2017 in review

Photographing a volunteer in the Philippines

I traveled.

Solo travels (Amsterdam, Vietnam, Hong Kong), work travels (the Philippines, Atlanta), other fun travels (Hawaii, New York, Texas), and a lot of photos along the way. I loved wandering through the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, exploring new hiking trails in Hawaii, and eating everything in Vietnam again.  Working as a photographer/videographer/producer in the Philippines was an amazing experience that challenged me professionally in the best way. I happily spent the last four months of the year traveling somewhere nearly every two weeks, including three round trips from DC across the Pacific within two months. 

coffee and french studying

I learned.

I took the GMAT after studying hours every day for three months. I completed three more French courses at Alliance Française and loved the Sunday study group we created. The group of crazy students who actively identified and purchased additional workbooks and spent their Sunday afternoons completing extra grammar exercises in the textbook. These are my people.

alliance francaise volunteer

I volunteered.

For l’Alliance, I volunteered at Fête de la Musique for the annual musical event to celebrate the beginning of summer. I also volunteered every two weeks during the summer at my local farmers’ market for DC Greens, where I supported access to healthy food through DC government’s Produce Plus program. After three years in leadership roels, I retired from my alma mater’s alumni board and was featured on the university’s website.

tea party 2017

I hosted.

Celebrated three years (!) of Friday pasta nights, a second annual yet proper tea party, and a wine tasting. 

hawaii koko head hike

It was a year of many adventures, personal growth, professional challenges, new friendships, and lots of embarrassment. Hey, French is difficult.

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings (hopefully more adventures and less embarrassment).

sailing on

jardin des tuileries

I woke up realizing I left Paris four years ago. Four years. A (college) lifetime. Has much changed? After several solo trips abroad, my first job, and making my first apartment into a home, I feel like many things have changed. Yet many of the realizations I had that summer are still the same. Still confident yet terrified. Still alone but not lonely. Still a firm believer in the kindness of strangers. 

Since then, I’ve kept the Paris dream alive by visiting every year and taking several French classes to improve my language skills. While I still don’t know what’s next, I’m still optimistic as ever. 

locally grown

dc greens - lesley siu

Growing up: signing up to volunteer as your birthday activity. I spent the evening volunteering with a nonprofit at their local urban farm. It’s interesting getting into the weeds (literally) of food access and education in DC. I will also be at farmers markets throughout the summer to help low-income community members access fresh produce. With all of the conflict and negativity in the world right now, how could I sit at home waiting for change? I’m looking forward to continuing to take action in my community. Baby steps.

room for a birthday celebration

columbia room dc - lesley siu

For my birthday this year, I went to Columbia Room for drinks with a few friends. Tucked away in Blagden Alley, the cocktail bar has a nice punch garden perfect for enjoying the outdoors before the summer heat really sinks in. The drink list is aptly named “This is Not a Wine List” with cocktails inspired by wines. 

columbia room punch garden dc - lesley siu

Complete with Georgetown Cupcakes (thank you, Claire!) and a quick dinner at Le Diplomate, my birthday was low key and enjoyable. My goals for this year include volunteering more in my community, acing taking the GMAT, and traveling to at least three new countries. Easy, right?