November 28, 2014

Thirty

Today I turn the big 3-0. I honestly don't know how the last decade of my life passed by me so quickly. I still remember turning 21, along with all its aspirations, like it was yesterday. Now, the chapter of my 20s has officially closed, and with that closure I wanted to reflect. So here's a trip down memory lane as an ode to my 20s...

Twenty

I had just transferred to UCLA and moved out on my own, which meant I could finally immerse myself in the "college experience." Coming from a strict household, this was a newfound freedom for me. BUT, I had to balance that freedom with academia, which I always took seriously, since going to law school was my #1 dream in life (back then....)

My 20th birthday at TGI Fridays, which was the coolest place to hang out in the valley

 When going to clubs was my idea of an awesome night
 Our first cousins trip: Palm Springs

 My first and last football game against USC
 I signed up to be a writer on some UCLA fashion magazine and this was the group of writers. This was WAY before fashion blogs existed. 

We took selfies before the word "selfie" even existed.

Twenty-One

Twenty-one was a big year for me, and not just because it was a milestone. That was the year I last saw my family in Egypt, the year I graduated college, and the year I met George. We met in April 2006, a few months after I turned 21, but I had no idea at the time that I had met my future husband.


 My 21st birthday and the first (legal) drink I ordered: a mai tai 
 The night we dressed up for the UCLA bonfire in our PJs 
 One of our first dates together
 Last trip to Egypt
 During our last year of college, you could find me and my roommate at Circle bar every single Thursday night. Guaranteed.
 This is just embarrassing, but I obviously thought I was hot shit.
 Graduation. I miss Gido.

 Being 21, you're obliged to frequent Vegas.
My first trip to New York after graduation.

Twenty-Two

After graduation, I decided to take a year off to "find myself," i.e., to figure out if I really wanted to go to law school and to (re) study for the LSAT since I bombed it the first time. I remember being really sad after I graduated from college because for the first time in my life, I didn't have a goal I was actively working towards. That year, I learned that I'm the type of person that will never truly be content with my life as status quo; I will always need something to strive for. 

Since I worked in a law firm during my two years at UCLA, I decided that during my year "off" I would work for a temp agency so I could expose myself to other lines of work. The idea was that this would help me decide if law school was for me. Well, after being placed in some random offices here and there, guess where I eventually got placed: in a law firm. That was when I knew I had to give law school a go. I figured that if I didn't do it at this point in my life, I wouldn't do it later and I would always look back and wonder "what if". So I retook the LSAT and applied to every single law school in California as well as some out of state ones. All the while, things were getting serious between me and George.

The first law school I got into was the University of Connecticut. I didn't want to go out of state, but beggars can't be choosers. So I booked my flight to attend their orientation. The week I was to fly out, I found out I got into Hastings. I had no idea where it was; all I knew was that it was in California, which is where I wanted to stay. So I cancelled my plans to attend UConn and sent my acceptance to Hastings. I spent the next few months apartment hunting and gearing up for law school, which really was a dream come true for me. I didn't think I would get in, much less to a top ranked school like Hastings, but God is good.

But starting law school and moving to San Francisco weren't the only big changes that year. On June 30, 2007, about a month before I moved to SF, George popped the question. So off I went to law school in a new city as a newly engaged gal; a gal that would remain in a long-distance engagement for the next 3 years!

 My 22nd birthday
 This was the night George dropped the "L" word.
 A trip up to SF with Tina, Gina and Maggie to explore my new hometown for the next 3 years.
 The proposal!

 My SF apartment. My mom came with me to help furnish the place. I remember her being so scared, wondering how I was going to live on my own for 3 years. But, as with most things, those 3 years flew by.
 After we furnished the apartment, my parents helped me pack my life into a car and drove me up to SF.


My "going-aways" right before law school.

Twenty-Three

Twenty-three (and the following 2 years) became all about not failing or dropping out of law school. The first year was pure hell because (1) I left my family and friends behind and was living alone in a new city; and (2) I had no idea what I was doing. So my life really became school during the day, study all night. I snuck in a few weekends home when I had the chance, because don't forget, I also had a new fiancé back home.

During my 1L year, I was blessed to meet 4 girls that would become my sisters not only during law school, but for the rest of my life. I really don't think I could have gone through law school's emotional roller coaster, especially during the first year, without those girls. Of course family and friends are always there for you, but no one understands what it's really like unless they're going through it with you.

 Celebrating 23, law school style
 Celebrating 23, engaged girl style
 I think this was the very first night we went out in SF
 I flew home to surprise George for his 28th birthday to take a hot air balloon ride
Us (aka, the "brown girls" lol) 
 Moot court practice, taken via a Blackberry, which was the "it" phone back then

First Thanksgiving back at home
 What studying for finals your 1L year looked like. Blegh. 
 This is really embarrassing but this is what we looked like post-finals as we waited for our flights back home to rejoin humanity. Look at my eyebrows. They're caterpillars. 
First Christmas back at home, post-eyebrow threading.

