someday, so I will only say that it was and still is the most exhilarating experience ever in my life!

    How cool am I?!

    Tandem Skydiving me!! How cool am I?!

  13. I visited Kansas City, MO: I went to Kansas City with friends on a warm rainy Summer day with friends and saw the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Union Station. Kansas City is very beautiful as it is modeled after Seville in Spain and it has numerous fountains. We saw around 10 bridal parties getting their wedding photograph done in front of the big fountain at Union Station. It was a day of good food and great company, I even made some new ones…
  14. Graduated: I completed my mammoth thesis in Underwater Robotics and graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
  15. Country Fair: One of the last things I did in Lincoln was visit a Country fair. I rode the most ridiculous rides that freaked even me out. It was positively crazy!
  16. Job: I had a couple of job offers already. But, then, I found myself a job in the organizationI really wanted to work for!
  17. I visited Chicago, again: After I left Lincoln and before settling down in my new city, I stayed in Chicago for a week with my friend. We explored downtown Chicago on foot, visited the numerous public parks and monuments around the city and ate at various restaurants around Taylor Street and Devon Street. It was a good time.

    Agora by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, Chicago

    Agora by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, Chicago

  18. I moved to Boston: It’s a very pretty city, so much history, so many options for food and entertainment! it is very different in flavor from Lincoln.
  19. Trampoline: For the office team outing, we went to a trampoline park! Before going there I could not imagine jumping around on a trampoline with my colleagues like children. But once there, it was lots of fun!
  20. Lobster Rolls:  I visited Portland, ME in October for a hiking trip and there I had my first and the most delicious Lobster Roll. Being an Indian, it was difficult to believe that something so simple and without any spices can be that delicious…
  21. Fake Life Guard: I visited a secluded beach in Cape Code one fine day and it was so pretty there with orange skies and purple clouds. And there was an empty Life Guard tower on the beach. So I climbed it and sat on top of the life guard tower for a long time. It was so peaceful!
  22. Decorated home: Since I moved most of my furniture from Lincoln to here I was worried that my room would look exactly the same. So I left out the things that I could replace without incurring huge costs like posters and mirrors and other wall hanging stuff. So I laid out my furniture differently, organized my things differently and was more creative in how I stored or displayed things. I am pretty much in love with the way my room looks now 🙂

    Stunning View of Cape Cod from lifeguard chair...

    Stunning View of Cape Cod from lifeguard chair…

  23. Organized office parties: I was entrusted with organizing several office parties this year. Two of my most favorite ones are the Painting Workshop for my team and 1950’s Christmas Themed office party for the entire organization. I was super nervous, but luckily both were a resounding success! So happy!!
  24. Painted my version of “The Starry Night”: For the painting workshop I had casually mentioned to the instructor on phone that Van Gogh is my favorite painter. To my utmost surprise, on the day of the workshop, she brought along with her a simpler version of ‘The Starry Night’ for us all to draw. I was super overwhelmed and convinced I wont be able to paint it, but in the end I created a very simple but bright and happy version of the famous painting.
  25. Halloween Costume Party: Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to play dress up. But more than that I love to dress people up! So for this year’s Halloween I decided to throw a costume party at my house. We covered all the lights in black garbage bags and a few of my newly found friends helped me decorate the house in a very spooky manner. What was most surprising is that everyone turned up in costumes and a few who did not, they let me paint their faces and necks in a scary Halloweeny way. It was such fun!!!

    Me & my "Starry Night"

    Me & my “Starry Night”

  26. Visited NYC twice: I was in NYC for ushering in 2014, standing in the Brooklyn Bridge Park shivering in the freezing cold of the night. I was in love and he was with me. Later in 2014, I visited NYC again during the Thanksgiving Break. This time visited all the places that I had missed last year and reveled in the festivity of the Christmas decorations all across the city.
  27. Indulgence: I was in NYC when I realized I was madly in love. And I kept worrying that if I meet Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York fame, I will not be able to stop talking about him and few days later there will be a picture of me wearing a red trench coat and looking sad all over Facebook and people will know me for being just a silly girl…
  28. Brooklyn Bridge: On a cold and sunny Autumn day I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. I was wearing a scarlet Sarah Jessica Parker-ish trench coat and it gave me a very Sex and the City kinda vibe. My friend was trying to take professional quality pics of me while I kept humming Kal Ho Na Ho songs throughout…. it was a happy day!
  29. I visited Puerto Rico: I had a blast in the tropical climate and the salty sea breeze of San Juan, Fajardo and Culebra for four days in December when the temperatures were freezing in Boston. This was my first visit to the Caribbean and I loved every bit of it! Can’t wait to get back there…

