Even with all of the shit that happened, like Trump winning the presidency, 2016 was still a great year for me. I had many opportunities to do amazing things. I’m going to look back at some of my favorites.
To start the year off I turned 18 in January. While this may have been the least eventful thing for me since I really don’t feel any different, it is still cool to know that I am legally an adult and in charge of myself. I can also now buy lotto tickets, so maybe if I’m lucky enough I’ll never have to work a day in my life.
Blind Chemistry Camp. Back in March I attended a weekend camp for blind and visually impaired students to introduce us to accessible chemistry. It was an awesome experience to learn some basic chemistry concepts in a way that was completely accessible to not those like myself with low vision, but also others who were completely blind. And I couldn’t have possibly asked for a better person to be leading it than Hoby Wedler, who has since earned himself a PhD in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. There is also never a time that I would intentionally pass up the opportunity to spend some time at the Enchanted Hills Camp. I just love that place.
Next up was my high school graduation. Obviously I knew this one was coming well before it, but once it actually came in June it seemed surreal. To think that I would never be returning to high school was great, but also quite daunting. I was very suddenly in the “real world” now, no longer under the safety net of required education. Everything beyond that point was uncharted territory for me, and although I was looking forward to it, it was also a bit scary.
I also went to Las Vegas in June. That place is just freaking amazing. There is nothing quite like it. The atmosphere, the places, the people, everything just makes for a totally different experience from other major cities. It was also a chance for me to see my older brother who lives there. There is never a time I spend with him that isn’t good.
And implosion. Now although this occurred at Las Vegas, I think it deserves its own place in this list. I have never, and may never again, see anything quite like the taking down of a building, let alone a very large iconic one. Only in Vegas do they make a production out of imploding an old hotel. It sure was an amazing thing to watch though! The blasts were incredibly strong, to the point where you could feel them from a fair distance away. And to watch a building that had stood for more than 40 years come crumbling down upon itself in a massive cloud of dust, it was just unreal.
But after that I got to travel across the country. As part of a two week long workshop with the Lighthouse for the Blind to help young adults get employment in the future I was able to attend the week long National Federation of the Blind convention in Orlando Florida. Never before have I been with so many other blind and visually impaired people. It was a really neat and inspiring experience. And had not traveled beyond Nevada or Oregon before that point, making it even more interesting. It was also a pretty cool place to spend the 4th of July, even if I couldn’t be that close to a fireworks display.
But the adventures didn’t stop there. Less than a month later I took a family vacation to Oregon and Washington. We first went to a small town just south of Portland where my uncle and grandparents from my dad’s side of the family live. We stayed at my uncle’s house which has an amazing property. There wasn’t a dull moment while we were there. But after spending a few days with family we continued on to Olympia Washington where we got to explore a little bit of the southernmost tip of Puget Sound, and awesome place. On the way back we stopped for a night in Klamath Falls Oregon at a really neat hotel. My dad and I took a night walk with our dog where we thought we saw a mountain lion or bobcat. We quickly returned to our room, got my mom, hopped in the car and drove down to see it. Turns out it was a freaking deer! Still cool though.
Possibly the most crazy thing of all for me was starting college. September marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. No longer do I attend school because I have to, but because I want to. It makes for a much more enjoyable time in a setting where all the students enjoy themselves and choose to be there rather than just do it because they’re forced to.
I also got to vote for the first time in a presidential election. It didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped though. We can all agree that was the single craziest thing this year as a whole. At least I got to participate, and had a fairly good experience doing so (until I got home and saw the results).
And with that my adventures for the year come to a close. There were plenty, and they were all amazing in their own ways. I look forward to seeing what 2017 will bring for me. Hopefully a lot more craziness, because that’s what I enjoy. Happy new year!