Twenty-Four

My 2nd year of law school. That's all I pretty much remember about 24.


 My parents' first time visiting me in SF, so of course mom cooked all my favorites.
 Celebrating 24.
 I think this was around Thanksgiving. Since I was away for college and law school, I unfortunately don't have a lot of pictures with my brother.
 What my life pretty much looked like.


 This was one of those spontaneous, random nights that ended up being one of the most memorable we ever had. This will always be known as the night of my fake bachelorette party and Almerizon.
 Our infamous picture.
The summer I externed with Mona at the Court of Appeal. We had to wear these obnoxious green badges to let everyone know we didn't really belong there.
 Girls trip to Napa
Law Prom: when we hitched a ride with some cops and they escorted us in. Another night that went down in the books.
Our decades themed Halloween

Twenty-Five

No matter what else happened this year, it will always be known as the year of my brother's accident.  It was such a defining moment in our lives that we think of everything in the context of "before John's accident" or "after the accident". Life simply will never, ever, be the same.

Celebrating 30 with George
 I couldn't go home for Thanksgiving that year because of finals so my parents drove up to have it with me.
 Celebrating 25: in PJs while studying for finals, with my parents crashing on my tiny apartment floor.

 My Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

 The last Christmas we had before John's accident.
 Study break ice skating in Union Square
 The night I got the call about my brother's accident. No one had told me until hours after the fact, and I remember feeling so guilty because while I was out partying, my family's world was falling apart.

 With my Judge and fellow externs at the U.S. District Court.
 One of our last nights in SF before graduation
The night before graduation.

 Before John's accident, I had planned on taking a big post-bar trip with my friends, but those plans obviously changed. Instead, I decided to take my sisters to Cabo, and it's one of the most memorable trips we have (for many reasons).
The night I found out I passed the bar. God is so good.

Twenty-Six

After a 4-year engagement, this is the year we finally got married. By then, George and I had survived 3 years of a long distance relationship, law school, John's accident and the bar. I sometimes feel like it's a miracle we made it out alive. This was also the start of my career since I was now officially a full-time working attorney.

My swearing-in ceremony
 Celebrating passing the bar
After almost an entire year in between hospitals and facilities, John finally came home that December, just in time for Christmas.
Registering for the wedding
Engagement shoot, 4 years post-engagement lol
My bridal shower.
 Bachelorette Party
Our wedding (finally)
Honeymooning in Hawaii

Twenty-Seven

When we got married I was 26 going on 27, so this was my year as a newlywed wife. It's also the year we lost my grandfather, a huge loss to the family. He's partly the reason why I started this blog. 

 Celebrating 27.
Girl cousin gift exchange at our first apartment.
Our first Christmas and tree.
 Took mom wine tasting.
The first house we bought.
 Celebrating our first year of marriage.
Took a trip to D.C. and Boston for our one-year

Twenty-Eight

John turned 21 this year, which was a difficult one. This was also the year I decided to take my career in a different direction and left litigation, we sold the house we barely lived in and we finally took that trip to Europe I had been dying to take all my life.

 John's 21st
 Our 2nd Christmas as a married couple, 1st one in the house.

My first car purchase
 Monique's bachelorette
Quick girls trip to SD
 The Color Run, my first "marathon" lol
Anniversary trip to Paris, London and Italy

Twenty-Nine

The year we bought house #2 (that we're currently working on) and of course, the year I got pregnant. 
 My 29th birthday, one of the best I've ever had.



 House #2


Reflecting on my 20s has made me realize just how lucky I am. God has blessed me with so many special people: my husband, family (both immediate and extended) and friends. And now I have a son on the way to welcome me into my 30s. I experienced some of my happiest and darkest moments during these last 10 years, but have gone through them all with loved ones by my side and God's mercy and love. Cheers to my 30s, and officially being "old"!
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4 comments

  1. I just read this and cried. I had no idea about your brother. I'm so sorry!! The Lord does work in mysterious ways and sometimes we just don't know what his plans are. But he's a lot smarter than us and he knows what he's doing. I have felt so much of what you talked about. Not doing great on the LSAT, not knowing what you really want to do, but feeling like you should go to law school or you may regret it. Haha. I really loved reading this! Thank you for sharing! I'm so happy for you and your husband and wish you both all the best!!

    Love,
    Emily

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    1. Amen to that. Thank you so much, Emily!

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  2. Juliet, I absolutely adore this post. I took a break from studying (2 more to go - fed tax and business organizations) to check my blogger newsfeed. I'm so happy I took the time to read this. I can't begin to explain how much I related to your milestones and times of struggle. It's as if we are kindred spirits. This was truly the motivation I needed tonight - God does work in very meaningful ways. I hope all is well, and you are feeling good! Happy belated birthday!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lauren! That means a lot. Hope your finals went well. I think you're officially half-way done with law school, right? Congrats!

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