How was 2016?
Happy New Year! I wish you the best in this new year that it’s just starting. How did it go in 2016? Can you make a recount of the things that you did? In this post I’m sharing how 2016 went for me. The transcendental event in 2016 for me was that I moved to Qatar. Here is my year summary under specific areas (not in any particular order).
In 2016 I had the blessing of being in Guadalajara, Mexico, near my mom and two of my sisters (my dad passed away in 2013; if you read Spanish, you can read his obituary in the Obituario a Jesús Rosas Núñez (papá) post). From January to April, I spent most Sunday evenings at my mom’s house with her and two of my sisters. We usually had lunch or early dinner together. Sometimes we also watched uplifting and inspiring movies or we just simply talked.
From May to July, I moved to my mom’s place while she was in the US visiting family and relatives. I stayed at my mom’s place with one of my sisters. We didn’t go out much as family during 2016, we were not in the city during the special dates either. My mom, for example, was traveling during Mother’s Day and her birthday. Only one of my sisters got the best during her birthday; mi other sister and I took her to play laser tags then to a restaurant we had never been, and finally to the movies. Other than that, we didn’t go out much. I still consider such time a blessing and I would treasure those moments. In August, I left again on a trip far away from my family.
This year I met new friends and people, again, many from a wide variety of nationalities. I also went out on dates, but nothing beyond that. I’m still single and without commitments. So, I accept proposals ;D
I continued working as a freelancer (sort of) during a couple weeks for a group of great people who had a very interesting project in the automotive industry, but communication and fluctuating plans were some issues; things simply didn’t work out together. I went back to other pending projects and also did some interpreting from English to Spanish for former customers. Then, with a renewed desire to travel again, I looked for a job overseas to travel while making money. I found a job as a teacher in Qatar. You can read more about that in my post A New Stage in My Life: Qatar.
In 2016 I visited the last two states I hadn’t gotten to complete all Mexico. There are 32 Mexican federal entities. By the time I graduated from high school, I had visited them all except Morelos and Guerrero. For many years I hadn’t visited those two states. This last year I did a quick trip to Cuernavaca, Morelos and to Taxco, Guerrero. Now I can officially say that I’ve been to all Mexican states. However, I would like to visit Chihuahua, Durango, and San Luis Potosí again since I visited those states when I was too young to remember.
Below is a list of the places I visited in 2016.
Mazatlán, Sinaloa (one week)
León, Guanajuato (weekend)
Zacatecas, Zacatecas (four days)
Camécuaro, Michoacán (one day)
Tequila, Jalisco (twice and a day each)
Mazamitla, Jalisco (one day)
Several small towns around Chapala lake in Jalisco.
I will share pictures and stories about each of those places later on. So stay tuned 😉
Food is one of the things that I need to highlight. This year I ate a great variety of new dishes, including authentic Iranian and Indian meals in their respective countries. Many of them with names that I couldn’t find out. And being in Qatar, I was able to eat a lot of Arabic food too. I also tried new drinks, (non-alcoholic, I don’t drink alcoholic drinks). Many dishes and drink were great and fascinating. I’m only highlighting a couple meals and drinks below.
In 2016 I took almost 27,000 pictures (without counting the ones from my smartphone and other devices), don’t be surprised, I have taken more in past years. However, of all of them, just a small percentage turn out to be good enough to share here in my blog.
I use a software called Lightroom to organize and tag my pictures. In 2016 one of the most used tag was food. That happened last year too, I’m starting to wonder if that’s how it is going to be every year 🙂
Leisure and Entertainment
In 2016, most of my entertainment was within the ordinary: movies, going out with friends, dancing, street markets, and the like. I also joined Universidad Metropolitana’s students who volunteered to organize an event to celebrate el Día del Niño (Children’s Day) among a poor community in Guadalajara; it was fun. And I went to a humanitarian dance in which all the guests were asked to bring some non-perishable goods.
I also went to a young single adults convention in León, Guanajuato, México. That was a gathering of Mormon singles with Christian values. Besides having workshops, games, dances, a talent night show, and great meals at a hotel, we also had uplifting talks. However, the convention wasn’t as great as the one I attended the previous year (See My Experience at the Guadalajara YSA Convention 2015 – Special Guest: David Archuleta.). In addition, I participated in extracurricular activities such as a group of bloggers in Guadalajara and events for the Doha Creatives in Qatar.
And, finally, if I include traveling in the leisure part of my year review then I did some exciting things such as visiting the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple in India, and Persepolis in Iran. I visited fascinating places, went to some museums, had rides in motorcycles and rickshaws, went to an area with sand dunes, and swam in a river. All that in 2016. I really experienced some cool things that I will share later.
As usual, I attended weekly Church meetings most of the year, I probably missed about three or four times because of my travels. I also sang in a Christmas choir in Doha and went to a few family home evenings with young single adults [Family home evenings are uplifting meetings in which we have messages, games, and/or refreshments]. As I mentioned before, I also went to a convention for young single adults. Besides the social and entertaining activities, there was also a lot in the spiritual part of the itinerary program.
Special Calendar Dates
There are several special dates in the year, but in 2016, I want to highlight four.
