2016 just wasn’t the year for me.

It was a heartbreaking year –  the year I lost the love of my life because we chose to follow our practical minds over our confused hearts.

Our family’s first year in the US – we needed to make a lot of adjustments with regards to work, making new friends and settling down in our new apartment.

If I would put 2016 into words, it would be depressing and downright devastating.

After months of depression, self-pity and replaying ‘what could have been’ scenarios in my head – I finally came to my senses.

I thought to myself: “There’s got to be more to life than just being sad and depressed all the time.”

So I got up, wiped off the tears in my eyes and declared that by 2017, everything will be different.

Things will change for the better.
That angry, dry summer-like season in my life has to come to an end.

I can’t stay here forever!

I needed to move on.

I had to.

I was looking forward to a new season – a fresh, fragrant spring-like season.

A season where I could bury my old self and leave my past behind.

I was ready.

Ready for an adventure.

Ready to make myself better.

2017 – BEST YEAR EVER

I entered 2017 with one question in mind:

“How can I make 2017 my year?”

I was down, broken and filled with regrets.

I was weak.

But the LORD in His Word reminded me:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

So that’s what I did.

I relied on His grace and asked Him to make me a better person.

MY PERSONAL BLOG

The Lord has taught me a lot in the past year and didn’t want any of my experiences to go to waste.

I wanted to encourage people – people who are trying to move on and people who are scared to move forward – and let them know that they never were alone in this struggle.

So I thought: why not start writing blogs?

So that’s what I did.

I created a WordPress page (mikoevaristo.wordpress.com) as a venue to share my life before and after the Big Move – stories about our family’s migration, the challenges I had to go through upon moving here and the grace that the Lord allowed me to experience.

#MIKOTRAVELS

This year, I also started travelling.

It was my dream to see different States here in America.

So that’s what I did.

I saved up, packed my bags, booked some tickets and just travelled.

In a span of 1 year, I was blessed to visit 9 states (Arkansas, Arizona, California, Illinois, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah) and was able to learn and see what makes each State unique.

Each place I went through was memorable and each experience was very surreal!

I remember:

Standing in awe of the Grand Canyon.

Visiting Elvis’ home in Memphis.

Touching the world famous Bean in Chicago.

Taking the tram up to a snowy mountain in Salt Lake City.

Visiting Capitols of different states (Sacramento, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Little Rock, Arkansas respectively)

Crying as I was walking in Times Square for the first time.

And just soaking all the summer heat on a perfect California Day.

I wanted people to see and get a glimpse of where I was going.

So that’s what I did.

I created a Facebook page (facebook.com/mikotravels) to share all my travel vlogs from the different places I have been to.

I wanted people to know that life doesn’t always suck and that there’s definitely always a reason to be happy.

NEW FRIENDS

2017 has really been a breakthrough for me when it comes to having friends.

From being depressed and all alone, the Lord has ushered in new people to be a part of my life.

People who I can laugh with, tag memes with, share my thoughts with and just generally be myself around them.

The Lord has also blessed me with more people inside our Midweek Group and has entrusted me with faithful and hungry young men and women who desire nothing but to get to know Him in a much more deeper way.

People who I can call my “brothers and sisters” because they are literally like family to me.

STRONGER FAMILY

2017 was the year where our family got stronger.

The most memorable experience I would never trade was during the Family Camp.

It was during the camp that our family laid all our cards in the table – all our deep hurts, all our struggles and all our inconsistencies – with the goal to reconcile and be more united as one body.

So shoutout to my Dad who never failed to make us laugh with all his funny encounters with people from his commute.

To my mom who was like my bestfriend in whom I can tell almost anything about.

To my sister Ate Jam and Raffy who are currently in London, you always make time to talk to me and even give me advice everytime I need it.

And to Kurt, my favorite brother who’s more mature than people his age.

Thank you. I’d never trade this family for anything.

This was also the year where I connected better with my cousins.

I never imagined being close with my younger cousins but somehow we just clicked.

So thank you Jared, Jozelle and Jenny, for hearing my rants and never getting tired of my hugots. Thanks for always encouraging me and for reminding me to push through and persevere. Thank you for all the laughs, for all the spontaneous shoppings, for the random rap battles and for being there every time I need you. You know how much I love each and every one of you. You all mean the world to me.

Thank you Joshua, for going out of your shell and for sharing deep (sometimes dark) stories with me.

Thank you James, for teaching me how to play City of Stars via piano! I’ll never forget that!

Thank you Deb, for always being available and for still bearing with my corny jokes.

Thank you.

ENDING A GREAT YEAR; STARTING A NEW YEAR

I really don’t know what to say.

I feel bittersweet when I think of leaving such a wonderful year.

But as I’ve mentioned in my blogs before, we are always called to move.

We are called not to get too comfortable but to exceed ourselves and do more.

I know 2017 was great but I am certain that 2018 will be even better.

So thank you, 2017:

Thank you for all the good times and the bad times.

Thank you for all the new friends and the friends who chose to depart.

Thank you for a great family.

Thank you for all the travels.

Thank you for drawing me closer to Jesus.

Thank you for the life lessons.

And thank you for allowing me to move on.

So, here’s to a more awesome year!

A year of more travels.

More friends.

More closer connections.

More challenges.

More stepping out to unfamiliarity.

And more awesome experiences.

Looking forward to meeting you, 2018!

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