    Flamenco Beach, Culebra

    Flamenco Beach, Culebra

  30. Kayaking: In Fajardo, one of my favorite experience was kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay in pitch dark. Incidentally it was the first time I was kayaking and to the nightmare of my poor partner I was terrible at steering and hence, always getting stuck in the mangrove roots. In fact, I got hit on my head thrice while navigating, but then the awesome instructor, Manolo, came to our rescue! He tied our kayak to his and then we no longer needed to worry about steering. We could just row in sync with him. That allowed us the freedom and luxury to check out the beautiful bioluminiscence in the bay… It is undoubtedly the most humbling, most exhilarating, most stunning natural phenomenon I have seen in my life so far..
  31. Bioluminescent Bay: Probably the most beautiful thing that I have ever experience in my life is this bay in Fajardo… I was total Avatar like feel… the less said about it the better. It was an ethereal experience.
  32. Nakani-Chobani: In USA, every time I went to a beach it was always too cold to het into the water. However, PR being in the tropics I got drenched in the sea several times. And the waves in the Caribbean are especially rough. It totally remined me of all the childhood trips to Puri and Digha beaches in India. I loved every minute even though I was mortally scared!
  33. Organized Secret Santa: After organizing so many parties this year everyone was already looking up to me for some blast for the year end. And what better way that to have a Secret Santa Party to give and receive gifts. It was a very small group and the budget was only $20 but I was really surprised to see how meaningful the gifts were and how the faces lit up on receiving them. I, for one, received a very fancy handbag which I’m carrying around everywhere since the event 🙂

    Bow Bridge in Central Park

    Bow Bridge in Central Park

  34. Literature: After my thesis I got plenty of time to catch up on literature… I read almost everyday now… Ah! How I love it!!
  35. I got Netflix: I caved, I’m sorry. After resisting this for many many years, I finally caved. But frankly, I’m quite disappointed. Netflix is not really a good source to watch movies (which I enjoy). But it is mostly for watching a series (which I don’t). Now since Netflix doesn’t have good movies I end up watching series which is such a waste of valuable time. I hope I will get over this easy distraction soon.
  36. Returned wrong sized items: According to me, one of my biggest flaws was I shop online a lot when I am under stress. But I never return the items which I don’t like, or which don’t fit me or which are plain not for me. But for the first time this year, I returned shoes. Well, may be because they were too many which I bought at once from a place where I had to guess the shoe size. But at least I did return and that is an achievement!
  37. Midnight Mass:  Even though in my childhood I lived close to one of the largest cathedrals, the St. Paul’s cathedral in Kolkata, believe it or not I have never been to a Midnight Mass before. This is surprising because Kolkata is very cosmopolitan and almost everyone has visited the church at least once. To make up for that, this year I visited the Trinity Church in Boston for their Midnight Mass. It was very beautiful, and serene. I think I will keep going back.
  38. Whales: I went on a whale watching trip in a catamaran. I will not say more lest I will do injustice.

    Two humpback whales feeding on the surface, Boston

    Two humpback whales feeding on the surface, Boston

  39. Canon Lover: I caved and bought myself a point and shoot camera just before I went to Puerto Rico. It is the Canon PowerShot SX600 16Megapixel Digital Camera Red (MODEL: 9342B001). I have not saved enough to buy a DSLR for me. So this will have to do for now.
  40. Bose: For last Christmas I gifted someone a pair of Sennheiser head phones, and since then I was craving for one myself. In my mind, I’m such a punk and that person craved for those big chunky headphones. So for Black Friday sale I got myself my first Bose, a black and mint green over-ear.
  41. Doodling: I have taken up doodling seriously. During my first week at my new job I was always doodling on my notepad but I don’t know why everyone thought I was taking notes. So after a week, when they came looking for notes I showed them some doodles and they were like ‘the “Boy” is nice’. 😛

    the "Boy"

    the “Boy”

  42. Those slippery things: In the New England Aquarium in Boston , there is a Shark and Ray touch tank and I touched Cownose Rays, Atlantic Rays and Epaulette Sharks !!
  43. I got fringes: At the start of 2014 someone had dared me to get a haircut like him and I obliged! It was the year of my fringes! I had always wanted to get them but never dared!! I really loved and received a lot of compliments, but this gave me so much confidence about changing up my hairstyle. So may be I will grow my fringes longer and cut my hair shorter this year..
  44. Bed of Nails: I laid down on a Bed Of Nails and didn’t feel a thing at the Boston Museum of Science.
  45. I, Me, Myself: Overall, this year I invested some quality time in myself. I went about telling everyone who tried to hurt me in any way that I love them but I love me more 🙂

The things that I have shared here in this post are just for the purpose of self expression. I am not trying to impress anyone or trying to get any brownie points. I hope all of you who are reading my post also had a happy and happening 2014. Let’s toast to a more successful 2015!