Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Recap: A Year in Retrospect

It's so amazing how quickly a year goes by, isn't it?  The kind of depressing thing about new years in Hong Kong is that it always coincides with the time to pay taxes.  Because it's a provisional tax system, you always true up your last year's taxes at the same time you then pay the estimated tax due... for the entire year.


That's right, you have to pony up the money in one lump sum amount when it's due.  This year, the Hong Kong tax department decided that I had not paid enough in taxes last year, so they calculated the balance of that tax payable and added it to my provisional tax amount for the entire next year.  Almost all of it is due in this first week of January.


To make myself feel a little better about this rather painful start to the year, I decided to briefly re-live and get a snapshot of the 2015 year.  It's kind of fun to look back, because wow, a lot happened.

Took a fun impromptu trip to Bangkok with some friends, where we all indulged in the same passions - massage, green mangos, coconuts.  Closed (finally!) my huge co-investment deal, of which the negotiations, drafting and signing preparations took up a susbtantial part of my 2014.

Took a quick flight to Taiwan to celebrate Chinese New Years over spicy hotpot in Taipei with Michael, my sister and her boyfriend, and my aunt and my cousin.  Celebrated Valentine's Day with Michael in Hong Kong at Katte Shabushabu.

Celebrated Michael's birthday with a trip to Niseko with some of our friends, where we got to eat our fill of glorious Hokkaido seafood, Michael tried snowboarding for the first time, and I fell in love (again) with the onsen.  Traveled to London and met up with Michael's brother David, then chunneled together to Paris where we explored the city and celebrated Easter from the beautiful historic district of Marais. 

Started to really focus on wedding planning, realizing we only had about 4 months to go!  Found a wedding dress; regretted buying the dress; started to really like the dress.  Generally coordinated a lot of stuff around wedding invitations, flowers, ceremony, photography, bridal party, etc.

Closed on a brand new condo in the Chicago South loop.  Generally worked a lot.  Spent Memorial Day hanging out in beautiful Santa Barbara for my bachelorette party.

Worked a lot while in New York, culminating in the signing of my biggest deal of 2015, all the while meeting with the wedding photographer and coordinator, seeing the church and venue for the first time, spending time hanging out with family in New York, and going to my beautiful and fun bridal shower in Cleveland.  Our parents met for the first time and enjoyed a fun and delicious dinner in the East Village.  I was also admitted to the Hong Kong bar as a solicitor.

Flurry of wedding planning activities...and Michael attended his stag-do in Macau.  Actually, let's just leave this one at that!

Got star special treatment at my fabulously planned and very thoughtful hen-do in Hong Kong.  Took a great trip to Boston with the sister and parents, ate a lot of steamers.  Got married!  Enjoyed a beautiful suite at the Ritz and the familiar rhythms of Battery Park.  Went on honeymoon in Anguilla.

Recovered generally from getting married - ha! Well, maybe more from the wedding and the whole process.  My deal which had died while I was away came back to life with a vicious roar.

Took a relaxing girl's trip to Manila where we spa'd (if that's not a verb it should be) to our heart's content.  Attended my cousin's wedding in Taichung.  Somehow, with two other last minute trips for work, I end up going to Taiwan three times this month??  Managed to see my family and my mom all three times, which was very nice.  Also closed two cornerstone deals this month.

Flowers and date nights abounded this month. I rediscovered a love of San Xi Lou and hotpot dates abound.  Michael got me a beautiful vintage typewriter in perfect condition, and I got myself a new Nikon DSLR.  We attended a few Thanksgiving dinners and lunches.

The usual flurry of holiday preparations and end of year "stuff."  My deal that came back in September died again.  We went to Sri Lanka and enjoyed the natural environment, the sun, the water, the animals... and lots of seafood curries.

Happy new year everyone!  Looking forward to what will hopefully be yet another exciting and fulfilling year.  All the best wishes to you and yours for a healthy, happy, and blessed 2016.

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