Día de Reyes (the Three Kings’ Day) in Cajititlán
Although I don’t celebrate this holiday in a religious manner, I like to join my Catholic friends on Día de Reyes in a popular tradition in Mexico and other countries to partake of the king cake. The king cake is an oval shape bread with candied fruits and has a plastic figurine inside representing the baby Jesus. It is delicious and it is fun trying to see who gets the figurine. The idea is that you share the king cake with someone, but in 2016 I went alone to see how the people in Cajititlán celebrated this holiday.
Cajititlán is among the most devoted communities to the Three Kings, if not the most. Many people there take it very serious and their religious fervor can be seen in great deal. People bowed and touched the three Kings with tremendous zeal. If you want to see the pictures I took there and/or you want to learn more about this tradition and the king cake, you can read my post The Three Kings’ Day Celebration in Cajititlán.
Christmas at the Taj Mahal
I normally celebrate Christmas with my family or other families (when I’m abroad) but this time, I was alone in India, a place were Christmas is celebrated by a humble number of people only. But my Christmas gift was seeing the Taj Mahal. It was indeed fascinating. I took lots of pictures (of course) but it is better to be there to admire all its grandeur and majesty. I will share a post about it with more details later, if you want to be notified, enter your email address here to receive notifications of new posts.
New Year’s Eve at the Golden Temple
I actually spent the New Year’s Eve and the New Year Day in Amritsar in the Golden Temple area. I didn’t get to see fireworks and didn’t do the countdown to the New Year, I didn’t gather with friends or family, but I enjoyed the peculiar experience of being at that place, I saw the last sunset of 2016 and the first sunrise of 2017 there. The complex and Golden Temple, the people around, its culture, and the procedures were out of the ordinary and riveting. I will also share more about this later, you can subscribe to the blog to get a notification about it.
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My birthday is on December 2. I’m not really into bringing attention to my birthday, but I still consider it a relevant date that I should keep track of whether something important happens or not.
This year, it was silent and dead. Nobody around me knew it was my birthday. It was on Friday, but Friday here is like Sunday so, I went to Church. Later on I went to a family’s home for lunch and a nap and then to a “Musical soiree” and a puck luck type of activity. It was a fun day either way. Few days later my colleagues at school gave me a birthday card.
However, I want to thank all my friends, family and relatives back home or in other locations around the world who sent me their greetings through Facebook, email, and the like. Thank you so much! Your messages brought light and joy to me when reading them. I sincerely appreciate that. At the same time, I’m aware that I’m behind in reciprocity. I’m guilty 🙁 I’m sorry I haven’t been that good at corresponding in the same way. I hope I can improve in that regard.
And well, I bought myself a present: The GoPro Hero 5 Black camera, which you will now notice in future posts when I also add pictures and videos taken with this camera.
First and Last Day of 2016
And what did you do a year ago on the first day of 2016? Can you remember? I have a vague idea of my first day of 2016, but I took notes and pictures 😉
I received 2016 with about ten friends at the house of one of them in Guadalajara Mexico. We had been eating and playing games and, right at midnight, starting 2016, we began hugging each other, but to my surprise, many started to send New Year greetings to others through WhatsApp and Facebook. In such a sudden change of mood, almost everyone was on his or her phone; the lively environment went almost quiet. I admit it was an odd sudden transition of mood from a lively and cheerful moment to an almost funeral period of a couple minutes. Fortunately, for the sake of the party, the smiles and celebration came back.
After the party I went home. I was living at a flat in Chapultepec area at the time and had a roof terrace. I wanted to see the first sunrise of the year, but I slept in because I hadn’t slept much the previous night with the New Year’s Eve celebrations; I didn’t wake up early enough and missed the sunrise. Later on I wrote for my blog, pondered, and in the evening, I went to another friends’ house where we got together for a BBQ. We mingled, took pictures, and even played volleyball.
And what about the last day of 2016? I was in a lounge at the New Delhi airport, in India. At 4 AM I ate breakfast. I went to the gate and flew to Amritsar, near the Pakistani border. I arrived around 6 AM in Amritsar, after waiting for almost two hours at the airport, I shared a taxi with two Chinese girls and went to the Hyatt hotel. They were staying there, I just went for the breakfast buffet. I stayed in the restaurant until 10 AM, went to the shopping mall next to the hotel, and then to the Golden Temple.
I decided to spend the night with the pilgrims around the Golden Temple. There was accommodation for foreigners; a less than a one-star type of hotel, but I was there for the experience. After taking a nap, I went back inside the Golden temple complex and took pictures during the sunset and walked around.
I went back to the dormitory where I met a guy from New Zealand and his girlfriend from South Korea. We talked about our trips in India and things to do in Amritsar. Then we heard fireworks outside right at midnight, people outside chanted things briefly. We said happy New Year to each other and I went to bed.
This is a quick summary, but later on I’ll share with you more details of this trip in Amritsar, the place I stayed in, the food and how it was like inside the Golden Temple complex. Again, if you want to receive an automatic notification of that and other coming posts, enter your email here. Don’t worry, you will not receive Spam from me.
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